Three women. Same change. Different reactions.
Abigail took the longest to adapt, because her pregnancy was both unexpected and came at a time of uncertainty and financial stress. In order for her to embrace and align with the change, she had to first adjust to the news and find a way to weave it into her plans for the future.
Belinda also took time to adjust to her change, but mainly because it was unexpected. Since she wasn't as concerned about timing, and was otherwise aligned with the news, her time to adapt was shorter than it was for Abigail.
Candice, on the other hand, was already trying to conceive, so the news of her pregnancy was welcomed and she quickly adjusted as a result.
As shown in these examples, expectation, timing, and alignment are three key areas that impact the pace and ease of which we adapt to change.
Creating a Smooth Transition
Yesterday's post introduced you to Abigail, Belinda and Candice, three women who all encountered a similar life-changing event - becoming pregnant. But that's where their similarities ended, for their paths and speed to acceptance varied based upon their individual situations and perceptions about the change.
- Find, prep & use your support network.
In addition to these three keys to adaptation, there are several ways to pave the path for a smoother transition when new changes are introduced:
Adjusting to change is easier when shared with others. There are many forms of support, from friends and family, to coaches or experts specific to your change. A combination of depth: support from people who have been through the same or similar experience and can offer guidance and specific advice, and breadth; people who know, love and are there for you even if they can't quite relate to your specific change, can be extremely effective in helping you in your transition.
Once you've identified who you'd like to lean on for support, it is helpful to let each individual know what type of support you might need from them, as well as what isn't helpful.
In our scenario, for example, Abigail felt guilty for not sharing in the joy others seemed to have about her news. She decided to call on her best friend, Jodi, who Abigail had decided would be a good person to go to when she needed someone who could be open, caring, accepting, and able to listen objectively and offer insights, but who would not judge or tell her what to do. Abigail outlined these needs to Jodi, who agreed that she could provide that kind of support, and that is exactly who showed up for Abigail when she called on Jodi as a result.
- Educate yourself (and others).
The more we know about the change the smoother our transition will likely be. Especially helpful is learning as much as we can about the change, such as what to expect, how/what to prepare, and pit-falls to avoid. Asking people, watching relevant programs or webinars, doing online or other research, reading topic-specific magazines or books, are all ways to boost our knowledge and be proactive about our change.
Communicating what we've learned to others involved in the change can also help to smooth their transition (and therefore yours) as well!
- Draw on past experience.
If you've been through the same or similar change in the past, draw from that experience to prepare for a smooth transition this time around. If the past experience was good, what made it that way, and how might you be able to replicate that positive experience this time around? If it wasn't so good, how come? How might you do things differently this time to create a different outcome?
It is easy to think that since we've gone through something more than once, we don't have to put forth as much effort with subsequent changes. While that may be true to some extent, remember that no two changes are the same, and the more proactive and present we are in our changes, the smoother our transitions will likely be.
One Last Thing
The last, but not least, element in creating a smooth transition has to do with us, as individuals, and our Personal Principles. This is a much larger topic than can be discussed in this post, but it will be addressed as a future stand-alone topic.
Stay tuned for our next series that hones in on four common and distinctly different reactions to change, and what is needed in order to find a common ground.
What's Your Story?
How have you prepared for changes? How did those preparations help or impede a smooth transition? Leave a comment below 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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