How to re-frame the meaning of change to ‘create opportunity’
CHANGE should be viewed as an inevitable and necessary aspect of life and business. Change brings about growth, innovation, and improved efficiency, but it can also be disruptive and cause anxiety when viewed as a threat versus an opportunity. As such, change should be approached with a thoughtful and strategic mindset, considering the potential impact on yourself, others, and organizations. When you perceive change as a threat, you:
• Create stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.
• React with fear, resistance, and negativity.
• Resist change to make it difficult to implement change.
• Create conflict and tension.
• Worry about the uncertainty and unpredictability of the future.
• Have health problems like depression and anxiety disorders.
• Decrease productivity and increase absenteeism on the job.
• Focus is on the negative consequences instead of the potential benefits.
• Will not take risks or try new things.
• Not likely to innovate or be adaptive.
• Limit your growth and development.
The psychological impact of change on individuals and groups is too often overlooked. Change can be stressful and disruptive, particularly when it is unexpected, unwanted, and perceived negatively. The fear of the unknown, the loss of familiar routines and structures, and the uncertainty of what the future holds all contribute to stress with feelings of anxiety and discomfort. The feeling of powerlessness when change disrupts creates an imbalance of power within families, organizations and communities that lead to resentment, resistance and a breakdown in trust and communication. This exacerbates the negative effects of the change. Potential unintended consequences can also arise even when change is driven by good intentions and the desire to improve things in the relationship, on the job, in the business, or the community at-large.
The impact of change affects people differently. Everyone has seen change that improves efficiency and productivity that result in job losses or a reduction in the quality of goods or services. The impact of these overlooked aspects of change is significant, resulting in decreased morale, productivity, and trust. To mitigate these negative effects, it is important for those responsible for implementing change to take a holistic approach, considering the psychological impact of the change, and working to engage all in the process. This can help to build trust and buy-in, ultimately leading to a more successful and sustainable change.
Do not allow your negative perspectives on change and the stress it causes to destroy your personal or professional life. You want to use change to your advantage by reframing your negative thoughts around change, seeing, and seizing upon the opportunity within change. You will then support and embrace change understanding its necessity and benefit. This will help you feel energized, inspired, motivated, productive, creative. Innovative, and collaborative.
You must cultivate a mindset within yourself, family, team, or organization that sees change as an opportunity rather than a threat to achieve the best possible outcomes. Jack Canfield said, “Change is inevitable in life. You can either resist it and potentially get run over by it, or you can choose to cooperate with it, adapt to it, and learn how to benefit from it. When you embrace change, you will begin to see it as an opportunity for growth.” When you must lead and implement change, it is important that you:
• Model the way.
• Lead with integrity and transparency.
• Understand and clearly communicate why the change, how it will be implemented, and its impact on all stakeholders.
• Evaluate, adjust, and adapt as needed to thrive with change.
• Actively listen to concerns and feedback addressing any issues or questions timely and respectfully.
• Foster a culture that values continuous improvement and learning.
• Provide the necessary resources and support for you and others to succeed.
Change is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process.
Change is constant! Take ownership and accountability of change that comes into your life knowingly and unknowingly.
Choose to find the opportunity within it by not spending all your time fighting the old but building the new.
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." - Maya Angelou
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