Yesterday we examined similarities and differences between two scenarios introduced earlier this week. Deric, who was surprised by a challenging change that disrupted his daily life and responsibilities and which he ultimately rejected, and Jodi, who had daily life impede her ability to adequately plan her transition to tumultuous results.
Today I'm offering some tips on how situations like Deric’s and Jodi’s can be avoided in your own change efforts.
We have a tendency to focus on the change itself, especially when the change is a big one. Using any one of these ideas can help us more smoothly adapt to the change which, after all, is the actual journey. The more we utilize these tips, the smoother our transition will be.
Tip #1 - Slow down or speed up.
If your change is a surprise or happens quickly, then there are measures you can take to slow down, take a step-back, and consider the impact this change will have on the bigger-picture. Doing this will help you move past reaction-mode into a state of proactive intention.
In Deric’s situation, his quick reaction without considering the larger impact his change would have on his daily routine was one of the reasons for its ultimate failure. Considering his options, such as whether he could implement his change in smaller chunks, delegate some of his responsibilities until he established a new routine, or create a schedule, would have helped him to more effectively manage all aspects of his life during the change.
If, like Jodi, you have a lot of time to prepare for your change, then create a schedule that identifies everything you want to accomplish before, during and after the change takes place. This, again, will help you to stay on-track.
If things heat up they did with Jodi, where other responsibilities begin to invade your transition plans, then having a clear understanding of your priorities, especially when multiple responsibilities compete for your time, will help you to establish and maintain boundaries so the focus remains on those things that matter the most to you.
Tip #2 - Investigate.
Read, watch, surf (the web), ask friends, family, or anyone else who may have experience, insights and/or guidance to offer about your change. The more you learn, the more you can understand the range of possibilities of what you might experience, and how best to prepare.
Neither Deric nor Jodi were prepared for the impact their change had on their lives, and both of them paid the price as a result. Had they talked with others about their experiences, asked them for tips, ideas or observations, Jodi and Deric may have had a more realistic view of the surprises and roadblocks they might encounter, and could have prepared for them ahead of time.
Tip #3 - Choose and use (in a good way) your tribe.
Identify those people who can provide you with the support and solace you expect you’ll require (encouragement, ask questions, offer guidance and insights, provide physical help, etc.) and ask them in advance if they will be willing to be there for you if/when you need them. Not all support is helpful, but knowing who can provide you with the kind of support you need before you need it can mean the world when struggling with adapting to a change.
Deric and especially Jodi could have really used some help from their circles, yet neither sought them out, and both suffered because of it. People who care about us typically want to help, but they also may feel it intrusive to do or guide without first being asked. So prepare them, and then call on them.
Tip #4 - Reflect and get to know the ‘inner you’.
Reflect on past changes and transitions, including what worked, what didn’t and why. Even for those experiences that were very different from your current situation, doing this can help you to detect patterns in your reactions, perceptions, beliefs that may have influenced your behaviors and experiences. Once you find the patterns, you can make preparations to shift those patterns in favor of more productive ones this time around.
Our ability to smoothly transition to a change is largely dependent upon our inner game. The more we understand and accept those parts of ourselves that we tend to hide from others (and sometimes even from ourselves), the more we can design a transition plan that suits our needs by predicting and preparing for our individual quirks and uniqueness.
Both Deric and Jodi had limiting beliefs of which they were unaware. These beliefs drove their behavior and, especially in Jodi’s case, had serious repercussions that dramatically hindered her adaptation.
As you may have noticed, I am a firm believer that we need to understand our change, ourselves, and our plan of action in order to truly be intentional with our change.
This comes from a person who is not the biggest fan of a lot of structure. Yet I view a transition plan as something that can have as much or as little structure as we want. It’s one of the beauties of this approach; it is completely tailored to suit our specific preferences and needs.
To do nothing, on the other hand, is to leave our adaptation and the success of our change to chance. Even when the unexpected occurs, we are going to be more equipped to handle it with some kind of plan in place than we would be without any advance preparation.
Being intentional offers a greater sense of control, and a greater sense of control creates a higher level of confidence. This confidence, however, is based on thoughtful preparation rather than illusion, and at least for me, that is the kind of confidence I want when embarking on the quantum leap of change.
Enjoy your weekend!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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