126: You Can Successfully Navigate Change

If you are facing change, whether it’s coming at you, happening within, or something you’re leading, you can successfully navigate change by gaining awareness, gaining skills and knowledge, looking back at your past for insight that will help you to move forward, and take action in areas that are within your control. Listen to today’s podcast for tips and strategies to successfully navigate change.

This is episode number 126. Welcome to the Mindset for Life Podcast. This podcast is for you if you love, serve, teach and lead others. You want things to keep getting better. You want encouragement. And just one little idea today to get stronger in your life, your relationships or your work. I help people take control of their current situation and have power to do what they need to do in the future. Join me in Mindset for Life.

Welcome to mindset for life today, this is Bethanie Hansen. And I am very happy to be with you to talk about change.

We’re either being changed, resisting change, or leading change.

Just as a big broad idea, change is a big scary topic, right? Some people really don’t like change. Maybe a little bit of change is good if we think of it ourselves, if we’re in charge of the change, right? But if change is just happening all around us, in our workplace, in our life, and our world. And if we’re not in control of that change, it can be scary and even incapacitating.

It can cause us to be stuck, paralyzed, unable to move forward. And it can make it very difficult to think clearly and do those things that we care most about.

So in change, there are three roles that happen. And one of those is that we are being changed. This one is somewhat intentional, right?

So if we’re being changed in this whole process of change happening, than we’re probably learning, growing, adapting, adjusting ourselves in some way, either externally or internally.

When I’m talking about internal change, I’m really talking about self talk, the way we think, the way we conceive of that change and the experience we’re having. So it’s external or its internal, but somehow we are growing, we are developing in that change.

So maybe we’re being changed in the change. Or a second option is we’re resisting the change. I think that one is a pretty common experience that I’ve had, maybe you’ve had it too–something is changing, and we do not like it. We don’t want it to happen.

So maybe we’re talking about it a lot. We’re stewing about it, we’re thinking about how much we longed for the way it used to be.

Maybe we’re wishing for the good things of the past, we just don’t want this change to be happening. And the truth is, it is happening.

There’s nothing we can do about it, the change is happening. And we have to get on board. But we are so stuck, we are resisting that change, we just don’t like it.

And the third option is that we are leading the change. Maybe we came up with some new direction our family needs to move in, or where we want to change something in our personal life. Maybe we’re going to be changing the business, the classroom, the team we’re leading, whatever it is, we are leading that change. And in any kind of change, there are some stages that we all go through. So I want to just share some ideas today, they’re going to give you one little insight to help you get through a change you might be experiencing right now. Or a change that might be coming up for you. So whether you’re going to be changed by it, because you’re resisting it or you’re leading it, something’s going to happen. And if you’d like more personal power in the journey you’re on, this idea could be very helpful.

You can choose to use change as a growth and learning opportunity.

This idea is the choice between either growing through this change experience, whether you’re leading it resisting it, or it’s changing you, right, you can grow in the experience. Or you can actually gain some knowledge or some skill or some capacity because you’ve identified that you’re not ready. So these two things are part of the three step framework, I use a lot of my coaching, which is the “Gain, the Grow and the Go.”

Those three steps are tried and true. It’s a system that I fully believe in and time and time again coaching hundreds of adults in difficult circumstances and professional situations. I’ve learned that this Gain, Grow, Go model is effective.

It works.

Use change to learn something new.

So Gain is about noticing the gap. So whether you’re leading the change or going through it as a participant willing or otherwise, this gap is like maybe you take a second to look at your knowledge, your skill set your understanding and your capacity, either personally or professionally. Maybe a little bit of both. And you take stock.

In my experience, like in my company that I work with, there’s a big change happening. And I don’t know all that is going to change, it’s a very uncertain future. Some people around me are confident that whatever happens is going to be a good thing. Some people around me are confident that whatever happens, it will be bad, it will be hard, they will suffer a lot.

And in either case, I think those people are right.

Whatever we’re thinking is going to happen, we kind of create that for our own personal results. So there’s that. But the Gain is all about figuring out where we are, and where we need to be to survive a similar thing in the future. It may or may not help right now, right?

Like we’re going through this change right now. Or we’re leading a change right now. And maybe we’re kind of on that path already. And we’re gonna keep going on that path. But something we recognize as we take stock of ourselves is a gap.

Like, maybe it’s a gap in communication skills, maybe it’s a gap in awareness of change models, like, what are the different stages of change? There are some models out there that work, like the transtheoretical model of change. And this one is really effective, whether it’s a personal change, or a big organizational change. The transtheoretical model is about this idea that, at the very beginning of the steps of change or the process of change, we may have no awareness at all that change is even needed. And when we’re resisting change, that’s usually where we are.

So if we have to grow some kind of internal ability to participate in that change, that first step of gaining knowledge and insight and understanding, maybe even some skills that we lack, that’s going to help us become aware.

So we might have to take a class, we might have to read a book, we might have to have a lot of conversations to gather information or intel about what the change is about. And then kind of decide our strategy for what we will do with it. If it’s something you have control over, like, you can learn the thing that you lack, that’s great. If it’s way out of reach for you right now, maybe there’s a baby step you could take, like, if you need a whole other college degree. Or if you need to go through some big training to gain what you lack, you could get a small dose of it. Maybe you’re gonna listen to some podcasts, or you’re going to go to a workshop, or maybe you’re going to read a book.

It doesn’t have to be huge. But even taking one step on that path will give you a sense of control in a situation where you might otherwise feel no control at all. So gaining knowledge and skills can actually give you a sense of power and control.

Find areas within your control.

And then another thing that we could do is to look at your circles of control influence and concern. Your circle of control is just that little space where you have 100% control over everything in your life or everything that’s going on. And in that space, you can control the way you approach something. You can control your thoughts about it, you can control your attitude about the change, a lot of those things are fully within your control.

And even if you feel that other people are influencing your thoughts and feelings, you can control those. You can shut out some of the voices that are promoting doubt and fear in your mind. And you can start listening more to those people who are instilling confidence.

Look back on times where you succeeded through challenges.

You can also look at the past and look at your history of navigating changes you didn’t expect or changes you didn’t like. And you can look at those things. And notice that you gained skills and knowledge through each of them.

And you can also identify where you gained gifts and opportunities through those difficult times. Everyone can do this. If there’s a change you experienced in the past that you still insist was a bad change. And you found nothing good in it. It’s possible that through discussing it with someone else, they’d be able to suggest, hey, wait a minute, this came, you know you had this opportunity.

So there’s that option that you have available to you to gain skills and knowledge, even insight that will help you to move forward and be able to move through that awareness part of the change model to be able to start contemplating the change.

Consider what you will do to find opportunities in the change.

The next step of the change model is the pre contemplation space. And you could be here for some time. It’s when you’re aware that change is needed. You’re aware that something is going to happen or needs to happen. You’re not really ready to plan the immediate steps or strategies you’re going to take, you’re sort of starting to think about it like, you’re, you’re convinced, you know, it needs to happen.

So you’re going to start thinking, “Well, if I do anything in this change, or if I do anything to make the change, good, what would I do? What could I do? What kind of possibilities are out there for me.”

And this, again, is in the Gain section of my model. And the gain section is like, I’m going to get more information, I’m going to learn some skills, I’m going to grow in some way intellectually, or in my capacity that I don’t currently have professionally, or interpersonally, or something that I’m not capable of right now. Because I just don’t know it, I need to go out and get it knowledge skills.

Prepare for the change that is coming.

Then we’re going to move to the next stage, which is contemplation. And that means that the change is going to happen soon. Now, even if it’s already happening in the organization, or in our own lives, we personally still might be in one of these different spaces in the change process. We not might not be going through that change mentally, even though it’s happening all around us.

So contemplation, is getting ready to take action in the change. Whatever role that we play, contemplation is like, “Okay, now that I’m aware, I need to change and I’m kind of thinking, yep, I’m gonna get on board.”

Contemplation is that space where now I’m planning this steps. Now I’m actually gaining what I need to gain. Now I’m getting it all together to really take action in this change that’s happening. Again, we’re either going to resist the change, be transformed by the change, or we’re leading the change.

Any of these options could be happening, where we’re still in the contemplation stage, and we’re making some plans.

Now, if we’re leading change, let’s just say I’m a mom in a family that’s getting ready to move to a new house, or ready to do a home improvement project, I’ll just personalize this. We’ve been doing home improvements for a couple of months now. And it’s been quite a change, it would have been nice to go through the pre contemplation phase a little longer. It happened because we had a little bit of an accident in our house. And it was going to be remodeled in that section anyway, so we just decided to dive in, get on board and make some other big changes at the same time.

So in the contemplation stage, we zipped through that. We made some plans, and we just started taking action.

The unfortunate part was when we were taking all the action, it took a lot longer than we thought. And things didn’t really go as we thought, and the contemplation stage, we sort of hurried through those plans and didn’t realize that these things sometimes take months. They take a long time to play out. So in that contemplation stage, I would recommend being realistic, not necessarily negativistic, but realistic.

Like, what’s most likely to happen, when the change actions are happening? How’s it most likely to go?

There’s always this best case scenario, like what’s the best thing that could happen?

And there’s always this worst case scenario, like what’s the worst thing that could happen?

And what really happens is usually somewhere down the middle, like what’s most likely to happen. And as long as we’re contemplating those possibilities, and preparing and taking the steps to get ready to go, then when the change is happening, we’re going to get through that. It still might be challenging, but we’re going to make it through.

Do the inner work to grow.

Now the inside work, the inner work, which is in the Grow part of my model here, the Gain, Grow, Go, the three part model. In the Grow section, we’re doing the inner work.

And of course, these phases of change I talked about are a lot about actual steps, but many of them are about inner work, too, right?

We have to mentally prepare for this change, we have to be thinking, what’s going to be different in the future?

What’s going to be better in the future, what’s gonna be good about this?

And even if we can’t control the change, and we’re just along for the ride, because maybe our employer is leading it, maybe our spouse is leading it. Maybe it’s something happening in the world. We can attend very intentionally to the Grow part of our own lives.

So what do we need to Gain or strengthen or build internally, to move through that change with resilience and come out on the other side in a way that we’re happy with?

We can always create an opportunity and change. We can always find a positive even in the most difficult change. So I want to encourage that and I want to just give my good vote of confidence for you, whatever you’re going through, if you’re going through change right now, even if it feels like the most painful change of your life, you can get through it.

You can be resilient on the other side.

And it doesn’t mean that you deny all the hard things that happened. But find the opportunity that’s coming out of that change for you, and grab on to it. That’s your glimmer of hope for the future, that’s going to really help you to make it through this change with finesse.

Now, I had a coach client ask me the other day how they could make decisions around what was happening in their company in a way that would benefit them most. And they seemed to think that they needed to know what the outcome with the company would be. And of course, we can never know the future, right? It hasn’t happened yet.

We do know ourselves though. And a lot, a lot of times coaching clients ask me what I recommend, what I think, what I believe they should do, knowing them as I do, and all of this. And I don’t give advice. I don’t think that’s a very good way to go.

Stop looking for everyone else’s advice.

As a coach, if I were to give you my advice, and you took it and it went really badly, I would probably be accountable for that advice, right? So I don’t do that. And I don’t think it’s helpful for other people too.

To go seeking everyone’s advice all the time. It might yield insight. But we don’t want to just take what someone else would do, and do it in our situation where it might not work. So what I tend to tell people, what I told this coach client was, change is going to happen either way. You might be at your company for one more day. Tomorrow, they might lay you off, or you might be there for 10 more years. That part matters to you right now. But it actually doesn’t really matter long-term, because you have the skill set the capacity, the abilities to weather change, to be resilient, and to keep improving your opportunities along the way.

So even if you left that job or lost that job, the next opportunity would be okay. Because you have all of this inside you that you can contribute in that new role. You have made the best of a lot of things in the current role that were difficult. You can take all that with you, you have so much to offer.

You have so much value as a contributor and as a human being. And you can always find a way to frame that on your resume should you have to look for that next job.

So whatever the changes and whatever worries that you have about change, you’re going to make it through it. Maybe not in the ways that you hoped, but you’re going to get through. And what’s coming out on the other side is an even better you. An even better future. Even if it’s not the one that you would prefer.

You can make that happen because the thoughts you think about it as you go through that process are the ones that shape the outcome. They create the truth.

Things will work out if you think they will.

It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy. If you predict change is bad, and it’s going to hurt you, it will.

If you predict change is good and it’s going to lead to better outcomes, it will bring hope in your life and it will give you a brighter future. I firmly believe that, and I hope you will take that with you today as your one good thought that will help you on the path of being a better version of you tomorrow.

Best wishes this coming week.

This season’s theme song is “Training Day,” by Infraction. Used with Permission.

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