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By Michael Angier

 

   

 

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Change Happens: How to Accept, Navigate and Master Change

Not only do we live in a time of unprecedented change, but the changes we’re experiencing are happening at a faster and faster rate. The telephone, radio and TV took decades to be placed into common use. Now the time it takes from invention to widespread usage is just a few years—sometimes months!

Our lives are significantly unlike that of our parents’. We think differently, act differently, travel differently, and we work differently. Virtually everything about how we interact with the world around us has changed in just one generation.

We’re bombarded with new ideas, new systems, new jobs, new technologies and new opportunities. The more we learn, the more we realize how small our personal store of knowledge is in comparison to the vast universe of data. 

Most of the change we’re experiencing is appreciated. We like much of what  we see happening. While we enjoy many of these changes, there are other changes that are not so warmly embraced. There’s more uncertainty, less confidence and—as a result—more stress.

I’m a recreational sailor. There’s hardly anything I enjoy more than being out on the water with the wind in my sails. Sailing has taught me many things. Not the least of which is a healthy respect for the wind. You have absolutely no control over the wind—only the way you use it. You must master your ability to handle the wind, regardless how hard it blows or which direction it blows.

And change is like the wind. It’s neither good nor bad. It just is. 

But how we feel about change—our attitudes toward it—will have much to do with how well we navigate this turbulent sea of change. If we dislike change, resist it, ignore it or resent it, we will lose.

On the other hand, if we use it to our advantage, we’ll benefit from it. What’s your attitude toward change? What are your beliefs about the change you see around you and the change that surely lies ahead? When faced with something new and different, do you long for the old way or do you look for what advantages this may bring to you, your family, your business.

Your answer may be different based upon the type of change you face.

Choice or no choice
If the new situation is to your liking or a result of your own choosing, you will likely have a positive reaction. If the change seems forced upon you—a new responsibility at work, a shopping mall going in next door or your spouse telling you they want a divorce, you'll experience a different reaction.

The more power you feel you have over a given situation, the easier it is to handle.

Recognize change
Author Dr. Phillip McGraw is fond of saying—and he’s right—“You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge.” Oftentimes we’re slow to realize or even fail to recognize changes that occur. We need to look at what’s happening and acknowledge what we need to change in ourselves in order to adapt to the changes around us.

Which brings us to one of the first steps in dealing with change . . .

How will this change affect me?
Too often, people resist change before allowing themselves to explore its potential benefits. 

Make a sincere effort to look for the good in what appears to be changing. Because of a natural resistance to the unknown, you must consciously and logically analyze what this difference will mean to you. And it’s often not what you first perceive.

How can you exploit this change?
Many fortunes have been made by taking swift advantage of changes and trends before others have realized how to do so.

A change that alters the rules means opportunity only if you’re able to see the new connections—and exploit them.

If after thoroughly exploring the potential good, you see the change as negatively impacting you, then ask the next question . . .

Is there anything I can do about this?
There’s no question that some change runs counter to your best interests. If this is the case, you need to find out if you can change the circumstances. This is no time to play victim. Often what LOOKS like a situation totally outside of your control can in fact be altered.

If you can't change the circumstances, then ask . . .

How can I minimize the impact of this change?
First, accept it. There’s no payoff to being upset about it. If your destination is LA and you find yourself in San Francisco due to bad weather or mechanical difficulties, being angry about it will not get you to LA. In fact, it will hinder you.

By accepting the reality of the situation, you can then change your strategies. You can take a new tack. You can change sails. You can set a new course.

This is the time for green-light thinking. This is the time to attack the problem with your intellect, to get the help you need, to do whatever it takes to adjust to this change.

In all of these steps, you need to be creative. As paradigms shift, as new systems go into place and new technologies evolve, you must be open to how this changes the setup as we knew it.

Your success is largely dependent upon your acceptance and response to the change that takes place around you. Extinctions occur as a result of an inability to change. To change is often difficult, but to not change may prove fatal.

Those who will thrive in the new millennium will be those who have positive attitudes toward change. Those who don’t will be left behind, or worse yet, they will founder.

 

Copyright Success Networks International.
SuccessNet is a worldwide association committed to helping people become more knowledgeable, productive and effective. Their mission is to inform, inspire and empower people to be their best—personally and professionally. Free subscriptions, books and SuccessMark™ Cards available at
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Last Updated 03/01/2006