One day, at one of my speaking engagements, a young lady walked up to me during the tea break to ask a rather interesting question. “Why does life never remain the same?” It was a rather intense and peculiar question to ask; very random and out of context if you ask me. I was unable to give a detailed response as we were both pressed for time.
As I sat down to write my submission for the column this week, her question popped up in my head. So, here is a detailed response to this deep question. Notice that I used the word response, because the fact of the matter remains that, there is no correct answer to such a question – just a series of possible answers that will help us to make sense of why life changes so often.
Change is an inevitable part of life! We encounter complex challenges and problems – sometimes in large quantities at a time and sometimes in sporadic small quantities. What truly matters is not why life changes so much. Really it is our response when the unexpected occurs that matters.
What is within us that needs more shaping, or that has been fully developed to help us navigate the turbulent waves of life? If we can fully embrace life – the good, the bad and the ugly that it has to offer, we can transform our lives in unexpected ways. We experience life changes in personal and professional dimensions. In this article, I will speak on both themes. I believe in being present and sometimes a life change in our personal life can impact our behaviour in our professional environment. Besides, we remain the same person despite showing up in two different environments.
Most people are scared of change. A single event that takes an unexpected turn can throw a person off their game so easily. As humans, we like to be comfortable. It is expressed in our love for routines. Why rattle the cage and do something unexpected? The thought of change brings up fear in people because change takes them out of their comfort zones. Although a life without change sounds peaceful and comfortable, a life that embraces change and continuous learning finds more meaning. So why do people resist change? Inc contributor, Daniela Whyte discusses five reasons why people resist change.
- People fear being different – especially when there is no precedent.
We are creatures of habit. For the most part, we love routine and procedure. If it hasn’t been done before, there will be some in your organisation who likely cannot see the end from the beginning.
- People feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Fatigue can be a killjoy for change. If an organisation has been through a lot of upheaval, people may resist change simply because they are tired. And when people are tired, they tend to be cranky, angry, and irritable.
- People fear a departure from the status quo.
By definition, implementing change is a departure from “the way it has always been done.” Those who were a part of the old way or who have another idea are likely to be defensive of both. Transformation, especially when it is from the top – down, can make people feel uncomfortable. Some people may feel betrayed. Others may simply dread the new day that changes may bring.
- People lack trust in the one making changes.
When people respect their leaders, it is often because the leader has built trust over a period of time. When a new leader steps in to replace an old leader, it is important that the new leader embraces the responsibility of building trust with the people they lead. If trust is not built, then mistrust is the default response and mistrust often becomes evident in a resistance to change.
- People know change brings a new set of possibilities and problems.
Many people prefer for things to stay the way they are rather than for it to head off into a direction that is largely uncharted or unknown. By instinct, we know that a new way presents both possibilities and problems. But most would rather reject the possibilities if it also means avoiding the problems. There is a common saying: “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
For a person to be successful in their love, life and labour, there is no avoiding risk because it allows you to be innovative and therefore a pioneer at whatever you do. Embrace change and take the risk. Taking the risk means that you see the limitation, but rather than deny it, you think about shaping it in order to get ahead.
It means having the clarity of your vision so well defined that you can think bigger and plan to take steps that are ‘outside the box’ for growth in leaps and bounds. This is what is known as innovation, which is often viewed as risk. You can bridge the gap between caution and risk, crack the walls and let your light shine through.
In the Huffpost, Elisa Grandizio writes about how change could be beneficial. She recommends that the people experiencing a time or a period of change must possess sufficient energy to absorb and incorporate new behaviours and accompanying mindsets. The capacity necessary to absorb the disruption is known as resilience. Resilience is the ability of an individual or a system to deal with change and continue to develop. When stressed, resilient people and organisations often bounce back stronger instead of being hindered by their own inability to change. Resiliency is characterised by:
- Focus – the ability to concentrate and put forth positive effort.
- Flexibility – the ability to be open to new approaches and ways of dealing with the situation at hand.
- Proactive Approach – the ability to foster a climate that offers opportunities to learn and improve.
If change is an inevitable occurrence in our lives, we might as well brace ourselves with preparedness to make the most out of it. Here are 4 keys to embrace change strategically:
- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
A senior Forbes contributor, Bernhard Schroeder, makes a profound recommendation to take care of ourselves. “Sometimes change can come as a shock or something that just disturbs our routine. It is okay for you to be a little selfish and take care of yourself in these moments. That could mean taking a day off and doing little things that make you happy. Maybe it is indulging in a favourite meal or taking a drive to a relaxing place. You own your happiness so take the time to adjust to the change that is happening by taking care of yourself.”
- TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE AND SHOW UP WITH ENERGY.
When taking up challenging tasks, you are faced with both physical and emotional risks but remember that there is no way to avoid those hazards. Do not be afraid to venture into the unknown. One of the key steps to take on the journey of high performance is to position yourself in challenging situations.
Show up with enough energy to cause not only a stirring but also a movement. There is no way to avoid the glitches and problems that come with starting a movement so do it anyway and with all the energy you can muster. Consequently, be flexible enough while also being ready to continually innovate and explore new ideas. You can and should intentionally get comfortable with being uncomfortable and mentally push beyond your regular thinking spaces.
- TAP INTO YOUR COMMUNITY
For any journey you are on, it is essential to have access to people who have achieved whatever goal you want to achieve to mentor you and guide you. When you have such people, they are likely to push you and encourage you not to give up in the face of adversity. Surround yourself with people who strive for progress and who press to be a better version of themselves in everything they do. This way, you will be reminded daily of purpose and stay awake to do what needs to be done.
- DO NOT JUST SIT THERE, EVOLVE.
C.S. Lewis once described humans and our behaviours like an egg. “You cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg,” he said. “You must be hatched, or go bad.” So how do you evolve? You evolve by doing it quietly, doggedly, and simply. Little things become big things. Improving 1% in one area every day will become a 3700% increase in just one year! This is how you become a better version of yourself every day – by continually developing your life. Achieving the life of your dreams and experiencing continuous personal evolution means commitment to the long game. You become the person you want to be not by enormous lifestyle changes, but by slow, manageable tweaks over time.
We must always remember that just as we progress with change from a foetus all the way up to an old person, other things in our lives will keep changing as well. The best option is to embrace change positively for a better life.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Soft Skills Expert, Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Soft Skills Expert and Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
Dzigbordi has been featured on CNN for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017.
She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.