This article is the fourth in a 10-part series on the topic of overcoming career-limiting habits.
I heard once that the Chinese character for the word “change” was a combination of two other characters: chaos and opportunity. Now, don’t quote me on this. I have no idea of if it’s correct. But in theory, it makes sense.
When a recent study ranked “resistance to change” as number 4 in a list of the most common career-limiting habits, I immediately remembered this little piece of trivia. Change is indeed a combination of chaos and opportunity. Those who are resistant, I think, are only looking at one side of the equation. They’re forgetting about the opportunity and focusing only on the chaos. And who wouldn’t resist that?
We all know that change is the only constant in life and nowhere is that more true than in the workplace. Technology alone forces us to be adaptable and learn new things on nearly a daily basis. The business world is always evolving in big ways and small (think: mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, etc.).
Change is absolutely unavoidable so, as the trekkies say, resistance is futile. Successful professionals have to be willing to embrace change, even when the outcome is still unknown.
Here are a few tips for learning to love change in the workplace:
Recognize When You’re Resisting
A great first step for most people is simply to recognize when change is happening and how you’re reacting. If you’re resistant, figure out what’s beneath the resistance. Is it fear? Why are you pushing back when everything around you is moving forward?
Look for the Opportunity
Remember that change = chaos + opportunity. It’s a two-part equation. What potential exists within the change? Shine a spotlight there.
Make It Less Dramatic
An overnight, sudden change is much harder to handle than a gradual shift. It’s like the “frog in a boiling water” scenario (which, being an animal lover, I hate!!). When you see change on the horizon, be proactive. Do what you can to ease the transition, minimize the chaos and enhance the opportunity.
Release Emotional Attachments
Let go of the feelings you have associated with the old way of doing things. Comfort can be more emotional than rational. Remember that you’re endlessly adaptable and that growth almost always comes with discomfort. Learn to simply go with the flow and see where the wave takes you.