Celebrating Change: Going beyond the emotional wall of ‘resistance to change’
By Veenu Shivdasani
Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds
We have grown up listening to ‘the only thing that is constant is change’, even then we keep on saying, ‘change is uncomfortable, as it creates anxiety and stress’. If that is true, then how come the fashion industry is booming? We love the change in fashion. Have you heard about people going to the same holiday destination again? We visit a new destination every time because we love to experience change. We go to the gym to lose weight, which indicates that we wish to change what we have, right? Bored people want a change, frustrated people want a change, passionate people want a change and the list goes on.
I think somewhere down the line we need to stop fooling ourselves by saying ‘change makes me nervous or gives me stress’. Instead, we need to go beyond the emotional wall and analyze what makes us resist the change? How can we pass through that thought/emotion in order to move forward in our life gracefully and confidently? When we take a step in a new direction, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It has to be a step.
When I coach people, who are going through a shock of losing their job, they usually start with “I am just too full of emotions and fear to think straight”. When I probe, “What is interesting about losing your job?” The reply varies from person to person; some say “I kind of knew it”, others say “I should have listened to my instinct”; some even say “I was not happy in this job anyway”.
On probing further: “How is it making you feel?” some react with negative emotions like “I am scared of the future”, “I am angry/disappointed with the management”, “I feel stupid or betrayed”.
Yet towards the end of each of these conversations, I witness a positive expression finally finding its way to the surface and I get to hear: “Now I can go back to studies”, “I will travel for next 3 months”, “I will get in touch with my friends and family, I have been missing on socializing”, “I feel I am wiser today”, “I always wanted to follow my passion, I think now is the time to exactly do that”.
In my experience, when we start our pursuit, the opportunities that we never observed before, simply appear in front of us. In 2018, I felt ready to take up work assignments outside Pune. Within a few days, I got this huge opportunity with Kirloskar Oil Engines to train 1000+ associates in Kolhapur within a span of 1 year. To make a difference to those many lives was a great way to live my purpose of changing lives with YES! Energy! I must say that it was an overwhelming and thoroughly fulfilling experience for me. I strongly believe that when we are ready to receive and take the change in our stride, it all comes around.
I have observed that when we are in an environment that gives us a feeling of certainty, where we know everything, and are following a structure, we feel safe and assured. The moment that certainty is removed and we are told to operate from an unstructured and unproven environment we freak out and get scared. We are all scared of something; the trick is to give ourselves a heads up. For example, you are asked late in the evening to make a presentation the next morning due to the unavailability of your boss. Choose to give a heads up to yourself and self talk yourself into “It’s going to be a late-night, I’ll sit with a cup of green tea/coffee, and I am sure everything will be sorted”. Another thing that you can do is to anchor it with something you already do; like having dinner. You can make a statement in your mind: after dinner, I will start preparing my presentation with a cup of coffee. These small steps will definitely help, you will not only finish the presentation but will also feel confident to present it.
We need to understand that between “where we were to where we are?” We have already crossed an ocean of failures, rejections, risks, anxiety, blame, shame, pain, and exhaustion, and those have helped us evolve and made us ready for where we would like to be. So the question we need to ask ourselves is, “What is stopping me from moving forward with my experience and learnings from the past”?
In Neuro-Linguistic Psychology, we encourage participants to work on their goals by chunking them to the tiniest level. The successful method of achieving impactful change is to applying 4 steps chunking:
A conscious shift from work-life balance to work-life harmony
Aristotle aptly describes it “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit”. There are no shortcuts or secrets. Successful change requires one thing and one thing only and that is, practice your new habits by applying chunking method and you move closer to your goals.
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together” – Ratan Tata’s simple mantra for growth. Another natural aspect of change is growth, and when you grow you need to trust and empower others to be part of your tribe. The key is to understand the relationship between ownership and authorship.
In this case, you are empowering your team members by making them take control of the change and not merely respond to change. We experience success when we achieve our goals, yet the real success is when we inspire others along the way. Each one of us is creating their own stories.
As a Coach, I could not agree more with Steven Spielberg’s thought process: “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves”.
A few years ago I heard a Ted Talk which resonates with handling big change. The presenter encouraged having a renovator’s mindset. When we renovate our house or our office we keep four things in mind:
What do I need to keep?
What do I need to discard off?
What do I would like to change?
What do I want to add?
For example: when you are restructuring your organization:
Think of what you will keep – your best people, your values, mission, vision, passion
That you will discard off - negative people, behavior, old systems & rituals
What you will change - culture, attitude, the way you think, limiting beliefs
What you will add - empowerment, innovation, training, creativity, and fun
Our fundamental need as humans is to contribute and to make a difference. When you are contributing and making a difference, you are adopting and celebrating change. We all live on through the differences we make. Ask yourself often “How you would like to be remembered?”
Tolkien said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time we have”. We always have a choice: to keep things the same or make a difference by adapting to change. I choose to change every day and I know sooner or later we all will, in our own time, as that’s why we are here on this planet to make a difference.
About the Author
Veenu Shivdasani is the Founder of YES! I CAN, Changing Lives…, a Training and Development House. She is an NLP Master Trainer from the National Federation of Neuro-Linguistic Psychology, Florida, USA. She is a certified Coach from Grow More Avenue (ACSTH-ICF). In addition, she is certified in Applied Mahayana Buddhist Psychology and Ethics.