We now live in a time with unprecedented change. Even before the Coronavirus shut down the entire world economy, our world has constantly been bombarded by a series of events that tend to change our ways of life. Today we are persistently inundated with the need to change the way we dress, spend money (online vs. in-store), building codes have changed, we now deliver medical care through telemedicine. We are constantly changing the way we plan, think, and live our lives.
Online banking has made it a lot easier to complete all our financial transactions with clicks of buttons on our phones.
We can literarily know about events happening anywhere in the world within minutes.
With streaming services and various on-demand entertainment packages, you can now enjoy uninterrupted movies on your phone.
You can complete your grocery shopping without needing to step out of your home and drive to a grocery store.
You can even get hired for a new job and start working without physically meeting any member of your team,
More companies are now embracing the remote work option to give some flexibility to their employees.
With all this drive for change, you may feel intimidated by the need to constantly change, but to get ahead, you need to learn how to exploit and manage those changes to your benefit. This way, you will not get disrupted by the need for changes.
In this piece, I will share five strategies to adopt so that you can effectively embrace changes with a positive mindset.
- Know that change is a necessity: It is part of human nature to seek continuous improvement. We want to improve our ways of life to make things a little better and more comfortable for us. As such, we explore how to make the cars we drive more efficient. We want our home appliances to be more energy efficient. We seek ways to deliver better health care through telemedicine. We adopt new ways of making financial transactions. We enjoy watching our movies without the interruption of unwanted ads. We automate our factories so that production can go quicker and also eliminate human errors. We love the end results of what we want, but a change must occur to get those results. Without changing the ways we’ve been doing things, we cannot have a new way or the improvement we clamor for. Therefore, since we all want a better and improved standard of living, we must also know that a change must take place in order to get what we want. Change is a necessity, not really an option.
2.Focus on what you can control: When a change happens, rather than fighting it, you must ask yourself – what can I control considering this new development? Fighting change is simply unproductive. A good case in point here will be the trend in Electric Vehicles (EV’s). We all know the traditional carmakers – GM, Ford, Toyota, and so on. These companies are well managed and have been in existence for many years. For example, Ford Motors was founded in 1903, which was over 100 years ago. They mostly make fossil fuel vehicles. A change came along; more people became more conscious about the environment, the government began to regulate hydrocarbon emissions. These companies were a little slow to adapt to change, then a newer company – Tesla, came along. Tesla produced only battery-operated, environmentally-friendly vehicles.
People began to embrace EVs, they fell in love with Tesla, and today the company at over $1T in market capitalization is worth more than General Motors, Ford, Toyota combined. Although these traditional companies failed to lead the way, they are racing to catch up by building their own EVs.
So when change happens – whether it’s in your career or personal life, rather than fighting the change, you should find what lies within your sphere of control and control them. For those things that are outside your control, you should look for ways to exploit them and find ways to make them work in your favor.
3.Be open to alternatives: Change is not always a problem, but the real issue comes when people want to continue in their old ways without considering the new ways of doing things. People who get stuck with the old ways will soon be left behind. That is why you won’t find any serious companies starting a new business as a newspaper company, coal-fired plants.
Disruptions caused by change improve the ways we do things will continue as long as humans seek ways to make things better. For example, Airbnb is an alternative to traditional hotel chains. Self-publishing provides an alternative to traditional publishing companies. Amazon and eCommerce websites are quickly replacing brick-and-mortar stores. Netflix provides an alternative to cable television. EVs are replacing fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Online education platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and edx allow students to learn new skills, thereby replacing traditional educational institutions.
The deal is to explore those alternatives; it may require you to learn some new skills before you can become comfortable with the new option. You should not let the need to learn to intimidate or discourage you from being open to exploring the alternatives.
4.Be vulnerable and seek support: Making a change when we are not ready can be painful, especially when it comes to a career change. It is disheartening to watch jobs being shipped overseas because of lower costs. It is heartbreaking to listen to your employer tell you that they have to re-organize because competition is taking away your customers. You cannot stop all these events; however, you can ask for help. Most people often choose to fight changes and become resentful of the change and the people implementing the changes.
There is a better approach; instead of being resistant to change, you should ask for help on how to deal with the coming changes. You can find ways to collaborate so you can benefit from the changes. You can find ways to pick up new skills to make you participate in the latest trend on the block. And it’s okay to reach out to people that are more experienced than yourself and ask for help. Talk to mentors, your boss, your friends, and anyone thriving with the new change, and let them guide you to find ways to fit into the change. Don’t act as if you have it all together, don’t have hatred for the system because of the change; choose to embrace the change.
5. Take action: The change is here, the old way is in the past, the future is waiting for you. You know that things have changed; you now need to take action by carefully thinking about what has changed and strategically coming up with what you need to do about the change. Don’t allow yourself to be in a holding pattern in which you are constantly thinking about the past and lamenting about the consequences of the unwanted changes.
– The management just introduced a new tool in your business, don’t resist the change, learn about the new tool and use it.
– Your job is closing down due to competition, learn new skills, and get a new job.
– The government just announced a new rule; learn about the rule, and find ways to make it work in your favor. If it doesn’t work for you, vote for new leaders who will enact policies that favor you.
Your service provider has implemented a new way of paying your bill; embrace the new way; change your provider if you don’t like it.
Denying change will not stop its progress.
Avoiding change will soon make you obsolete.
Fighting change will only make you miserable.
Embracing change is the surefire way to stay ahead of the curve and come out on top.
Change is a constant thing that we cannot avoid; you should anticipate it, plan it, lead it, embrace it, but don’t fight it.