Things do not change; we change. ~ Henry David Thoreau
We have expectations.
Expectations of what our life should be, could be, what people should be like, what our marriage should be, how our children should be (as well as other people’s children!), and more. Yet, how often do our expectations get a pail of cold water thrown on them? Often, I would guess if your life is like mine.
One of the most consistent expectations is that we should expect change. Change is inevitable. It can come with pretty wrapping and bows or it can come with coldness and stealth.
It is how we deal with change that makes us who we truly are as we traverse the world we have been given. Do you embrace change? Do you run from change? Do you fear change? Or, do you react with a mixture of fear, embracement, and perhaps a bit of joy after you get through the fear? Unfortunately, there is no one sure way to travel safely through change.
Most of us are pretty predictable when it comes to handling change, whether it is good or bad. Handling negative changes is most difficult and does tend to bring out the worst in us before it brings out the best. We may cry, yell, sink into a pit of despair, act like nothing has happened and continue to operate, or function in a stupor until our brain has fully comprehended what is going on.
There are many ways to learn how to cope with change. You can use affirmations; you can look for solutions; embrace it; run from it or just ignore it. Most people have a combination of reactions or coping mechanisms to deal with change – good or bad. One of the best examples I have read is from Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin . Imagine you are a diamond cutter looking at a large raw diamond. Do you envision what that diamond will look like? Can you see its possibilities? Do you see the cut of the diamond? The clarity? Or do you simply see a lump of processed, pressurized coal? Maybe a pretty paperweight?
When you face an unexpected bump in the road, do you immediately shut down and complain or do you see how you can turn the situation around? For example, your flight home is cancelled and you are anxious to get home to see your family. What would you do? Would you yell at the airline counter staff? Go to the bar and wait? Or, do you distance yourself from the situation. Actually disengage from the outcome and breathe? Would you find another way home? Rent a car and share that car with other passengers from your flight? Would you rent a charter airplane, sell seats to other bumped passengers and get home with little cost to you?
Since change is inevitable, try embracing it the best you can. What would happen if you surrender to the change? Would your life eventually improve? Chances are you won’t know that answer for a while, maybe years. Some ways to cope with change:
- Give up blaming. Blaming others. Blaming yourself. Blaming is really a waste of time. But, we all do it. After all, it is extremely difficult to look at yourself as a cause of that irritating change.
- Give up complaining. Usually, if you are the one complaining about the way a ball bounces, you are the one who dropped it. Learn to replace complaints with requests and taking action. Make sure the actions will lead you to your desired outcome.
- Disengage from the outcome. Learn to step back and maybe say, “Isn’t that interesting?” Hard to do but if you are not tied to the outcome, you might be able to adapt to the change with grace.
- Start a success journal. If you start writing down your successes in a journal and get hit with one of those awful cold and stealthy changes, take it out. Read it. Know that it will get better.
There are many ways to deal with change. Find the ones that work for you. The ones that keep you sane. The ones that will move you two steps forward for each step backwards.
Expect the unexpected.
About the Author:
Kyle Sheldon-Chandler has been in the administrative support field for more than 20 years . She graduated from AssistU in 2003 as a Virtual Assistant. Kyle loves the ‘virtual’ flexibility of her career and the wide variety of individuals who she meets and works with. In addition, Kyle has a BBA and AA in Business Administration/Management.
She discovered the virtual world of administrative assistance through an article by Anastacia Brice, Founder of AssistU, in the IAAP OfficePro magazine. After doing her research, she jumped in with both feet and has not looked back. She loves the flexibility of being a VA, as well as getting to work with some of the greatest people in the world. She has recently accepted the Alumni Director position with AssistU.
As an active member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals Association, she served as the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 Colorado-Wyoming-Montana Division President. She was honored with the Distinguished Division President in 2008. She has held the Book Cliff Chapter offices of Vice President (2 years), President Elect, and President (2005-2006).
Kyle lives in Grand Junction, CO, and loves to fish, camp, hike, and ride her motorcycle or dirt bike in the desert of Utah. She and her husband have 3 children and 3 grandchildren, along with an assortment of boxers and cats.