In business, it sometimes seems that change is the only constant.
Companies evolve in ever-changing competitive markets. Organizational structures shift based on competitive positioning or to improve financial results.
The resulting reorganizations, restructures, acquisitions, new management, or changes to job roles bring feelings of uncertainty… and often, fears and anxiety. Keeping your wits, and your job may be easier said than done. So what do you do?
First, acknowledge that feeling some anxiety is ok. While we know that change is inevitable, it is natural to feel uncertain or anxious. A 2017 Inc.com article reported on the science associated with fearing change: “Neuroscience research teaches us that uncertainty registers in our brain much like an error does. It needs to be corrected before we can feel comfortable again, so we’d rather not have that hanging out there if we can avoid it. We also fear change because we fear that we might lose what’s associated with that change.”
So, fearing change is normal. And change is constant. So how do I respond?
Resilience is our capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; it is our toughness or grit. Whatever changes you might be experiencing, staying confident and open to both opportunity and possibility is important. Not only for your own sanity and professional reputation, but for the wellness of the organization and those around you.
Leadership relies on positive solution-focused employees who keep their heads in the storm, and tackle challenges head-on. In the face of rapid and constant change, the organizations, and people, who display the most resilience are the ones who will flourish. Those who can’t (or won’t) be strong enough to embrace change will not.
Trust the process
Trusting the process means accepting change, uncertainty or failure as a necessary component of reaching long-term goals. If you reflect back on your failures, you probably learned some important lessons through that experience. In fact, you may not have reached the success you’ve had without those failures. Need convincing? Check out a few of our favorite articles about failure.
- Forbes – Ten Life Lessons You Can Only Learn By Failing
- Inc.com – Arianna Huffington’s Rule for Success: Dare to Fail
- TED – The Unexpected Benefit of Celebrating Failure
Be a Lighthouse
Lighthouse – noun
light·?house | \ ?l?t-?hau?s \
1: a structure (such as a tower) with a powerful light that gives a continuous or intermittent signal to navigators
When changes are taking place across a company, employees rely on one another to navigate the stormy weather. As you and your colleagues navigate the uncertainty of change, reflect on how your actions can inspire confidence and productivity in others. If you are in a leadership role, you may feel pressure to have all the answers. While you may not know exactly what will happen, you can certainly reassure others with positive thinking and a focus on teamwork.
Build yourself up
If you were interviewing for your job today, what skills would you focus on? Remind yourself of your value and your ability to be successful. Outline what you bring to your role, your team and your organization as if you were preparing for a job interview. You might be surprised what a confidence booster it is to see your successes listed out.
During times of stress, try some positive affirmations to acknowledge your worries while also acknowledging your experience.
- I feel uncertain about the future, but I have felt uncertain before and things have turned out for the better.
- I’ve handled difficult circumstances before, I can do it again. In fact, I am wiser for the challenges I’ve gone through and am now better equipped to handle them again.
Take some time to listen to a podcast or watch videos that inspire and motivate you. They can give you a dose of confidence in tackling your own change and challenges, and help you maintain a broader perspective on your situation. Here are some of our favorites:
- Kid President’s Pep Talk
- 3 Ted Talks That Will Inspire You To Make a Bold Career Move
- TED Radio Hour: Courage
- Happier with Gretchen Rubin
- The RobCast with Rob Bell
Having someone to talk to and strategize with during times of uncertainty can be a game changer. A career coach can help. Check out our executive coaching services and sign up for a free consultation here.