Psychology

How to Positively Deal with Change



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Change is the one certainty in life, because no matter what else takes place, change is going to happen. This may be a small change, like altering the whole decor of the house. In the grander scheme of things, that really is small potatoes. A bigger change is a whole life-changing event like a broken marriage or death of a beloved parent. In between these two extremes, there are many other events and experiences that are going to either force or involve us willingly in changes of many kinds. No matter how great or how small, how willing or reluctant we are to face change, the way people deal with it will determine their future. Change offers a simple yet often difficult choice; do we see it as positive and move forward, seizing the opportunities it offers, or do we dig our heels in to maintain our comfort zones, lamenting the loss of the old ways?

In a nutshell, some people will always fear what they do not know, preferring everything to stay the same, while others will embrace the change as a new door opening onto an adventure. How people deal with change depends on which way they perceive it. We are all very different and so will find various ways to accommodate change. Many factors influence how we will deal with change; upbringing, personality, beliefs, family, socio-economic status, education, and, of course, the magnitude of the change itself.

I was, during my career, involved in delivering change management training events, where employees had to accept a great shift in their working lives, over which they had little control. I can honestly say that informing, involving, planning and reviewing the changes are the best ways to help people deal with the major upheavals that change brings. This process can be applied to any form of change. Talking about it, sharing all the information equally is the first step. Next, involve everybody concerned in the decision-making process, taking their views and ideas into account. After this, making a plan clear and concrete, written down for everybody, if necessary, gives people ownership, reassurance and security about the change. Their contributions will make for an easier acceptance and transition. Finally, set up a time to review what has happened since changes were made and see if any amendments are required, as well as checking how people are dealing with change.

All these useful processes will not alter the fact that life-change of some description is going to happen, or may indeed have already taken place. But they will enable people to understand and face up to the changes and ultimately, help them deal with them positively. As my grandma used to tell me, with some truth, "A change is as good as a rest." A positive outlook will most certainly help people deal with change, this is life and life goes on.

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