Self-Coaching Strategies for Embracing Change

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Embracing change can be a challenging task for a lot of us.  Whether facing a change in our professional or personal life, change requires a significant mental, emotional, energetic and sometimes physical effort from us at various stages of the transition.

In an earlier blog post, I discussed why embracing change can be difficult for people.  This information can be enlightening as it can prepare us to learn about the root challenges within each of us when a change is presented in our lives and how we can better process and navigate those challenges within. 

In this blog, I’ll be covering three specific strategies that if applied mindfully, can significantly help anyone to navigate and embrace the many nuances of change in any area of one’s life and work.

1. Identify what you need personally to manage and embrace the change

One unwavering truth for all humans is – when change is presented in our lives, we think of one thing first:  How is this change going to impact me personally? This initial thought might seem a bit self-indulgent or egomaniacal, but it’s actually a very normal human response.  So whether navigating a work/career related change or a personal life change, you will first experience the change at a very personal level.  Everyone else who may be living through a similar change will at first be asking themselves the same question. It’s simply human nature. Knowing this truth can help you normalize and neutralize your immediate feelings around the potential change. 

One thing to take notice of is your emotional state when thinking and processing the change that’s presented. If you’re feeling angry, resentful, nervous, apprehensive or other similar emotions, take note and kindly acknowledge where you are on this emotional spectrum at the present moment.  

Once you can find acceptance in how you’re initially feeling about the change, you can start to work with your emotions in a healthy way. After all, emotions are fabulous informational clues about what we need at any given moment.  The good news is - emotions come and go, so just because your initial reaction to a change may be of a lower vibrational tone or a less desired reaction, it does not mean that emotion or feeling is here to stay and can’t change for the better over time. 

Leading yourself to a positive state of mind around a change is of course your responsibility.  This is where practicing empathic personal leadership is essential to you feeling capable and motivated to embrace the change. You do this by bringing in self-awareness and reflecting on the questions that may be arising within you about the presented change; recognizing that these questions are helping you to learn what you need to thrive given the change.  It will be your job to seek out the answers that will ultimately lead you to personal and professional success. 

Consider asking yourself the following questions to help you identify what you need to learn about the personal implications of the presented change:

-      In what ways will I benefit by embracing this change?  What are the potential positives/rewards?

-      Will this change help me progress forward in an intentional way? If so, how? 

-      Will this change require me to learn new skills or a new mind set?  How would I do this? Do I believe I can do this?

-      What information do I still need to gather about how this change will impact me personally/professionally?  

-      How can I exercise my personal leadership skills to better embrace this change?

Beginning to think through the immediate personalized questions posed in the mind will help you start to deconstruct the scary unknown into practical and logical steps toward navigating and eventually embracing change. 

2. Visualize what it will take to integrate the new change into your life

Once you have the information or a clearer picture of what the change will require from you personally, you can start to anticipate or visualize how the change will impact your behavior and how it will be integrated into your daily/weekly/monthly life. 

Visualizing the integration of a change is key to early adoption of a change - it’s where the rubber meets the road.  In other words, visualizing, allows your mind to imagine the “how” you’ll behave during the new change. Can you see it? Does the change require a big shift in your current behavior? If so, how? Does it feel right in your body when you visualize the changes taking place?  

Visualize or see yourself acting the way you believe you’ll need to act. Visualize or see yourself thinking the way you believe you’ll need to think once the change has been implemented in your life.  Does this new change fit into the bigger vision/mission you may have for your life? This intentional self-reflection allows the mind to play out future scenarios which can help you to navigate the change intentionally. 

Consider asking yourself some of the following questions to help you navigate the integration of the future change:

-      Does the integration of this new change align with my personal values?  If so, how?  If not, why?

-      What are the expected top priorities given this new implemented change? 

-      What tasks would I need to accomplish first? Second? Third?  

-      How might I manage all the details of this change?  

-      How long do I anticipate the integration of this change taking me? 

-      What scheduling, planning, or timing of events still need to be addressed?

3. Seek out the right people to help you navigate the change

Guess what – you don’t have to tackle any big life change on your own. Whether it’s a work/career change or a big personal life change, you are not required to do it alone, contrary to what you may have learned or what you may have told yourself in the past.

Doesn’t it feel good to remind yourself that you’re not an island and that no matter the circumstance, you can always find at least one person (usually a lot more) to help or support you during a transitional change? 

Isolating yourself from others during a time of significant change or feeling like you have to take on the weight of the world and trudge through the change heroically by yourself, is simply not necessary and is counterproductive to embracing change and to your own personal effectiveness.

Humans are social creatures and we thrive in environments and situations where we collaborate and lean on one another for connection, support and purpose.  Identifying who those key players are that could help you to manage the various nuances of the change will be incredibly valuable to your ability to embrace and sustain change now and in the future.

Sometimes these key players are family and friends.  Sometimes they will be co-workers, a boss, a mentor of yours - past or present.  The goal is to identify who these people are based on what support you have identified you need and then, without guilt or martyrism, fiercely seek out these people and build them into your support structure.

Consider asking yourself the following questions to help you identify your change management support team and how you will engage with them for maximum personal effectiveness:

-      Given the support I have identified I need, what key people come to mind for a support team? Why?

-      How long do I envision needing these people as a support system regarding this change?

-      How might I ask these people for the support I need (phone call/e-mail/coffee)?

-      What can I offer these people in return for their support/time to make it a mutually beneficial engagement?

These three strategies are a great starting point to help equip you to strategically, mindfully and effectively lead yourself to embrace any change that you may be faced with in your work life or in your personal life. 

If you or your organization/team are struggling to embrace change, reach out to me for my change management model and specific strategies, tools and practical applications to best manage the various nuances of change.

Ashley Boyd