Creating Change Resilience
As a change management leader, I’m no stranger to the concept of change fatigue and how draining it can be on individual energy and an organization’s performance.
If you’re not conceptually familiar with the idea of change fatigue… I can guarantee you’ve felt it.
Think back over your last couple of years at work… a new policy your team has to follow? A new leader? A different approach to go to market? A new CRM or time entry tool? Different expectations? New clients? Another training program for a skill you need?
While none of these things are inherently bad, the cumulative effect of all the changes a person has to (is expected to) adapt to creates change fatigue.
It’s the apathy that results from the mental and emotional exhaustion of being expected to maintain a certain level of performance when the ball is constantly moving and the rules of the game are constantly changing.
We’ve all heard it… “Change is the only constant”. And while that may sound like a trite quote, it’s true. So, what do we do? Do we just succumb to the fact that things will always feel chaotic, in flux, and out of our control?
There’s a key concept we could all pay a little more attention to to help us more smoothly ride the waves of personal and organizational change, and that’s resilience.
I’ve led enough global transformational change efforts to know that you can’t just address the organizational infrastructure, policies, and processes. Real change, true change, sustainable change starts with the individual (ideally with the right organizational infrastructure to support the transformation and desired end state).
If you’re a leader driving some kind of change (at work or in your personal life), a change practitioner managing change, or an individual who faces change (hint - everyone should fall into one of these categories), here’s an important tool that will help you build up your resilience muscle.
Any change, good or bad, creates a visceral, emotional response within us. Some level of anxiety and uncertainty builds.
Just think about when you get a new cell phone… that’s likely a welcomed change, something you decided and maybe even are excited about. But, at the same time, there is a bit of panic when you turn it on and try to use it… how do I access all my pictures? Wait, this button is gone - what do I do?! I can’t sync my email! Yes, this is a small example with a short change curve, but you get my point.
When we are faced with change and stress, our neurotransmitters release cortisol which is activated by the “fight or flight” response. This physiological reaction, this hormone hit, is normal, but it does impact us and can lead to anxiety and increased stress around change.
This is why addressing change fatigue and resilience at an individual level is so important.
When we can get still and train our brains to respond vs. react in times of minimal stress or distraction, we are creating a solid foundation for a successful response when a big change or stressor comes along.
With a mindfulness practice, we can consciously bring ourselves back to the present moment and out of the chaotic monkey mind that is jumping to all sorts of worst case scenario conclusions, draining our energy, and creating more stress.
A mindfulness practice creates resilience, the ability to more quickly and seamlessly recover from a difficult situation.
Change is hard. I don't want to downplay that.
But what I do know, is that a regular mindfulness practice for you personally, and even better, for your organization or team, will create more calm and more “even keeled” reactions as inevitable changes come down the pipeline. Which of course in turn leads to less disrupted productivity, and happier and more engaged people.
But you don’t have to trust me. Try it out for yourself. My Mindfulness Starter Kit has a simple 3-step process to help you get centered throughout the day. Putting this simple practice in place will build your change resilience muscle.
Even better, join my (free) January Success Mindset Challenge…
I’ll usher you through 5 days of a step-by-step process to more mindfully hone in on bringing more success into your life.
Let me know your thoughts!
Do you have a mindfulness practice today that has helped you better respond versus react to change? Are you new to the idea of mindfulness and it sounds like total BS?
Drop a comment below and don’t forget to register for my free Success Mindset Challenge (it starts Monday!).