Strategies to cope with Change

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending” C S Lewis

Whether we like it or not, things are changing around us all the time. Sometimes it is the most subtle of changes that we don’t really notice until we realise things are never going to be the same again. I remember when I realised my youngest son wasn’t holding my hand anymore – I thought it would come back again, and then I realised it was an important milestone in his development – and a very sad one for me as his Mum at the same time. There are small changes through to big scale changes – such as the Covid era of losing loved ones or redundancies and restructures. I notice that with self-awareness and a good dose of personal tools and strategies to help us cope with change, we can thrive and make the best of it even when the change is not one we wanted.

In this blog, we will explore some strategies to cope with change to help us to navigate through it effectively. As always, do consider what you would add. I have added some of my favourite songs that depict each tip. Have a listen! 

Pay Attention and Notice

“It was just another night with a sunset and a moonrise not so far behind”

Constellations” by Jack Jones

The first tip is to acknowledge what is going on for you. Whether changes in your life are welcomed or not, start by noticing the different aspects of your life that are shifting. Sometimes our body notices the changes before our mind has caught up – examples might include butterflies in the stomach, a clenched jaw or a furrowed brow. At this stage, pay attention to what is going on externally and internally and observe those thoughts. 

Things to consider:

  • What is changing? (List them)
  • How do I feel about these?

Emotional Rollercoaster

“Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day”

Hold on” by Wilson Philips 

Consider how you are feeling – be honest with yourself. Are you wearing the mask “I am good with change, I love it” – or do you really mean “I am good with change on some days but others I am not” – probably most of us would agree that our feelings change like the wind. Some days we want to achieve so much, and on other days we just don’t feel the mojo. The change curve tells us that we go on an emotional rollercoaster from anger, sadness, and chaos through to acceptance, setting new goals and new beginnings. It can be easy to dismiss the harder feelings of anger and try to bury or ignore them. Moving through the change curve quicker relies on us healthily expressing those feelings. At this stage, I encourage you to express your thoughts with a trusted person – a coach, a friend, or a loved one. Saying it out is so different to just hearing it in your head on your own. 

Support System

 “We don’t need to be related to relate, we don’t need to share genes or a surname, you are, you are my chosen family.”

Chosen Family” by Elton John and Rina Sawayama

Many of us try to be strong, and we sometimes think this means just soldiering on and putting up with our feelings on our own. At its worst, we think we are the only ones feeling a certain way. One of the best ways to navigate through change effectively is to surround yourself with a wide range of support. From your longest serving childhood friend to your newest colleague who you get on with well, through to professional mentors and coaches, and your line manager – when you start leaning on others now and then, it builds a much deeper relationship and becomes a reciprocal relationship. 

Things to consider:

  • Who could I spend more time with?
  • Who is a good listener? 
  • What is stopping me sharing what I really feel?

Mindset

“It might sound crazy what I’m ‘bout to say – sunshine she’s here you can take a break”

Happy” by Pharrell Williams.  

Having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset is about seeing the possibilities in things changing rather than being fixed in our views about the past. We will of course, move between fixed and growth mindsets throughout our lives hour by hour. Going back to the tip of noticing here really helps. The moment we need to notice is when our growth mindset has slipped away. You may notice it from the language you use. For me, I notice myself moaning and that’s my first signal that I need to pay attention to my mindset to move into a growth mindset once more.  I wanted to share one of our previous blogs, “Maintaining a positive mindset in times of change” which might also be useful here.

Things to consider:

  • What are my thoughts today?
  • What are the pros and cons of the changes I am going through?
  • What am I gaining and losing?
  • What’s helping and hindering me? 

Be Real

“It’s time to be real” – Got to be Real by Cheryl Lynn 

When you are leading a team, it can be easy to adopt the role of “parent” in the concept of adult/ parent/ child, where we seek to make everything okay. Or we may care for everyone else’s needs without being open with the team about our feelings towards the changes. One of the most optimum ways to lead a team through change is to work on yourself first – what the leader is feeling, the team are likely to be feeling too. Having open, honest dialogue about what you need and what they need is very healthy, including talking about the gritty stuff. There may be things you are doing as the leader that is not useful to them – do they feel they can speak up and share this with you? If they do, then you are more likely to be able to adapt to what they need. Are you sharing your strategies to cope with change and how you are navigating through it? Being real is crucial as it allows everyone in the team to trust you. 

In Summary

What has resonated for you in our blog? What are your own reflections on change? I’d love to hear what you would add. If you want to see how coaching could help you define strategies to cope with change and navigate through, please get in touch to arrange a discovery call.

Leave a Comment