Change, they say, is the only constant.
But if change is so constant and prevalent, then why do we resist it? Why does it feel so hard to adjust to it?
This is because we are creatures of habit. We feel comfortable and secure in doing things the way we have always done them. A departure from the past–like a change of job or a move to a new town–makes us uncomfortable, even if we know it’s a change for the better.
We make decisions and set goals to change routines frequently. However, how often are we actually able to change our habits?
The reason we fail to do it is that we are afraid to embrace change. There is a sense of fear and uncertainty. We tend to dwell on what-ifs.
Quite often, a lot of people live their lives without embracing change, even if it leaves them disgruntled and with some unfulfilled wishes.
But life is all about embracing change and taking on setbacks.
Learning to embrace change from Dutee Chand
One person who embraced change is runner Dutee Chand. She grew up in a poor family in a small village in Odisha and started running as a young girl. She was very talented and, by 2012, was the national under-18 champion in 100 meters.
Two years later, she won two gold medals at the Asian Junior Athletics Championships. But then her world came crashing down.
Just before the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Dutee was banned from competing. She had tested positive for a health condition that caused testosterone levels above those allowed for female athletes.
Dutee had two options: she could stop running or she could undergo surgery for her health condition. But she did not give up. She saw the ban as a setback in her plans for her sporting career and decided to fix it. She challenged the testosterone rule in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland. The CAS ruled in Dutee’s favor, and she was free to run in competitive races again.
Like Dutee, we too have to be willing to embrace change at work and life in general. We should think of ways to embrace change to improve our life and personality.
The importance of embracing change
The core definition of embracing change refers to cultivating an attitude of accepting change as a positive development and integrating it in your life without fear. Change has three key benefits. It pushes you to:
Learn new things
Master new skills
Become wiser, fearless, adaptive, and positive
Ways to embrace change at work
The year 2020 is the greatest example of why it is important for all of us to cultivate the ability to embrace change. We had already seen how rapid technological advances changed work even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit us.
After the pandemic, organizations were rapidly driven towards embracing change at work. Today, the demand for ways to embrace change by adopting digital technologies has increased.
Let’s look at some tips to embrace change faster.
Review where you stand and identify the problem areas
Before you start looking for ways to embrace change, you need to identify what the change is and how it will impact you. Many people think that any change which throws our plans off-course is undesirable.
However, it is important to not feel pessimistic or lose hope. Review where you stand after things settled down. Identify the areas which need attention and allocate resources to them.
Let’s take an example. Imagine you have broken your arm and the doctor says you will take six weeks to recover. You are unable to write or type, which makes working impossible. The first thing to do to address this change would be to evaluate the impact of this situation on your work. Which projects are you working on, and what are your deadlines? Taking stock of the impact of the change will help you feel more confident about managing it well.
Adapt to change with timely action
Taking timely action after adversity or change will enable you to embrace change.
Let’s go back to the example of breaking your arm. You may be unable to write and type your work yourself. However, you can use voice-to-text software or even hire someone to take notes for you. Timely action will help you feel more in control of the aftermath of the change.
Overcome your apprehensions
Change brings with it uncertainly and risk of failure. It is natural to feel some worry and anxiety when the path ahead is unclear. However, uncertainty shouldn’t breed inaction under any circumstances. One must focus on the options they have to adapt and respond to the change. Overcome your apprehensions and make what appears to be the choice with the best chances of success.
In the previous example of breaking your arm, you may be anxious about your reduced ability to work. Instead of feeling worried and tensed, you have a frank conversation with your boss about your recovery timeline. By overcoming your apprehensions and having a dialogue, you will demonstrate your commitment to your work and earn your boss’s trust.
Blaming yourself for a problem does not solve anything. Embracing change implies that you don’t see change as adversity, but an opportunity to improve yourself or try new things. You need to be positive about your situation, capabilities, and ability to adapt to change.
Many times, what we consider failures are actually setbacks. Our perspective can play an important role in our ability to deal with setbacks. By learning to reframe a setback as a problem that needs to be solved, we can reduce our pessimism and feel more in control.
The 3 As of dealing with setbacks are Accept, Assess, and Act. First, accept that the setback has happened. Then, assess the situation and your options. Finally, act on the best possible option.
Not all change is involuntary. It is important to assess your working style and productivity from time to time. You may find that you need to make changes to your working style or plans to reach your full potential and excel in the workplace.
Change is a key element in our lives. Harappa Education understands the importance of embracing change at work. The Embracing Change course can help you understand and overcome changes in your personal and professional lives. Sign up for this transformational course and embrace change.
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