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Resilience in the Face of Change

When someone tries to impose a change upon you that you believe will impact your current circumstances, it’s natural to feel initially opposed to the change suggested. If what you are doing is working and you are happy with your results, why would you want to change? You’ll most likely feel inclined to resist the change and fight to stay the same.

This is a normal Resiliencereaction.

As functioning human beings, we strive to be in a comfortable position in which the results of our efforts are positive and productive. A suggested change can feel like an immediate threat to our sense of control. It can shake our self-belief and confidence in our own abilities.

However, in life โ€“ both business and personal โ€“ change is entirely necessary for progress. Without change, even the most positive of circumstances and methods of working will become stale, out-dated or ineffective. We must adopt a willingness to see change as an opportunity for improvement, not something to be avoided or delayed. Just because someone suggests a change, it doesn’t mean that what you are currently doing is no longer working. It may simply be that there is an opportunity to improve or explore alternatives.

People who are considered to be very resilient can absorb the impact of change, adapt and move forward easier than those who have a lower resilience. Qualities of people who have a high level of resilience in the face of change include:

  • A feeling of control over their lives and the circumstances that affect them.
  • A willingness to embrace change and see it as a necessary and natural part of the development cycle.
  • An ability to learn from past mistakes and successes and to use that knowledge in the future.
  • A positive self-view and confidence in their abilities.
  • An acceptance that not all crises are within their control.

Some people seem to be born with more natural resilience than others. Other people have had to deal with adversity in their lives so have had to build resilience, which they can then use as a skill in the workplace. These people are sometimes known as survivors and will generally adapt well in the face of changes, adversity and stress. Not only can they handle difficult circumstances well, they are able to bounce back afterwards.

In recent times, resilience in the face of change has been emerging as a seminal skill for leaders and those in management. The good news is that, if you feel that you are not a naturally resilient person, there are behaviours and ways of thinking you can practice which will build this skill:

  • Develop and maintain good, supportive and caring relationships with the people around you and ask for their advice and support when you need it.
  • Remember that some things are beyond your control. You can’t change them but you can change how you react to them.
  • Accept that the only thing that is consistent throughout life is change, this applies to both your personal and professional life.
  • Set yourself small goals to achieve and give yourself credit when you achieve them.
  • Examine your own experience of developing resilience in the face of change. What are your negative and positive experiences? How have they changed you and what have you learnt?
  • Work on your self-confidence and be decisive when planning to deal with change.
  • Look at the long-term perspective and don’t let the short-term problems get blown out of proportion.
  • Staying positive and optimistic about the future will impact positively on your resilience in the face of change.

Remember, throughout your life, changes will occur. Sometimes these changes are as a result of your own actions and decisions, and sometimes they are imposed upon you. By developing your resilience in the face of change, you can reduce the amount of stress these changes cause you, adapt more easily and live a happier life.

Illumine Training runs courses on both building resilience and managing change.

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