Change is inevitable. No matter what you do, you will, at some point (and probably at many points) experience change. Whether it’s good or bad, you will have to deal with it and, even when change is a good thing, you might find it difficult to accept it.
Personally, I struggle with change. Even good change can be tricky for me to deal with. For example, about six months ago I left my job to focus on my site, PositivelyPresent.com, full time. I initiated this change—and was thrilled about it—but it was still a struggle to get used to the idea that I would be in control of my own business.
I would be making my own hours, writing on my own schedule. It was a great change—but I found it hard to adapt at times. I was used to the routine of my corporate job and suddenly I was alone in my apartment all day, expected to take care of all aspects of my newborn company, and it was overwhelming.
Even though I love my routines—and tend to shy away from change—changing my own career path has taught me to think differently about change. It’s shown me that change—even change I’ve initiated—can be unpredictable. It’s shown me that I can’t always control change—but I can control the way I think about it.
Below are five ways I’ve learned to change my mind about change—ideas that you too can use to alter the way you think about changes in your life.
- Accept what is. I’m what some would call a “Type A” personality—and I like to be in control of my life and all it’s little details. When change sneaks up on me, I often think to myself, “Hey! What are you doing here? I was all settled and now you’re just going to try to make things different?” But, unfortunately, that mindset doesn’t make change go away. If there’s nothing you can do about change (and often there isn’t), accepting change is the best way to make the most of it.
- Anticipate and plan. If you can, try to anticipate and plan for change. This isn’t always possible, but if you can do it, you will be more ready for change when it arrives. Sometimes this is easier (like when you’re about to have a baby) and sometimes it’s not so easy (like when you get fired unexpectedly). Try to be in tune with the world around you and you may be able to anticipate change better.
- Stay flexible. This is a hard one for me. I’m one of those set-in-my-ways types so it’s hard for me to be flexible. Flexibility is a great attribute to have in general though. If you aren’t so rigid, you can be happier in new situations and find ways to be positive when change sneaks up on you. Even if you’re not generally a flexibly person, open your mind to becoming more malleable.
- Remain composed. When it comes to coping with change, the worst thing you can do is panic. Going into panic mode will not help the situation. I emphasize this because it’s so important. If you start to panic, you won’t be thinking clearly. If you’re not thinking clearly, your emotions will get the best of you and you won’t have the ability to logically deal with the change and assess how to make it work for you. Remember this: stay calm.
- Manage your mind. You can control how you think and you can control your attitude. Try to see the positive in your changed situation, and keep an open mind. Even if you start to resist the change, think about how it might be a good thing. Your boyfriend dumped you? Maybe that means there’s someone better out there for you. You lost your job? Maybe a great opportunity is just around the corner. Stay positive!