How to Deal With Change You Didn’t Choose, Don’t Want, or Don’t Like

Some changes in your life and work will be ones you choose, want, and welcome with open arms.

Others will be ones that you didn’t choose, don’t like and don’t want.  When that happens, it can feel extremely difficult to navigate, both logistically and emotionally.

The important thing to remember is this:

Whilst you might not have chosen, like or want the change that has happened, you can influence what happens next by the way you respond and approach the situation. 

Having a way to effectively deal with the logistical challenges and emotions that arise will help you navigate the period of change you are faced with.

To help you get started with that, here are 4 steps to help you effectively manage a change you didn’t choose, don’t want, and don’t like.  

1. Manage your Mindset and Emotions.

Managing your mindset and emotions is as important as managing the logistical side of change. Here’s why:

Your thoughts trigger emotions and feelings. Your emotions drive your behaviour and actions. And your behaviour and actions drive your outcomes. Therefore, your mindset and emotions will have a big impact on the next steps you take during the change you are navigating. Whether you like it or not, your mindset and emotions are driving you.

Assess your current mindset patterns and habits and how they are impacting your behaviour, actions and outcomes. Identify new ones that might serve you better and start proactively developing them.

2. Focus on what is within your sphere of influence and control

Dwelling on things that are not within your sphere of influence and control serves no useful purpose. Instead, focus on what is within your sphere of influence and control in your situation. Not only will this help you navigate the situation more effectively and guide you forward, it will also make you feel more in control of the change you are navigating.  

3. Create a vision of an outcome you would like to create. Focus your time, energy, and attention on working towards that.

You might not have chosen the change you are navigating, but you can drive what happens next as a result of it. When you create a new vision of what you want to have happen next, based on what is within your sphere of influence and control, you are putting yourself in a position to drive an outcome you have the power to make happen.

Use that vision to create an action plan that integrates the logistical AND emotional elements that will move you forward. Focus your attention, time, and energy on turning your vision into reality.

Important: people often think that having a vision is something long term, usually years. But in a situation where a change that has happened is sudden or a crisis or emergency situation, your vision might be as short as a month, a week, or even a day just to get you through the immediate crisis and emotions it triggers.    

4. Prioritise and protect your mental and physical energy.

Navigating periods of change can be mentally and emotionally draining. This can have a negative impact on your ability to navigate the situation effectively.

To combat this, identify the things that drain your mental and physical energy and take steps to eliminate or reduce them. Identify things that improve your mental and physical energy. Do more of those things. Prioritise self-care. It is essential during times of change.

The bottom line:

When you are navigating a change in life or work that you don’t like, didn’t choose or don’t want, keep this in mind:

Whilst the situation might not be in your control, how you respond and your next steps most certainly are.  You can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can always choose how you respond.

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