Don’t Forget to Breathe!
Staying calm while dealing with change in your workplace is a lot like snorkeling for the first time. It can be unsettling and even scary. My mother always told me that if I put my head under water and tried to breathe, I would drown. Period. I never questioned her advice on this issue, as it made perfect sense to me. Years later a snorkeling instructor gave me the exact opposite advice. Put my head under water, stay calm…and breathe. (Oh, and he told me to have fun, too).
Now I was flooded with doubts. What if this is too hard? What if I can’t learn? What if my mother was right? After several attempts I began to lose my fears, relax, and enjoy the views of the fish and coral reef below. I took a risk, learned a new skill and replaced my fear with a new level of confidence. No one could do it for me. I had to do it myself.
Look around your workplace. What’s different? Maybe your job duties have changed in order to handle a new project, a reduction in staff, or new people coming on board with new ideas and new ways of doing things. If your organization is changing to survive, your job will never be the same. That means YOU will also have to change to survive – by taking a risk, learning new skills and replacing your fears with new levels of confidence. No one can do it for you. You have to do it yourself.
As I talk with people after my keynote, Business As Usual Is Over™ they confess that they really don’t like change. They see change as a problem. But as we know, CHANGE itself is not the problem. It’s been around for a long time. The problem is often our unwillingness to accept and integrate change into our jobs and our lives.
Let’s face it. Most changes, even the good ones, usually involve challenges, inconvenience and hard work. Companies, organizations, CEOs and business owners need employees who willingly CHOOSE to accept change without resisting or handholding. They can’t afford to keep employees who have to be led. They need employees who will lead the way for others.
So… when it comes to dealing with change, you have two choices.
1. You can resist, play it safe, close yourself off, be content with status quo, complain, worry, and spend your time hoping that the world finally comes to its senses, slows down, and gets back to the way things used to be.
2. You can take action, meet the world head-on, broaden your knowledge base, develop new competencies, sharpen your skills, and learn from every person you meet and every experience you have.
Deciding how to handle change is a choice that will determine your future success. Letting go of fear, being open to new ideas, and learning new skills are all smart choices. Sure, they all involve challenges, inconvenience and hard work. But you get to choose. No one can do it for you. You have to do it yourself. But you know you can! Just take it one step at a time … stay calm… and don’t forget to breathe.