As someone who loves to spend time in the garden or out in nature, this time of year I notice the constant changes as plants bloom and others die or wait for their turn to blossom. Without even realising it life is constantly changing, no two moments are ever the same, so, it is interesting that we often find it hard.
Change is an inevitable part of life, yet many of us find it challenging to adapt and manage change effectively. Whether it's a small change to our daily routines, a major life transition, workplace restructuring, or technological advancements, the uncertainty and disruption that accompany change often leave us feeling overwhelmed and resistant.
Change can be one of the biggest contributing factors to stress and may lead to anxiety. Our brains like certainty and anything new or different can evoke our flight or fight response as our brain struggles to process this difference. Understandably, we feel a sense of overwhelm and fear.
I always add my blog to my newsletter, recently the programme I use for this has changed and interestingly I was struggling with the new process, a different layout. I noticed I was feeling tense and almost angry they had changed it, I know how to do the other one. Just a tiny example of how we resist change, I know in the long term it will be easier and more efficient, but I wanted to be in my comfort zone.
Let’s explore some of the common reasons why we find it difficult to manage change and strategies we can use to navigate through these turbulent waters.
Fear of the Unknown:
One of the primary reasons we struggle with change is our fear of the unknown. Change disrupts our established routines, familiar environments, and predictable outcomes, which can trigger feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Our natural instinct is to seek stability and control, and when faced with change, we often resist it in an attempt to protect ourselves from potential risks and uncertainties.
It is ok to feel anxious about change, so do not criticise yourself. Even when we feel anxious we can step towards something rather than step away from it.
Try: Embracing change requires a shift in mindset. Instead of focusing on the potential negative outcomes, we can view change as an opportunity for growth and personal development. Adopting a positive and open attitude towards change allows us to explore new possibilities and expand our comfort zones.
Loss of Familiarity:
Change often involves letting go of what is familiar and comfortable to us. We become accustomed to our routines, relationships, and environments, and any alteration to these elements can generate a sense of loss. Whether it's leaving a job, moving to a new place, or adapting to new technologies, the discomfort of leaving the familiar behind can be challenging to manage.
Try: Acknowledge and mourn the losses associated with change, but also focus on the potential gains. Any loss is a form of grief, we need to spend time accepting this and reflecting on the loss before we can move forward. Recognize that change brings opportunities for personal and professional growth, fresh perspectives, and exciting new experiences. Engage in self-reflection and identify the positive aspects that may arise from embracing the unknown.
Resistance to Change:
Resistance is a natural response to change, especially when it is imposed upon us without our consent. We tend to resist change because it disrupts our established routines, challenges our beliefs and assumptions, and requires us to adapt. Change can also evoke a sense of powerlessness, as we may feel that we have little control over the circumstances unfolding around us.
Try: To overcome resistance, it is crucial to engage in effective communication and build awareness about the reasons behind the change. Organizations and leaders can involve employees or stakeholders in the decision-making process, provide clear explanations about the benefits of change, and offer support throughout the transition. Individual resistance can be addressed through self-reflection, seeking support from trusted individuals, and focusing on the potential positive outcomes of the change.
Overwhelm and Uncertainty:
Change often comes with a myriad of challenges, uncertainties, and increased workload. The sheer magnitude of the adjustments required can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to navigate the new terrain. The fear of failure or inability to meet the demands of change can further exacerbate the difficulty of managing it.
Try: Break down the change into smaller, manageable steps. Create a plan, set clear goals, and prioritize tasks. Seek support from colleagues, mentors, or coaches who can provide guidance and assistance during the transition. Embracing a growth mindset and adopting a problem-solving approach can help alleviate overwhelm and increase confidence in managing change.
Change is a constant in our lives, and our ability to adapt and manage it effectively is crucial for personal and professional growth. By understanding the reasons why we find change difficult and implementing strategies to navigate through it, we can transform change from a source of anxiety and resistance into an opportunity for growth, innovation, and success. Embrace the winds of change, and let them propel you towards new horizons.
I have two learning hour sessions focusing on change:
How to deal with change- the only constant in life - focusing on managing change in and out of work, why we find it challenging and how to proactively manage our wellbeing through change processes.
Change your habits- change your life. - focusing on how to make small changes in our life and create habits that stick, both in and out of the workplace.
Get in touch to book either of these or any of my other learning hour sessions.