Module Four – Accepting Change
Welcome to Module Four of the coaching program on
Thriving in Change
If you haven’t done the previous modules, you can find them here: Module One, Module Two, and Module Three.
In this program you have:
- explored how you react to change
- learned the process of change and how external changes require an internal transition
- discovered the importance of viewing change from different perspectives
- looked at what change you are experiencing.
And there’s still more! It’s the final phase of change – acceptance.
As you have explored in this program, you must give up something old in order to gain something new. So how can you be more accepting of change and the good it will bring? Is there a way to make accepting change easier?
Let’s look at that now.
- Activity Worksheet Four
Download and print out worksheet 4 – “Accepting Change”
Read the short presentation on accepting change below.
During the presentation, you will stop several times and write down your reactions, thoughts, ideas, or questions around this concept.
Change happens, but is often difficult to accept. Since most people feel more comfortable with familiar people, places, ideas and situations than they do with unfamiliar ones, change feels quite foreign, even when we are willing to accept it.
But just as you’ve explored the fact that change itself is a process, so is the gradual movement toward accepting it.
The following four concepts can help guide you through the process, making change easier to accept.
- Anticipate change.
Since change is a natural part of life, expect that things will change, and that they will change quite often.Anticipating change will help prepare you for it and will help you feel less like you were blindsided by it when it happens.
- View change as growth.
Since growth can't occur without change, look at change as a positive rather than a negative thing that is happening.See change as a means of growing personally, and as a way of improving some important aspect of your life.
- You don’t have to accept change all at once.
Just like transitioning through the phases of change doesn’t happen all at once, remember that accepting change has its own timetable, too. Give yourself the time you need to thoroughly deal with accepting change in appropriate and healthy doses that work for you.Move at your own pace from denial, through resistance, to final acceptance in a time frame that works for you. There is no need to rush it.
- Be flexible with change.
Embrace the opportunity to break new ground. Welcome the chance to demonstrate your ability to face a challenge creatively. Channelling your energy in a positive direction gives you a greater sense of empowerment in handling the situation, and greater control over the final outcome of the change.You'll emerge from the experience stronger, wiser and more confident than you were before.
Take a moment now to write down any reactions, thoughts, ideas, or questions that are coming up for you around this content. Then return to this module.
In addition to the concepts you just reviewed, here are two more considerations to keep in mind around change and its acceptance.
- Accepting change is an emotional experience
Think about a recent change you had in your personal life at work. How did this change make you feel?
- Worried, depressed, sad, angry, stressed out?
- Excited, happy, motivated, energized, and optimistic?
- Maybe what you felt was both positive and negative?
But almost certainly you felt something, and the fact that you can even remember the change now is because there was an emotional response attached to it.
The initial emotional response to accepting change is often negative. We seem to automatically scan change and hone in on anything that is not to our benefit. We then complain about it. This negative focus often blocks our awareness of the positive aspects to change and ultimately to accepting it.
The bottom line is that we should always expect to respond negatively to change, which means accepting it can only happen once our emotional response, in whatever form it takes, has had its expression.
If you want to accept change, you need to invest time in planning around it. All too often, people just throw a change at us and expect us to just say, “Sure, I’m okay with it.” In order to accept change, we have to feel that others involved in the change have empathized with what we are feeling.
People need to feel that others care about their concerns and are listening to them. Listening is just as important as explaining the reasons for a change. People that are imposing changes often forget this.
We are also more likely to accept change if others:
- Allow us to have some input in how the change will be implemented.
- Give us options – the more choices we feel we have with the change, the more in control we feel.
- Provide us with the skills, knowledge, and abilities to succeed. The faster we are helped through the learning curve, the quicker we will accept change.
So the more time that is taken to develop a change plan that takes into consideration people’s emotional response to change, the easier accepting change becomes.