Monday, October 26, 2009

How to Survive in a Changing World.

Post 354 - It's almost November so I'm thinking about next year already. It seems likely that 2010 will be another challenging year. We still don't have a clear idea if the US economy will rebound in the new year or if there's another dip just around the corner. Either way, some businesses will prosper, others will shrink, and still others will disappear. But all will have to adapt. In the words of Charles Darwin: “It's not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

People can't avoid change any more than businesses can expect to remain viable if they can't anticipate and adjust to new conditions. So how do you respond to change? Do you have a plan in place that will help you adapt and prosper in 2010? Here are some ideas that may help:

• Change can help you reach your goals,
There’s an old saying that, "Every change brings an opportunity." Learn to see change as a means of achieving your goals, not as a barrier preventing you from reaching them. Examine changes in your external circumstances to find how they provide you with opportunities for personal growth. Experience suggests that the greater the change, the more and the faster you can grow. If you think about change in this way, you’ll find it energizing and exciting rather than depressing and debilitating.

• You’re more adaptable that you think.
Our forefathers lived through such great upheavals, it's almost impossible to appreciate the fortitude and resilience they needed to survive. The next time you feel resistant, think about what they faced - and what they created. They uprooted themselves from their homes and families, blended old and new worlds together, learned new languages, created different cuisines and adopted new customs, all the time working to create a better future. History shows that human beings are remarkably flexible and can adapt to a wide variety of situations and environments. This should encourage you to embrace and shape change rather than resisting and avoiding it.

• Set realistic expectations.
Keep an optimistic perspective, and aim for what‘s realistically attainable in the short term. There will undoubtedly be some bumps along the road. You may not be able to anticipate all of the problems ahead, but try to map out in general terms where you want to end up and how you’ll deal with adversity along the way.

• People change at different rates.
Changing your perspective about change will take time. In fact, it usually follows the same steps as the grieving process. These steps, which are experienced sequentially and in this order, are:
- shock and denial that old routines must be left behind,
- then anger that change appears inevitable,
- then despair and a longing for a return to the old ways,
- and finally acceptance of a brighter view of the future.
Everyone goes through this process; for some, the transition is fast, for others it’s slow. So, try to be patient with yourself and others.

• Develop your own personal change tactics.
Those negative thoughts usually creep in when you're tired, hungry, stressed, or lonely. To prevent negative or self-defeating thoughts, get plenty of rest, eat properly and get enough exercise. It's amazing what a 20-minute walk or a 15-minute "power nap" can do to clear your head and improve your outlook. Even if you take all the right steps and follow the best advice, change creates stress in your life, and stress takes energy. You can compensate for this by taking special care of your body.

• Invest time and energy in learning new skills.
Sharpen your skills so you can meet new challenges with confidence. If the training you need isn’t available at work, get it somewhere else. Check out the community colleges or adult education programs in your area, or sign-up for appropriate online programs.

• Get help when you need it.
If you’re confused or overwhelmed with the changes taking place around you, ask for help. Your supervisor, manager, or coworkers may be able to assist you. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to counseling services or make other resources available.

• Keep a positive attitude.
Having a positive attitude won’t take away all life's challenges and it probably won’t change the economic outlook. What it will do, however, is to make you better prepared to work through the challenges that confront you, help you feel in control of yourself and your thoughts, and keep you moving toward finding workable solutions. The minute you alter your perception of yourself and your future, both you and your future begin to change as well.

No comments: