Resisting Change? How Adaptable Are You? by Liz Watt

I moved house earlier this year. Big deal you might think – and yes for me it really was! We’d lived in our house for 25 years; both my girls were only small when we went there and so it had been our only real family home. Consequently, there was a huge emotional attachment to disentangle, as well as the physical move we were about to undertake. Added to that, having lived in and around London for most of my adult life, we were moving out of London to live by the sea, which was both exciting but at the same time, deeply scary.

So in the run up to the move, I found myself saying ‘this is the last time I’ll do this…… commute / cook a meal in this kitchen / go to my regular exercise class with my friends’ – the list is endless… and as a result I was making myself feel pretty mournful and nostalgic.

At this point I realized I had to have a serious word with myself! It was important to stop this rather negative way of thinking and instead, reflect on why we were making this move, what we are looking forward to and remember all the positive benefits of moving out of London to the sea. So, I started to reframe my thinking: ‘this is the first time I will…… do my new commute / cook a meal in my new kitchen / have my girls to stay / walk on the beach….’

This experience has made me really think about how I personally respond to change, what is important to me to remain stable in my life and what I am comfortable in letting go of. It made me question how resilient I am. I have to admit I’ve found it challenging and this has been a learning experience.

More importantly though, it has enriched the way I respond to my Coaching clients who are going through a period of change – in whatever guise. Responding to and dealing with change is one of the most frequent issues that clients bring to the table, whether it is at pivotal moments of ones career, for example promotion, taking on new responsibilities or as a result of major life changes – for example, return to work post maternity or parental leave, or in the run up to retirement.

Whether change is happening in your professional or personal life, your response to it is likely to be determined by how much control you feel you can exercise over a situation. We are far more likely to be resistant to change if we feel we have no influence over it. Change is an integral part of life, but the fear of the unknown is likely to cause us to push back and put up barriers. Even when the change is something new and exciting, the lure of the familiar – what we know and are comfortable with – can make us anxious.

Being able to exercise some choice and control over situations can help. But the fact is that change happens, and we have to learn ways to deal with it. Being adaptable and resilient certainly helps. Good communication too – for example if your business is going through a reorganization and redundancies are on the horizon, your ability to weather the storm will help if you know what the score is. Being self-aware enough to recognize your own internal barriers and unpick where they are coming from can help in seeing the bigger picture, as can being empathetic to the effects of change on ourselves and those around us.

So, six months on – have I adapted to my big life change? Well yes – what seemed scary and very unfamiliar at the time is now a great source of joy. In this case, change really has been a good thing!

If you are experiencing change in your professional life and would like some help in navigating the way forward, please contact me to see how Coaching might help : bltcoaching1@gmail.com

Embracing Change


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