Yesterday I suggested that a key indicator you’ve fully transitioned to a change is the quantum leap. I also posited that, while we can’t force such quantum leaps to happen, we can take measures to prepare the way for them.
Today we’re going to take a look at the process of learning, and how accepting our own learning journey can help pave the path to a smoother transition.
When our transitions are smoother, it is possible we won’t even recognize when a quantum leap has occurred, because our adjustment moves along a fairly steady pace, and as a result, it feels more consistent.
Aha moments, which can indicate that a quantum leap has occurred, typically accompany times of turbulence. So it is likely with a smoother transition, we’ll just wake up one day changed and not even realize how or when it happened.
To change is also to learn.
Regardless of whether it's smooth or turbulent, transitioning to change nearly always requires some form of new learning.
Sometimes the learning is something we’ve sought out, such as how to do or understand something new. Other times, the learning is something we never really wanted, and is focused on how to accept something we don’t like, such as loss or rejection or a particular change.
There is no metric for personal learning.
One of the biggest issues I’ve heard (and have personally experienced) around transitioning to change, has been from those of us who are frustrated and upset with ourselves because we believe we should have adapted faster or more completely than we have. “Why am I still not getting this? I’ve had plenty of time to figure it out! I feel so stupid.”
This goes back to my very first blog post in which I discuss our social conditioning around change as being linear, and as having a defined beginning and end.
Yes, the change event may have a beginning and end, but the transition - the process of adapting to that event - has no defined period.
Yet time and again we compare ourselves to others, and assume there is a timeline by which we should have adjusted, and then beat ourselves up when we feel we’re failing to meet that metric.
And so the first thing to remember when transitioning to change, is that there is no metric.
Personal learning can't be forced.
There is way more information about the process of learning than there is room for in this blog, so let’s instead look at a situation representative of the many aspects of learning that can take place during a change: Moving to a new country for an ex-patriate assignment.
Not only do we have to learn the behaviors, norms, expectations of a new job and work environment, we also have to learn the cultural intricacies that we likely took for granted when working for an employer in our native country.
Add in learning the cultural norms, beliefs, values, behaviors and expectations in order to live in this new country, and the pressure to learn a completely new language, or the subtle differences between the same language (anyone who has lived in different regions of the U.S. or has had experience with American and British English knows what I’m talking about), and it’s no wonder it can take a pretty long time to adapt.
And this is just for one person. Consider the additional complexity (and time) required when a whole family is included in this adventure!
The point here is that learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It can be encouraged, and facilitated, but not forced. And there isn’t a one-size fits-all template that works when we’re transitioning to change, because even though the change (event) may be the same for everyone, how we adapt to it is a very personal, individualized thing.
There is more to change than meets the eye.
Another point, and the big take-away from this post is to remember that learning involves more than what you can see; that there is an inner component to it. And it is that inner part that often requires the most time as we absorb what we see and experience and try to make sense of it on our own terms.
So lighten up on yourself if you’re feeling frustrated because you’re not there yet; if you feel you should have already adjusted, but haven’t.
Feeling frustrated? Take a pause.
It is these times of frustration and angst that represent signals that it is time to pause. To take a step back, and really dig into what’s going on.
The important thing to remember is that you will adapt. It just might not be according to your schedule.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the role our values play in helping or hindering our progress toward the quantum leap of change.
Share your experiences.
What learning experiences have you had while transitioning to change? Did you welcome or resist them? Were you accepting or hard on yourself? I invite you to share your experiences and let's get the conversation started!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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