"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings."
Seasons of change are understandably challenging, especially when the change is unexpected. It's one thing to know that change is coming, and you have time to prepare yourself and your team. It's totally different when you're caught by surprise.
Author and speaker Karima Mariama-Arthur says that your perception of change influences your response to it. How you view change can lead to a positive or negative outcome. In this issue. we share Mariama-Arthur's guidance on what to do when change happens and you must pivot with it.
1. Acknowledge that the change is the new normal. Denying the existence of change doesn't do any good. The most rewarding course of action is to acknowledge its presence and effect on our way of life, says Mariama-Arthur. In the new TED Talk called Coronavirus Is Our Future, global health expert Alanna Shaikh shares insights on the global pandemic in a straightforward and approachable way. She makes clear that our collective, human experience is the new normal. She urges that while we cannot escape the multi-faceted impact of this crisis, we can admit our vulnerability to it and acknowledge its influence on our global ecosystem.
2. Explore your feelings about the change. Mariama-Arthur says it's important to sit with your thoughts as you navigate change. Becoming intimately acquainted with what you feel will help you see things clearly and make better decisions about what matters the most. Because the enormity of the change itself can be so distracting, seldom do we take the time to self-reflect and explore our emotional well-being, which includes self-awareness and self-management.
3. Prepare for it. Taking appropriate action in the direction of change will help make certain that things go more smoothly for you. And the earlier, the better, notes Mariama-Arthur. Preparation requires asking yourself key questions about where you are now and where you intend to be, as you reimagine yourself in the "new normal." What resources will you need? What sacrifices will you need to make? How much time will be required? Get clear on the strategy and tactics that will help you overcome any roadblocks to your success.
4. Rely on your support system or create one. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, remember that you don't have to go it alone, reminds Mariama-Arthur. Managing change can be burdensome, but even more so when you try to do everything by yourself. Instead of flexing your misanthropic muscle, reach out to your support system—those valued individuals who are ready and willing to help in a time of need. Don't have a support system? Create one. Resources are everywhere.
5. Give yourself grace as you move forward. Change is a process. At times, you may feel on top of the world—like nothing can stop you. During others, not so much. When you find yourself on the lower end of the totem pole, don't beat yourself up. Give yourself the grace to move forward even when you are not feeling or performing at your best. A bad day is not a deal breaker, but rather an opportunity to step back and begin again, says Mariama-Arthur.
Sometimes life is unpredictable, and you must confront difficult changes. Instead of denying the change, follow the steps above to get through it and come out better on the other side.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Karima Mariama-Arthur is author of the 2019 NAACP Image Award-nominated guidebook, Poised For Excellence: Fundamental Principles of Effective Leadership in the Boardroom and Beyond. Mariama-Arthur also serves in an advisory capacity on select corporate boards.