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by Donna Bennett
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April 2009 Archives

Preparing for Change

The beginning of a new thing means there will be change. It also means something else is ending. Even the newborn leaves behind the safety and familiarity of the womb to enter and begin its new life. For those of us who have been in the world awhile, experience can be our guide.

Standing at the door of change, we are faced with choices, unknowns, opportunities, and decisions. With that also come fear, excitement, and doubt. Each of us will take different approaches depending on the degree of change, its impact on ourselves and others, our past experiences and who we are.

There is no right or wrong approach to change. There is the way that works best for you and your situation. However, if you know change is imminent, or are in the middle of it, you can choose to be proactive, passive, or reactive. Again, it may depend on what is at stake. Whether you are currently managing a change, or just want to be ready when it comes again, here are some questions to help you prepare:

• What impact will your choices/decisions have on those close to you (i.e., financially, emotionally, time-related)?

• What are your typical behaviors/responses when faced with change? Do you want to behave/respond differently this time?

• When you look at ways in which you have handled change in the past, did your actions work well, not so well, or did they not work at all? If you want to change your actions, how will you make that happen?

• Have you identified resources that may be helpful to you? Have you thoroughly explored and/or utilized those resources?

In our new and uncertain economy, many of us are at the point of making decisions about our jobs or careers. Whether you willingly leave a job, are forced to leave due to downsizing, or are still working, but frozen with doubt and fear about the future, it helps to be intentional about your choices. Asking yourself the above questions can help you prepare, but you may first need to ask, “What is my intention with this decision/choice?”

For example, in the case of feeling frozen about the path your job may take, your intention may be to wait to see what happens. If that is true, then it will be important to:

• have open discussions with those close to you about your choice.

• look back at how you have handled similar situations in the past – what worked what didn’t?

• explore resources, which could mean leveraging your strengths by taking a class or a course to learn new skills.

Both beginnings and endings are inherent in change. We play an essential role in the outcome.

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.
Pauline R. Kezer