Coping with Change: Are You Resilient
or Are You Vulnerable?
“Every time I find the meaning of life, they change it.”
From the moment we are born, life remains in a constant state of change. Some people we know have a way of coasting through change in the workplace and at home, and appear able to easily make the needed adjustments. Others remain stuck, mourning the loss of the “familiar,” or the old ways of doing business, and experiencing difficulty managing their anxiety and stress over the “unfamiliar.” How we interpret and respond to unfamiliar and unexpected events influences our ability to be resilient to change or to be vulnerable, isolated and stressed.
In order to move into a state of greater resilience, we begin with self-awareness by simply paying attention to how we interpret new expectations, responsibilities, people and events. As a first step, here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself in order to become more aware of how you typically interpret change in the workplace:
- Do you immerse yourself in workplace changes to grasp their implications for you and the organization?
- In addition to cherishing the past, do you look forward to a changing future?
- Do you try to carry out plans to improve yourself in response to workplace changes?
- Do you feel that your input at work makes a difference in how things turn out?
- Do you see both your organization and yourself trying to grow and do better?
- Do you feel most comfortable with minimal change in your work tasks or environment?
- Do you personalize workplace changes?
- Do you escape from work problems by distracting yourself with daydreams and other activities?
- Do you feel unappreciated and hurt when your supervisor highlights an area of work in which you need more growth?
- Do you see workplace changes as an unfortunate imposition and try to keep functioning the way you have been all along?
As we take a good look at our conventional way of reacting to change, we are able to identify what thoughts and behaviors we want to keep and those we want to let go.
An effective approach to becoming more resilient is to find and study people who you know are resilient to workplace change. Observe these things about him/her:
- How he problem-solves in times of stressful change;
- How she reaches out to others for support and encouragement;
- How he talks about the experience. Does he speak about new insights including what he has learned and how he has benefited?; and
- How her coping efforts express attitudes of commitment, control and acceptance of new challenges.
When you have identified some new attitudes and behaviors you find valuable, try them when the next small change occurs. By practicing “attitudes of the resilient” the resilient behaviors will follow!
We continue to grow and develop as human beings. This is a good thing! Investing ourselves in the change process, rather than resenting and avoiding that which is new and different, gives us new opportunities for growth and development. The result is a more satisfying experience at work, significantly improving our quality of life both at work...and at home.