Contributed by Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of “The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making any Change Easier,” and founder and CEO of First 30 Days, Inc.
Change is the one constant, guaranteed thing to happen in life. Just think about all of the changes you may have already been through: divorce, illness, starting a company, losing a loved one, becoming a parent, moving, changing jobs, graduating and so on. The core of who you are is wrapped up in changes you’ve made and faced.
And yet, we all find change to be hard— we resist it, are overwhelmed or don’t know how to make it easier. The good news is that while we can’t avoid change, we can become better at navigating the transitions that arise in our lives, personally and professionally.
The Change Quotient Questions
Before sharing how to make change easier, you must understand how it affects you right now. Here are some questions to help you evaluate yourself?
Do you think you are good at change
Would someone who knows you well say you were good at change?
Are you better at making or facing changes?
What is the best change you have made?
What is the hardest change you have faced?
What change would you love to make? Why hasn’t it happened yet? What’s in the way?
How much change are you currently experiencing in your life?
Is your company good at change? Your employees?
On a scale of 1-10, where would you rank yourself on the Good at Change Scale?
The Nine Principles of Change: People who are good at change:
1) Have positive beliefs. They are optimistic and believe that life is on their side. They also believe that they have the ability to initiate and follow through with changes in their own lives.
2) Believe that change always brings something positive into their lives, no matter what. When faced with change, they know the change guarantee: “From this situation, something good will come.” Write this down.
3) Activate their change muscle, which makes them resilient and capable of getting through anything. We all have this muscle and we must remember that we are smarter, more intuitive and more resilient than we have ever been told. Our change muscle is strengthened each time we go through a change.
4) Refuse to allow change demons—challenging emotions that arise during change—to stop them. Fear, doubt, impatience, blame, guilt and shame are the main demons that often come up during change, but “change optimists” don’t allow these emotions to slow their progress, choosing instead to focus on positive emotions.
5) Understand that they will experience less pain and hardship if they accept the reality of their situation. Resisting change is not the answer. Let go of the idea of how life should be. Acceptance gives you relief and allows you to move forward.
6) Control what they say, think and feel while going through change. They understand that empowering questions like, “How might this change be good for me?” and positive thoughts and language helps them move through change.
7) Look within. When everything around them is changing, there is a part inside that doesn’t change. It is calm, centered and knows what to do. This place can be accessed through silence, meditation, talking a walk, spending time in nature or through religious practice. Often during change, there is an opportunity to reconnect with a bigger part of you.
8) Turn to a change support team. They know they are never alone and there is always someone who can help.
9) Take action. People who are good at change take care of themselves physically, they make decisions and they have a plan.
When you look at the nine principles above, which ones are you already good at and which ones challenge you? Which do you need to work on?
If you have a company that is going through a lot of change, remember this: Companies don’t change, people change! Help your team get better at change. I believe there are two types of people (and companies) in the world: Those that can handle change—who are open to the unexpected and eager take on changes that need to be made—and those that can’t. Which one are you?