Whether we’ve made the decision to change, or change has unexpectedly thrust its foot in the door to our world of consistency and predictability, we most likely have at least some information that has influenced our decision or our path forward. Also likely is that we have many questions that have yet to be answered.
Uncertainty is not a comfortable place for many of us. When we feel things are out of our control, it is common to want to grasp onto whatever we can to rebuild that facade a sense of control provides for us. While I believe control to be an illusion, having a sense of control can be calming and comforting.
Detangling the knot of confusion.
Today we’re going to focus on one of the best ways to regain our sense of control, with the added benefit of helping us to get organized in preparing for our change.
Uncertainty lives in the world of chaos. The more uncertainty that exists, the less predictability and consistency we have.
One way to reign in chaos is through structure. Structure helps us to focus on things we know, reduce the importance of what we don’t know, and recognize the difference between the two.
Without structure, it is easy for what we do know, and what we don’t know, to become tangled into one big overwhelming knot of confusion.
With structure, however, we’ve separated the two into easily discernible parts, which allows us to take action where it will have the greatest impact. This saves us time, energy as well as peace of mind.
Becoming aware of knowledge.
In order to detangle this knot of confusion, the first thing to do is to become aware of the situation at hand by asking ourselves two key questions:
But, when considering our knowledge about ourselves and others, we add dimensions to the change that can be helpful to our preparations and transition plan.
Here are some additional questions to help you more clearly define your knowledge of self and others with reference to your change:
Others (Tip: Ask yourself these questions for specific individuals for greater detail)
By asking open-ended questions, we shift ourselves from a fixed to a growth mindset. With a growth mindset, we become more flexible with and resilient to uncertain situations.
Keep in mind that when thinking about others, even though it is best to ask them directly, planning ahead by thinking about their potential response to your change can be helpful in preparing your approach.
Be clear though. When doing this, you are forming assumptions. It is important to stay flexible and open to the possibility that you might misjudge perceptions and reactions. This will help minimize the potential for hurt feelings or conflict if or when any misalignment between your best guesses and actual responses occur.
Attuning to your knowledge gaps through lists.
To highlight the gaps between what you know, and what you want or need to know, we’re going to make some lists.
Lists help to create structure, which is very helpful to have when we feel clouded over by uncertainty.
Lists will help to create definition and clarity, but also will be converted into tangible tasks, which will help you stay focused on efforts that will yield results, rather than spinning your wheels in frustration awaiting clarity on things over which you have little, if any, control.
There are all kinds of lists that can be created, but to get you started, here are a few suggestions:
Create a project plan to align your knowledge.
Now that you have a list of what you know and what you don’t know, it’s time to create a task or to-do list, which will become your preliminary project plan.
If you are someone who is well-versed on project plans as a part of your job, you might already do this. If not, it is easy to forget how useful they can be when preparing for personal change.
Don’t let the sound of a project plan frighten you. It’s just a big word for a guide that tracks what you want to find out, by when, and who is doing what if more than one person are working on finding answers to the need and nice to knows.
This might seem like a lot of work, but this approach is actually a wonderful way to alleviate stress and frustration we often experience around uncertainty and waiting by giving ourselves something to do. This, then, provides us with a sense of control in what otherwise might feel like a chaotic situation.
Here’s the gist:
Sample lists and preliminary project plans will be included as a bonus in the PDF of this topic, which will be made available in early January. Click below to reserve your FREE copy.
Get real with your plan.
As has been the case with everything presented in this topic of Preparing For Change, this project plan is designed specifically for YOU. This means, that it must also be accurate and relevant to your needs and desires around your change.
Doing this will keep you feeling confident and with a sense of control. But while we might feel we've got a grip on things when we've kept the plan up-to-date, remember that we're hanging from a ledge with sweaty palms, at least in the beginning as we climb our way through our transition to a new way of being.
Our confidence can easily shift into distress and overwhelm if we let the plan fall through our grips. When that happens, the plan will become just another thing we should do, and we will begin our free-fall back into the chasm of chaos.
If you work best with paper, make a paper-based plan. If you’re a spreadsheet person, put it in a spreadsheet.
Do what works for you, and you will be well on your way to feeling prepared and confident with your change; a much better place to be than hanging around wondering and worrying about things well outside of your circle of influence.
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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