Sometimes, change takes us by surprise.  We wake up one morning, and boom!  Life is different.  It can be good or bad change, but either way, there’s no way to prepare for it.

Sudden change isn’t the only type of change we encounter.  Oftentimes, we see change coming from a mile ahead.  Two weeks left on the project, yet there’s 2 months left worth of work?  You better believe something on your team is going to change.  Sitting blindly at your desk with your hands over your ears chanting, “Nothing will change,” is about the worst thing you can do in this situation.  You should prepare for the upcoming change as best as you can to avoid the sudden disruption that’s about to hit your life.

Here are some quick tips I’ve heard to help make these oncoming changes more bearable:

  • Propose a solution first.  If you see change coming because of a problem, and no one has proposed a solution, then take the initiative and do it yourself.  If everyone ignores it, it will only cause more hassle down the road.  Even if you give a solution that isn’t adopted, it will get other people thinking and will likely bring about a plan for change more quickly.
  • Prepare for a wide variety of outcomes.  There will likely be a “good” outcome and a “bad” outcome from the upcoming change, with all shades in between.  I find it best to focus on the three most likely scenarios and prepare for their outcomes.  That will give you more tools in your belt to face the change head on when it comes.
  • Think about how change will impact you personally.  When the change comes, how will you act?  How will you feel?  If you anticipate negative emotions, figure out ways to deal with them now, and rationalize before the change comes.  You don’t want to end up looking bad-tempered just because you hadn’t mentally prepped yourself for change.
  • Remember that your entire life will not change.  If the upcoming change will be huge (such as a loss of employment), try to focus on the positive, unchanging things in your life – your solid relationships, your hobbies, and your passions.  Even in the midst of change, you can create stability for yourself that will help you make it through.

Other tips on change would be greatly appreciated in the comments.

-Deborah Fike

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