Change Happens – Deal with it Successfully

October 10, 2013

Martha Germann
Founder, Mindful Games Institute LLC

My heart sinks when I read the spreadsheet from my director containing the change in my goals for the upcoming year.  “What is going on?” I groan to myself.

Last year I had loved my job.  I worked on projects that I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do.  My performance review from my manager was good and I had received glowing feedback from other’s in the organization.  So I am stunned when I realize that none of that work is on my new goal list.  I feel like someone just poured gasoline on my hot fudge sundae.

There are times when you have to deal with unforeseen changes in your role or circumstance.  This could be a change in the projects you work on to dealing with a family member who has suddenly taken ill and needs special care.  These are not changes you like or would have chosen for yourself, yet they are important responsibilities that you need to handle.

When things feel out of our control, our sense of autonomy is threatened and this puts us into a state of survival which increases our stress and becomes a distraction from what we really want for ourselves.  We complain to ourselves and others and we resent the day-to-day tasks we now have to do.

In my circumstance, I could not change the goals I was given.  Signing up for this job meant that as long as I continued to work there, I did what my manager expected of me.

What I did have control over was my perspective and the next actions I took.  I decided that thriving was more important to me than going into that downward spiral of indignation, misery and disengagement.

Here are some of the things I did differently that saved my sanity.

First, I created a personal vision for myself which gave me something to focus on.  My vision was to make a difference for my department and the clients I worked with.

I then had a conversation with my manager asking for information to get context and clarity of how this change contributed to the overall goals of the organization.  I also voiced how I felt about the change, what I saw as my strengths and what it was that I had enjoyed about my previous role.  This allowed me to advocate for myself and feel heard so that I could move forward.

Next, I looked for and found ways that the new goal aligned with my personal vision of making a difference and created an action plan.

It took some effort but I was then able to engage and bring my strengths and creativity to the new role I was given.   I was able to get back to thriving.

If you are facing changes that are out of your control and want to create a mindful game of thriving like I was able to do, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What is my personal vision/goal?
  • What is the “big picture” of this new situation?
  • What do I need to communicate to feel heard?
  • Can I align the goal of this new situation with my personal vision?
  • What is the next best action towards my vision?