Dealing With Change: 4 Lessons I Learned The Hard Way

By Ben Ramsden – Senior Transformation Consultant

Ever heard of someone losing their lifetime’s computer data in a hard disk crash?

Yeah well, it happened to me recently. And I was surprised how this particular dark episode reminded me of some key lessons about dealing with forced change.

The dark day my hard disk died

I was initially (reasonably) relaxed about the expiry of my computer drive because I had two backups. Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, for reasons I still don’t fully understand, neither of them could be restored.

For a split second I found myself at the brink of having a very unattractive, major meltdown. But then I paused, drew breath, paused, breathed again, and noticed something quite remarkable.

The world hadn’t ended. The sun was still shining outside. I still appeared to be fit and healthy.

I finished work early that day and spent more time than usual with the family (very nice. I also had a very good night’s sleep.

The following morning, I went out and purchased a new computer from a different manufacturer containing a tried and tested backup solution, and started afresh.

This new computer came with much better software. It has allowed me to do things quickly and easily that I had always wanted to but never thought possible.

I should have upgraded years ago, I thought.

Then a couple of weeks later, a very clever technician managed to extract all my lost data from the damaged drive. But the funny thing is, I’ve barely needed it since!

What I learned about change in the process

So what lessons did this incident remind me of when it comes to dealing with forced change?

1. Emotional reactions are just that

No matter what it is that happens to thrust change upon you, know this: the world will not end.

This simple reminder can help you shift your mindset from a state of extreme stress to one of control and calm. You control your emotions, not the other way around.

2. Adversity contains hidden opportunities

If my computer drive hadn’t crashed and burned, I would still be slogging away with an outdated and sub-standard computer system.

There is always something to learn from change and, a lot of the time, it’s just the kick in the pants we need.

3. Behaviour in the moment is all that matters

Look forward not back. Ask “what next”, not “why”.

4. Comfort feels good but has limited value

We all get stuck in ruts or habitual patterns of behaviour. I knew there were probably more efficient and effective solutions available than my dinosaur computer, but I didn’t act until I had to.

The whole experience has been a timely reminder to examine other areas of my life that have become “comfortable”, to challenge myself out of my comfort zone.

What are your experiences of dealing with forced change and what did you learn?

Read More

Roadblocks To Success: Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

By Suzanne Corliss – Senior Transformation Consultant

A very good friend reminded me the other day that we lie to ourselves far more than we ever lie to anyone else.  Self-deception can be a hard habit to break.

You’ve probably experienced the feeling of things moving in the right direction, you’re feeling positive about certain triumphs, then suddenly – BAM! Up comes one roadblock after another. You hear your inner voice saying to yourself, “not again.” Or, “why does this always happen to me…?”

Sound familiar?

It’s not you

The truth is, it doesn’t just happen to you. It happens to everyone at various times.  The difference is in how you approach it.

With some people, you don’t notice that they’re working through roadblocks, because they seem as enthusiastic and determined as ever. Others are feeling deflated and flicking it into the “too hard” basket.

Maybe it’s time to look inside and see what’s going on in your mind. What deceptive little tricks is your mind playing on you?

Everything starts with a thought

Thought –> Action –> Outcome

When taken a little deeper, this says our reality is determined by Be –> Do –> Have. The results and outcomes we reap begin with the thoughts and energy we sew.

So, how do we become aware of what our thought process is? How do we know what Mindset we’re in?

Let’s look at a simple example to assess your mindset.

Imagine you see someone exhibiting behaviours you consider unacceptable. They may be overbearing, loud and dominating. Or maybe they hold a belief or value system that differs greatly from your own. Does your inner judge quietly condemn the person? Does your facial expression hold signs of dismay or disgust?

Fixed vs. growth mindset

Perhaps you try and put yourself in that person’s shoes and offer explanations for their behaviour. That’s what’s called a fixed mindset. A person whose beliefs tell them, “they are the way they are,” and there’s precious little they can do to change it.

So, how would someone with a growth mindset approach this situation? Well, they’d probably just talk to the person about their behaviour! From their point of view, that person presents an opportunity to learn something.

Someone with a growth mindset will confront a challenging person or challenging behaviours/views with the following approach: “I may not understand this person’s motivations or actions right now but I’m going to find out what this person has to offer and try to understand their perspective.”

That inner voice is a great opportunity to understand where your mindset sits regarding certain situations.

If your mindset is focused on failure (even if it is avoidance) you are already on the path to it. Listen to whether your inner voice is telling you, “this is the way things are/aren’t.” Or whether it’s exploring new possibilities. Challenge your inner voice to see whether it’s trying to keep you in your comfort zone, away from potential failure.

Where’s your head at?

When we embrace challenges, new ideas and other people’s perspectives we allow ourselves to grow. What was once seen as a roadblock is now an opportunity to do something even better, create something that may make a difference.

So here’s an exercise for today. Ask yourself, where is your head at? Is it helping or hindering your growth and ultimate success?

Read More