I found myself pondering the impact of change yesterday, while heading home from the last graduation party of the season. I reflected on conversations with graduates, parents, friends and colleagues, about big and small changes, and how they felt as they navigated them. Sometimes strong feelings are fleeting; sometimes they last a lifetime. I thought about how change has the power to elicit levels of excitement, enthusiasm, and pride, matched by feelings of sadness, trepidation, and anxiety. Curious, isn’t it? Even great accomplishments bring on a full gamut of emotions.
Graduation is just one event that assures significant evolution in our lives. What is interesting and universal about change is even when it is delightful, it naturally causes us to question our ability, stability, and sometimes even our sanity – as well as the ability, stability and sanity of others! Yesterday I shared this true story, with a great gal who just landed her first career job and was feeling anxious:
A dear friend and colleague of mine was promoted to an Executive Vice President position at the Fortune 100 company we both worked for. This man was widely admired for his wisdom, leadership, and humility. If anyone was equipped for this position, it was him. One day, shortly after his promotion, we were riding in the elevator together. He seemed a little anxious, and finally he said “Karen, I just hope they don’t figure out I have no idea what I’m doing!”
First my jaw dropped in shock, then I started laughing! I told him he was the wisest leader I had ever worked with; he most certainly knew what he was doing; and, it was so reassuring to hear that he has the same emotions and crazy thoughts as the rest of us!
As I wound down my pondering about the way change affects us all, I landed on three things we can do to help us successfully navigate change, big or small:
- Recognize and accept how we are feeling about the change in this moment
- Consider what our role is and what we really want, relative to this change
- Identify, commit to, and begin to take steps that move us toward what we really want
On any given day, and to varying degrees, we will be in the midst of change. Change of all kinds can be equally joyful and anxiety ridden. Please take comfort in knowing you aren’t crazy for feeling what you feel, you are human. And, the more in-touch you become with your feelings during change, the better you can equip yourself to sail through this one, and on to the next one, with success!
Call or email us today, for more information about successfully navigating change.