The old maxim – Change is the only Constant – has so much of truth and wisdom in it. There is no such state as “settling down” anymore – be it in your personal life, beliefs, career or business. Just when you pause to reflect – O.K, now I can sit back and relax, life has a way of throwing a curve ball at you. For those (me included) who like to be in charge or in control of almost every situation, this can be extremely stressful and sometimes bewildering. But there will always be events, interactions and decisions that you did not expect or have no control or influence over that could have a large impact on your life. I have now realized from my experience that asking the “Why” question in such situations is not very helpful – there is no clean answer to that. What does help however is asking the “What” question and that invariably leads to answers to keep your head afloat and ride the waves of change.
Here are five ways that have worked well for me to ride the waves of change that I hope you can relate to as well:
Ride the Waves of Change #1: Accept the Change –
This is the first and most important stage of managing change – don’t get sucked into reactions like the blame game, frustration and worst of all, burying your head in the sand like the ostrich, hoping that the problem will go away. We prolong the struggle when we do not accept the reality of change – accept it to move on to strategizing how and what you need to do next.
Ride the Waves of Change #2: Be Patient –
Give yourself some time, don’t react immediately. Decisions or actions taken in the heat of the moment have a way of coming back and biting you. Let your feelings flow, get over the emotional turmoil and clear your mind. There is a lot of value in giving yourself a quiet period when you are in distressing circumstances. Alternate possibilities emerge when you cast off whatever it is that has weighed you down.
Ride the Waves of Change #3: Tap into your Support System –
You don’t have to face everything alone. Talk to the right people, listen to suggestions, share your troubles and be open to help. “Ask and you shall receive” really works. Whether it is for a job reference or mentoring or simply prayers, reach out to people around you. My mom’s illness has made me realize how much a caring word (or even a tweet/mail from across the world) can comfort and help put things in perspective.
Ride the Waves of Change#4: Take care of yourself –
Change brings in stress in your life, and stress takes energy. Don’t add to it. Set aside time for things that comfort you and bring you peace – get enough sleep, go for a walk, curl up with a book or listen to music. Replenish your energy levels and get fit to confront all challenges and demands on you. Work on yourself to learn to live with uncertainty.
Ride the Waves of Change #5: Look inwards and prepare for the next change –
Admitting that we aren’t in control, in good times or bad times, is a very personal and painful process. It involves examining your beliefs, your value systems and many of the things that we take for granted. But whether, we know it or not, each of us has personal values that can serve as anchors to help us ride out the storm. Trusting in ourselves, in life, and/or in a super power are a few starters on the path to acceptance and grace.
These are all thoughts and ways that we generally don’t delve into in “normal” times but are exactly the kind of things that we need to think and work through to bring in greater self-realization and the inner strength to be resilient in the face of whatever life throws our way and happily ride the waves of change.
How have you coped with changes in your personal life or at work? I would love to learn from your experiences.