Even the most prepared, ambitious and goal-oriented leaders recognize that sometimes life can throw a wrench in the works. Often it comes in the form of a “Big Change” and has the potential to divert you off course.
Odd as is sounds, change is one of the few constants in life. Whether it’s a shift in your job, your family, your health or one of the many other arenas in day-to-day living, even the most solid individuals can be shaken by a deep and unpredictable change.
But change doesn’t have to be a deterrent to your success by any means.
Absolutely. In fact, it’s often some unexpected obstacle or setback that opens our eyes to the need for change.
Whether it was a major health issue like a heart attack that motivated us to take better care of ourselves, a layoff that forced us to learn a new skill, or even a marital separation that inspired us examine our behavior, “big, bad changes” often have silver linings.
If an unexpected change forced you out of your comfort zone, you may be too surprised initially to recognize new opportunities. However, once the dust clears, you may find yourself with a new perspective — and begin to recognize opportunities you wouldn’t have noticed or pursued before.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
One of the biggest ways to adapt and adjust to change is to see it coming. If you invoke your attentiveness skills, there’s a good chance some of the otherwise “surprising” changes in your life will be noticed from a mile away.
For example, has your company been slipping or considering lay-offs? Has there been a discernible mood-shift in your work place or at home?
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for any “change indicators.” Once pinpointed, start brainstorming and formulating a strategy to deal with the best and worst case scenarios. Being prepared will help you maintain your cool in the adjustments to come. When the actual change occurs, you won’t be blown over by surprise.
It’s easy to say that something “happened” to us. Whether something occurred because of our health, a loved one or even the economy, sometimes we’re tempted to refuse to acknowledge our part — or worse, blame someone or something else.
But this thinking can transform into a feeling of helplessness and lack of control over our own lives — a perilous mindset that can spiral into depression and halt our journey to success and contentedness.
Instead of stepping aside and letting change happen to you, embrace it.
While some change, such as the unexpected death of a loved one, is something you can never embrace, you can find a path back to lightness over time. Countless individuals have survived such events and gone on to form nonprofits or other organizations related to their loss. Of course, this can never replace the lost loved one or make up for a traumatic event, but it demonstrates how change is inevitable and we can adapt.
If a big change has truly caught you off guard and you’re not sure what to do next, then it’s time to call in your support team. These are the family members, friends and mentors who know you and understand your strengths and your challenges. This is NOT the time to go it alone.
Your support team can provide the guidance and encouragement you need to move forward. Everyone likes to feel needed — and if they care about you, they will want to help. Don’t feel like you’re “burdening them” or some other unfounded notion.
Change can be scary and unwelcome. However, knowing how to successfully adapt to it will reduce its negative impact and prevent you from getting permanently knocked off your course to greatness.
Simply put, handle change like anything else in your life — head on and with a positive attitude. Learn more about how to recognize the positives in our earlier post, “How to Find Positives in Negative Situations.
Want to learn more about how to recognize opportunities and achieve greatness in all aspects of your life? Then my book, WINology – World Class Performance is for you!
What unexpected life change have you had to adapt to? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image quote attribution: Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer