Change…happens. How to successfully handle it?

If you are living…change happens.

Dealing with change isn’t always easy. It can be uncomfortable, stressful or even scary at times. But the good news is, there are things you can do to make coping with life changes a little easier.

I remember when I moved from the safe confines of Grand Forks, ND population 54,000 to Greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin, population 2 million! This was a big change!

I was born and raised in North Dakota. I had lived my whole in North Dakota. Now I was moving my family to an entirely different state.  I was moving to an area where I didn’t know anyone. I was tasked with taking over an underperforming sales area. All at the same time managing the excitement of a new challenge.

I learned real fast once I unpacked my U-Haul into my new Wisconsin home that your own attitude will determine just how difficult you find any change that happens to you and how well you handle it. The problem is, it’s easy to talk about seeing change as an opportunity, having a positive attitude, etc. but it’s much harder to do this in practice.

Understanding a change is the important first step to managing it.  We’re usually scared of change because we’re afraid of the unknown.

I likened it to when I moved away to college. Sometimes it not as bad as it may seem at first, and it just takes time. Think about major changes in your life.

Buying a house

Loss of a loved one

Change of jobs

Relationship change

Medical challenges

I’m sure there are lots of others you could include.

If any of these things have happened to you, how well did you handle them? And what affected your attitude to the changes and your ability to deal with them? I would venture to say your attitude toward the change had a major influence around it. Myself my attitude went like, Wow I can’t believe I moved, to denial “I didn’t really move did I?” to acceptance and owning the change.

Through the process I learned 6 valuable steps in working through change.

 

  1. Figure out how much you can control- Recognize that change is inevitable, nothing is going to stay the same forever. In fact, you would probably get very bored if it did. What can you control? That is what you can focus on.
  2. Find out the facts– It is very common for rumors to spread that in many cases may be far from the truth. There were many opinions of why the area I took over was underperforming. When I took a step back to look at the facts it really opened my eyes to the opportunities that lay ahead.
  3. Avoid people who are constantly moaning and complaining about it and resist the temptation to spend time complaining about it yourself-When I moved to Wisconsin I ran into people and even friends that said it was all dried up. People said to me, “Good luck with that one. You may have had better luck staying in North Dakota.” For the record since 2010 we have experienced 340% growth! (Yes, I do have an amazing team.)
  4. Celebrate the Positives-Moving from smallville aka North Dakota to a true metro city like Milwaukee, WI opened up many more opportunities. Really looking at the positives helped me feel good about the change overall.
  5. Be open to creating new relationship and opportunities-If you’re always suspicious of meeting new people/opportunities or using past experiences to judge new opportunities you’ll end up missing out on the good things they have to offer. I really had to face this new chapter in my life with an openness if I truly wanted to grow. Moving to Wisconsin really taught me that being flexible and being able to adapt to change, the greater your chances of being successful
  6. Think Positive Thoughts– Yes, I will admit there were a few times in the beginning in which “what if” thoughts creeped in. When change happens in your life, react by being excited, stimulated and inspired—not threatened, terrified or immobilized. Being an optimist I have learned it serves me well and it creates more opportunities.

 

In the end I had to change my internal language from “How well do I handle change?” to “How can I handle change successfully?”. Hopefully the tips I shared above can guide you in handling change in your life successfully.

 

I hope that everyone reading this is having a really good day. And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes you have an opportunity to change that.   Gillian Anderson

 

Equip, Educate, Empower, and Encourage others to become better leaders!

Be great today!

Tony Jalan

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