The Only Constant Is Change

The Only Constant Is Change

1024 683 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

The Only Constant Is Change

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Change is something that happens to us all at various stages in our lives. In the workplace, we change jobs, move teams, take on new work, learn new technology, go through mergers and acquisitions, it’s unavoidable.

Change is something that happens to us all at various stages in our lives. In the workplace, we change jobs, move teams, take on new work, learn new technology, go through mergers and acquisitions, it’s unavoidable.

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Essentially there are six main stages to the change response curve:

1. Shock and Denial
When you first hear about the change you experience shock, denial, confusion, fear, numbness and blame. You will hear people say things like “I can’t believe this is happening”. They may appear cold, unemotional and not react when they first hear the news.

2. Anger/Resistance
This often follows on after the initial shock, either after a few days or quite quickly. There is a feeling of frustration, anxiety, irritation, embarrassment and shame. Wanting to take it out on someone else or blame someone for the situation you’re in – “They can’t do this to me.” Some people can get stuck in this stage for long periods of time.

3. Dialogue/Bargaining
As you come to terms with the new situation in which you now find yourself, you’re able to talk about what’s happening in a more rational and calm way. This is often the healing part of the process happens when you can discuss the impact and how you’re feeling. At this stage it helps to seek professional advice and support. People who have been through change and emotional upheaval find it helps to share their experience.

4. Depression
The bottom of the curve is when you feel a sense of overwhelm and helplessness. You may have no energy or motivation to do anything. You’re unable to function and many people will withdraw into themselves – both physically and mentally and may also switch off emotionally.

5. Acceptance
When you’re ready to move on you are more likely to accept what has happened. You’re able start to exploring new options and put plans in place for the future. It becomes easier to think more positively and this in itself has a beneficial effect in helping you move forward.

6. Return to normality
While complete ‘normality’ may not be possible, in some cases of loss or serious illness, once you have accepted the situation or found a solution it’s possible to move on. A new normal is achieved. You move forward to a more secure, meaningful and possibly better existence.

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It’s possible to move forward and back through the various stages of the change curve as you adapt and deal with the impact of the change before being able to move forward permanently. You may pass through certain stages more quickly than others or get stuck on a particular stage (particularly stages 2-4).

People can get stuck at a particular stage because they don’t know how to move on. This can hold them back for months and even years – especially for changes such as a personal loss through death or divorce.

You can decide to be positive and take action when dealing with change. You’ll be able to cope better, take control and be less stressed. Reacting negatively is more likely to result in actively avoiding what’s happening, feeling out of control and more stressed.

Emotions are a natural part of the change process. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support either from your partner, friends, colleagues or a professional, if you’re having trouble dealing with a significant change in your life.

Just because other people are not reacting in the same way or feeling the same things, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. What’s significant or stressful for you may not be significant to others.

The quicker and more positively you can cope with change and learn to deal with your emotions, the quicker you will be able to move on.

 

Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach
AUTHOR

Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

Clare specialises in Time Management and Leadership Development applying both business and personal coaching techniques to support, challenge and motivate you to maximise your potential and use your strengths to help you achieve success in your business or career. Her clients include Executives, Business Directors, CEOs and Partners in the Legal and Financial professions.

All articles by: Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

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