Today is Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday! He created change – really positive change – for our entire country. As we think about change this week that may not always be easy, I am reminded that we need people to create change or we will never get better as individuals, communities, organizations or a society. In last week’s post, I told you about the big change in our family as we transitioned to a new caregiver. The first two lessons learned included facing change and garnering support. This week, I’m going to continue the story and encourage you with four other things you can do to manage change well – whether you created it or whether you are experiencing it as a result of others.
- Plan as much as you can. For changes that you know are coming, once you face the change and garner support, you can make specific plans for the change. This may involve adjusting schedules, creating contracts, checklists, training plans, business plans, budget scenarios and more. I encourage you schedule time to plan for the change. Making initial plans with the “knowns” can help ease the transition that may be filled with many “unknowns.”
- Allow extra time and patience. During the first week with our new caregiver, I knew that I should be very cautious about scheduling meetings or trying to do something productive first thing in the morning. I allowed time for my daughter and her new caregiver to get a little more comfortable before I left them. Honestly, the first day was difficult. I waited a little too long to leave, and when I did leave, it was naptime. My daughter didn’t want me to go and the new caregiver felt overwhelmed by the screaming little girl. We all cried but kept trying. I recognized that it was probably going to take some time and that we needed to be patient with ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I’m not always good at patience, particularly with myself. I encourage you to practice patience with yourself during these change times. Even though you will probably stumble a bit as you go, you are developing incredible strength, character and perseverance in the process.
- Modify and adjust your plans as needed. As you begin the change and transition, there are things that will be unexpected. Some of these may be easier and others may be more difficult than you expected. In our new childcare situation, the transition was actually going much better than I expected. I set very low expectations for the work I would be able to accomplish that first week, but was pleasantly surprised by how much time I was able to have to work because they were doing so well together. I know this may not always be the case. Maybe you recently started a job that is nothing like what you expected or that was in the job description (if you even had one!); perhaps your new boss initially seemed great but doesn’t really understand you or your work at all; maybe you were promised “flat funding” only to discover that you were cut by 10%; or maybe you thought a big new project was going to take a couple of weeks to finish but once you got into the details, you realized it was going to take much longer. Regardless of the unexpected situation, I encourage you to go back to #2…allow yourself some extra time and patience, modify your plans and adjust as needed.
- Celebrate your new skills and personal growth. You did it! It may have been tricky, challenging or surprisingly wonderful. You have gained new skills. You have developed a stronger character and you have experienced personal growth. Way to go! Remember to pause, reflect and celebrate your latest change adventure. And perhaps your latest change, which seemed so daunting at first, can help you prepare and face your next change.
So what about you? Which of these things have helped the most in your latest change adventure? Was it planning ahead of time? Allowing extra time or patience? Modifying and adjusting your plans or celebrating your new skills and growth?
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