It’s clear that a strong ability to adapt to unexpected change is a must for every individual and organization. We’ve found four powerful practices that can help people as well as companies become more change-adaptive. I wrote about the first two practices—Mindfulness and Curiosity—in my last blog post. Today, I’ll cover the third and fourth: Courage and Resilience.
The Third Powerful Practice: Courage
When faced with monumental change, responding with courage doesn’t mean you will instantly feel confident and in control of what’s happening. You probably won’t say, “I’m just going to power through this change even though I don’t have a clue about what’s going on.” No, this kind of courage is about having the strength to speak up for yourself in the face of uncertainty.
It requires courage to speak up and share your ideas and concerns about a proposed change. It also takes courage to be open to others’ perspectives and rationale for change. People who are courageous stand up for themselves and take action that helps them feel more optimistic, more included, and less victimized by change.
Consider speaking up:
- If you believe you know things the change leaders don’t know
- If you are aware of obstacles that could derail the change
- If you think your ideas might make the change better
- If you have experience or expertise to share
Don’t forget that you also demonstrate courage when you ask for what you need. Everyone needs some support during a change—and asking for support, reassurance, or mentoring takes courage. Take a moment to pause and reflect: “What do I need to be able to adapt to this change?” “Who should I ask to help me?” and “How should I go about asking for support?”
Thinking of yourself as courageous can give you options and energy to act, not just react. It can help you feel as if the change is happening with you, not to you. And that’s a great position of strength.
The Fourth Powerful Practice: Resilience
If 2020 didn’t teach us resilience, nothing will! People who are resilient in the face of change are able to handle some discomfort and to demonstrate resolve in seeing things through. Change-adaptive people who are resilient are confident in their ability to adapt to change. They are able to bounce back and stay the course. They believe when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
People with resilience know their strengths and they lean on those things. When you’re experiencing a change, remind yourself of the ways you are really strong. What do you bring to the table? Now look at the people around you. What do you know about their strengths that you can remind them of?
Resilient people typically focus their energy on what they can control and let go of what they can’t control. For example, I don’t watch the news very often. I keep up enough to stay informed, but most of it focuses on things I don’t have any control over. I am more resilient when I can stay focused on things I can control.
Finally, don’t forget the famous phrase: This too shall pass. Time goes by and softens the hard times we go through. Before we know it, months or years have passed and when we look back, that problem is over, we figured out a way to solve it, or maybe we just got through it together.
So choose to be a change-adaptive person who practices mindfulness, demonstrates curiosity, speaks up with courage, and follows through with resilience.
- Mindfulness: Acknowledge and regulate your emotions.
- Curiosity: Seek information and look for opportunities to help you move toward the change.
- Courage: Share your concerns, contribute your ideas, and ask for the support you need.
- Resilience: Acknowledge your strengths and focus your energy on things you can control.
Change is a fact of life. The more change-adaptive we are in these four areas, the better we will be able to deal with each change that comes our way.