Change is constant and inevitable. When it is expected, we are more equipped to deal with it and work towards making the transition easy. On the other hand, when it’s not, all hell can break loose and we might find it difficult to cope with it.
There’s no question that in times of change, our perception plays an important role and hugely influences our response. How do we label this shift — an obstacle or an opportunity? Does it help us and inspire us to expand our horizons or it pushes us in the dark abyss of uncertainty?
No matter how we feel, we must train ourselves to live with any change, invited or uninvited, that comes our way.
First and foremost, we must accept that the change that we are all going through is the new normal. We can’t live in denial. Instead of running away from change, the most beneficial course of action is to acknowledge its presence and all its effects on our way of life. In a new and compelling TED Talk, “Coronavirus is our future,” global health expert Alanna Shaikh shares insights on the ongoing pandemic in a simple and straightforward manner. She makes clear that this collective, human experience that we are all going through is the new normal. She explains that while we as a species cannot run away from the negative consequences and the multi-faceted impact of this catastrophe, we can accept our vulnerability to it and appreciate its influence on our global ecosystem. Essentially, whenever we encounter any kind of change, acceptance, not denial, is the first logical step in confronting it. Because only then, we empower ourselves to come up with a potent plan and initiate the way forward.
Once we acknowledge the change, both in the external and our inner world, our next step is to prepare for it in the best way possible. Taking action in accordance with the change will ensure that things go more smoothly for us. And the sooner we act, the better. Preparation will help us visualize ourselves in the new world. It will entail asking ourselves some key questions: Where we are right now and where we intend to be? What new strategy do we need to adopt? What resources will we need? What things we must let go of, what sacrifices will we need to make and what losses we will have to deal with? How much time will be required? How we will achieve our desired outcome?
Getting clear on our strategy and the moves we will make will help us overcome any setbacks and roadblocks that come on our way. With better preparation, we will be self-assured and execute without any hesitation, and thus position ourselves for success.
Lastly, as we navigate the “new normal,” there will be days when we feel overwhelmed, lost and frustrated. But during those dark times, we have to give ourselves the grace to move forward even if when we are not feeling or performing at our best.
If you find asking others or yourself if everything is going to be okay, Seth Godin recently wrote a wonderful response to that question in his blog:
If we mean, ‘Is everything going to be the way it was and the way I expected it to be?’ then the answer is no. The answer to that question is always no, it always has been.
If we mean, ‘Is everything going to be the way it is going to be?’ then the answer is yes. Of course. If we define whatever happens as okay, then everything will be.
Given that everything is going to be the way it’s going to be, we’re left with an actually useful and productive question instead: ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
Change is a process, and it’s okay to feel down and have bad days. But we must get ourselves back in the ring and fight a good fight. We must keep moving forward and tap into the opportunities that lie in front of us, no matter what.