Resilience In The Face Of Change

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” ― C. JoyBell C.

Change is nice. When it is our own idea.

Being on the other end of someone else’s decision making doesn’t always feel so lovely. Whether the changes relate to your personal life or work circumstances, it can leave you feeling unsettled and uncertain.

Resilience is the measure of one’s ability to persevere in spite of challenges. How resilient are you in the face of change? Often we underestimate our bounce-back ability until we are thrown into the middle of something and have to cope.

We have all witnessed people who seem to be getting on in life in spite of some fairly difficult circumstances. When we ask them “how are you doing it?” the answer is often simple; “what choice do I have? Just putting one foot in front of the other.”

Many of us resist change because it requires a shift in our mindset.

Change demands us to set aside our current understanding of things and become uncomfortable for awhile. Work-related changes can mean different expectations in employment roles. Even a change in command can mean a lot of workplace adjustment.

As we navigate changes in the workplace, it can be a good opportunity to explore what is important to us. Often the changes that are most difficult are related to a deeper discomfort beyond just a fear of the unknown. Check in with yourself about the deeper areas of distress connected to the changes at hand.  

Ask yourself:

  • What are my feelings about this change?
  • What is the most difficult part of this change for me personally?
  • How will the change impact my life, my work and my functioning?
  • Am I doubting my abilities? If so, what fears about my abilities do I carry right now?
  • Do these changes represent something that clashes with my value system?
  • What are some positive things that could come from this change?

Consider your options:

  • Are these changes a deal-breaker for me? Can I learn to tolerate the changes in time?
  • What could I do to make the change more manageable for myself?
  • What are some areas in which I could self-advocate for to improve my own circumstances?
  • What do I need?

Give yourself permission to recognize the feelings you truly have about the change. Perhaps there is a mixture of feelings such as fear, resentment, anxiety and apathy. Even if you are feeling good about the upcoming changes, you may feel stressed about it and wonder how the changes will impact you.

When changes are coming our way, it can be helpful to think back to other times we’ve adapted successfully in our lives.

Consider the multitude of changes you have tolerated over time.

Growing up, changing grades, changing schools, moving, meeting new people, changing jobs; the list could go on and on. Think back to the ways you managed your feelings about those changes.

Of course you were in a different frame of mind during varying stages of your life, but that central part of yourself was always there, rolling with the changes of life.

The difference between changes when we’re kids and changes during adulthood is now we have more ability to affect our own changes. We can set our own decisions into motion. As adults we have more autonomy, and yet, we frequently feel we are at the mercy of others decisions.

That powerless feeling breeds discomfort. Discomfort creates resistance. When we dissect those thoughts and feelings, sometimes we can recognize underlying truths about ourselves. Maybe the change that is causing us such discomfort can and should be a catalyst for growth.

What Changes Do YOU Want To Make?

When others zig, sometimes we have to zag. Our own life changes can be in response to the decisions of others or internally driven. When we’re in ‘reaction mode’ it can make us feel defensive.

We may not like the changes that other people are making that impact us, but that doesn’t mean we’re stuck. Consider some changes that you want to make.

Create your own goals to help you work toward those needed changes. Sometimes written goals can help us move toward change more effectively. Even in reaction mode, you can still create your own goals around supporting yourself as you adapt. Some simple goal setting formats are statements of intent.

My goal is to:

I will reach my goal by doing the following steps:

I’ll know I’ve reached my goal when:

When you are on the receiving end of someone else’s decisions, perhaps establishing a reward for yourself will be helpful.

I will reward my resilience by:

I give myself permission to:

It Builds Character

Experiencing changes that we don’t ask for can make us more compassionate. We learn to tolerate the discomfort that comes along with the changes that others make. In turn, when we embark on a new change that we initiate, it becomes even more obvious to consider the impact on others. Difficult experiences expose our strength and resiliency more than the easy stuff.

Adapting to change is one of the most challenging aspects of life. Go easy on yourself. Allow for your full range of feelings and be careful not to judge yourself too harshly. Pay attention to your innermost dialogue and respect your own needs.

Make yourself a priority. If changes that others are making around you feel intolerable, make your own adaptations to take care of yourself. In a work setting that may mean changing departments, or even leaving the job.

Change is perhaps the most predictable aspect of life; it happens whether we are ready for it or not. Embrace your own growth and have the courage to make your own changes.

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