When was the last time a major change took place in your life? By this I mean a change of job, a change of country or a personal life change such as marriage or getting a baby, etc.? And how did you react to the new situation and what feelings did it bring about?
I’ve had quite a few changes in my life – one of them has to do with the choice of featured article photo, taken around 7 years ago when I moved to Amsterdam. What I’ve noticed though is that my coping with change is pretty small. Even in the cases where I am the one choosing for the change (like the example of moving to Amsterdam), I still find it challenging to cope with it. I can get very anxious as ‘the chanage’ is approaching and I have a hard time adapting and coping to it.
After talking about it left and right with my friends and doing some research online, it looks like change affects people differently. On the one hand, you have the change accepters who take life’s new adventures as they come, as life challenges that they’re eager to embark on. On the other hand, you’ve got the change resilient people, who get into a set of psychological reactions regarding the new phase of their lives. I will obviously focus on the change resilient people, the reasons behind their change resilience and the pattern to becoming stronger as a result of a major change.
Resistance to change (varying from professional to personal change) has predominantly the following underlying reasons:
- fear of the unknown
- feeling too confident with the ‘old’ way of your life
- fear of change of ‘old’ routines
- low trust in your ability to adapt
- inflexibility, as a personality trait
All these reasons behind someone being change resistant are very logical. The question then remains: what can you do to adapt to a change? And is there a pattern that people usually go through, in terms of inner feelings, during a major change in their lives?
I’ve been searching on the Internet in order to find the answers to these questions and, while there are differences between adapting to change from a personal and from a professional side, the adapting pattern is similar, and influenced primarily by self-esteem and time. I will not reinvent the wheel, but have you take a look at the chart below that best exemplifies the stages a change adapter goes through, as developed by psychologists.
Thus, it looks like the sequence of feelings an reactions that are triggred by a life change range from:
- new confidence
The stage from crisis to acceptance is paved with experimentation (seeking new ways to adapt to the situation and to do things, spurs of creativity and increased energy to think of new ideas and plan for the future). Most importantly is that everyone goes through the experimentation process at his own pace – thus someone cannot be forced to do things at a higher pace. He has to feel comfortable with the speed of the experimentation phase.
I’m sure we’ve all gone through major life changes: some positive, some less positive, professional or personal… but which may have generated similar reactions. Do you recognize yourself in the pattern above? If yes, what applies to you and what doesn’t? I’d be very happy to hear your opinions regarding it and how you’ve experienced it. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line here or on our Facebook page.
Until next time, take care,