How to deal with change when it comes and you don’t want it to – 5 tips

September 16, 2012

Bits and Pieces, For Mum

Right up front, I’ll say that I am no change-a-phobe. I’m truly not anti mixing it up at all, and in fact there’s actually lots of changes that I love to make and regard as exhilarating. But I’ve been given the heads up that there’s some upcoming change for me on the horizon and to be truthful I’m not thrilled.

2013 is going to be different for me.

Career wise that is. Change is afoot and I’m resigned to it ….. but not happy, Jan! Not happy about it at all, but truly it could be a whole lot worse and for that I’m thankful.

I started my career in education as a high school English and Maths teacher way back in 1989, in the days of chalk and those purple stencils you couldn’t help but sniff. Over time my interest shifted from being curriculum driven to being more involved in the social/emotional development of young people and their welfare. I professionally developed my way into a Behaviour Support Consultant role and have spent the last 6 or so years assisting young people (and their families) to re-engage with their peers, schooling and learning. More often than not I’ve loved it.

In this role, I have seen, heard and read about some behaviours that would make you cringe and your hair curl but each work day I come home proud of working to make a difference for young people whose voices may otherwise have gone unheard. It’s been challenging and it’s been rewarding. I’ve worked alongside some brilliant and skilled colleagues from whom I have learnt so much both professionally and personally. It’s been a privellege but sadly the position looks to be ending at the end of this school year. I’m not thrilled.

A change of government and their change of priorities means a change of job for me and that’s about all that I’ll say here on the matter. (Yes, I know that means that there is much being left unsaid and without comment ;)) And so, my path shall be different. I am prepared for it.

The last part of the walk

Creative Commons License Tambako The Jaguar via Compfight

How then can you manage and deal with change, whether it is thrust upon you as a nasty surprise or even  if you have lead up time?

Here are the change management strategies that I’ve been reflecting on and reminding myself about regarding this.

5 Tips for managing change
  1. Be prepared and don’t let change surprise you. Know and understand that in life changes are inevitable. Sometimes change may make your heart sing and sometimes it may frustrate you beyond words BUT unless you can alter the decision (usually) made by someone else accept that it is what it is.
  2. Be aware of the one thing that you can control – yourself – and control yourself well. Accept that you can only have ownership of your own thoughts and actions and not that of others. The only way that someone can change you, is if you allow them to. Remember this, it’s empowering and a crucial factor in accepting and managing change. It’s great karma too!
  3. Be aware of time – it takes time to adapt to change. Don’t deny yourself the time you may need to get used to a new situation, especially when change has been forced upon you quickly. It is OK to grieve for the ways of old whilst learning the new – just remember to spend more time moving forward than looking back.
  4. Look for the positives – there’ll be some, even if you have to hunt hard! They say that things usually happen for a reason, meh, sometimes it never feels like that. However, I am a firm believer in finding that silver lining in the cloud of change is a fantastic way to move on. As you’ll have read, I’m not thrilled about the work change coming for me BUT I know that I’ll be moving into a well organised team of super-awesome staff and to me that silver lining is worth its weight in gold – all good!
  5. Move on, don’t bang on.  Of course when you are faced with sudden and unwanted change, a bit of a whinge and a bitch is understandable and probably good for the system. Take care though not to make this your status quo. It is easy to tire of someone who constantly rehashes their woes and dwells on the same misfortune. Moving on, accepting what the current situation is and then undertaking some positive planning for the future is much more productive.

How are you at change management? Do you thrive on change or resist it? Where do you seek support and how do you support others? I’d love to hear.

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