You’ve heard the expression that the only constant is change. There’s a lot of truth to that statement. You cannot avoid change. But I can help you with managing the big 4 in change: our Identity, our Control, our Meaning, and our Future.
1 Our Identity
We all have that sense of who we are. You recognize that there’s a difference between what you do and who you are. Your identity is all about your being versus you’re doing. This is true of all changes from the work environment to family relationships.
When change happens, your sense of being is threatened. It leaves you asking, “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” It helps to acknowledge that your identity is not in concrete. It is evolving and changing as you learn more about yourself.
When change happens, look at it like a pruning season. At the end of winter, right before spring, you prune trees and bushes of their dead limbs and branches. By doing this you actually give more energy and opportunity for the plant to grow and create more fruit.
2 Our Control
Your brain seeks certainty. It seeks predictability. It does this because that’s where security is. That’s where safety is.
So, when change occurs, you lose that sense of safety. You are no longer certain about what is happening. It often manifests as panic or a feeling of helplessness. You often say, “There’s nothing I can do.”
It’s in these moments that I remember the Serenity Prayer.
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
There is a process buried right within that mantra. Take a piece of paper. Write on the left side, the changes that you cannot change. On the right-hand side, write down those things that you need courage to change.
It becomes so much simpler when you can see it right there in black and white.
3 Our Meaning
Closely related to Our Identity is Our Meaning.
It’s very easy as a manager or an entrepreneur, to concentrate on the metrics around money. While Income and Revenue are key metrics and proven yardsticks of success, they don’t always get at the heart of why you do what you do.
When change interrupts your life, you find your purpose or your impact on those around you comes into question. “Why am I even doing this?”
However, there is always a deeper reason you are on the path you’ve chosen. Look at the essence of what you do and who benefits from your efforts.
When you tap into your purpose, your mission, all the sudden you will find a sense of meaning. And while the circumstances around what you do may be different, you’ll find the essence of what you do is still important to those around you.
4 Our Future
Change often alters the future you’ve envisioned for yourself. It has a different impact on everyone.
When I look at my CliftonStrengths profile, I have Futuristic as number 8 in my top 10. I can spend significant time dreaming about what even the smallest change might mean for my future, both good and bad.
However, the future is constantly changing with every choice you make. And if you don’t have Futuristic tendencies, it can be difficult to get out of the “Everything is ruined” mentality.
Instead, lean on your other strengths and use them to find the silver linings in what this change means. Does it mean a future with different people, a different location, or a different schedule? Then how can those changes be good for you, and how can you make it good for them?
So, if you’re going through major changes right now as a business leader or as an organization or just as a person, I would encourage you to look at the big four: your identity, your sense of control, your feeling of meaning, and finally your optimism about the future.
To hear more concrete examples of change, watch the full video.
If you would like me to speak to your organization about diversity, strengths, or a whole host of topics, contact Brent.