Dealing with Change

Explosion of positive energyImage by Łukasz Strachanowski via FlickrOur theme of this week was “living life smarter”. We started with defining SMART goals and reflecting on where we are now. Then we looked at setting priorities so we use our limited time and finances wisely. Focusing on the highest priority items that give us the most value for our time and money will move us from where we are now to where we want to be.

Of course, as with our projects, our environment changes continuously. Imagine you did this exercise at the end of 2007. Would your plans have been significantly impacted by the economic changes in 2008? The majority of people fear or dislike change. It upsets our life and forces us out of our comfort zone. Change causes uncertainty: we could fail, lose loved ones, or lose our job. We fear not the change but the uncertainty that it brings and overall this fear gets worse when we get older.

Right now with the current economic world situation we all experience uncertainty. On top of that, setting goals and pursuing them also cause change in our lives. My approach has always been to think through the worst case scenario outcomes of the change I am facing and see if I can live with it.

There are two types of change: self-induced and out-of-our-control. This year I have learned valuable lessons around out-of-my-control change and what “living with it” means. A very close friend of mine is faced with a life-threatening disease and has no idea what the future will bring, or if she has one. Her attitude, however, is extremely positive. She makes plans, exercises every day, and refuses to be depressed or ask “why me”. I keep wondering if I would be as strong in her situation.

In addition to the “can I live with it?”-question, when change happens ask yourself “what can I learn from it?” and “how am I going to use that knowledge going forward?” Don’t get discouraged. Early in my career a job interviewer accused me of not having enough discouraging life-forming experience since I had a “too positive outlook on life”. This was in during a month in which I lost my grandmother, saw my long-term relationship end and had to move out of my apartment in the middle of the night after being threatened by my landlord. Those experiences taught me to live my life now and to the fullest. Apparently, the interviewer did not share that view.

So for 2009 consider the following:

1.      Change is given: accept the uncertainty
2.      Keep looking forward: set goals
3.      Prioritize: focus on your top goals that are most rewarding
4.      Communicate: share you goals
5.      Be flexible: re-plan your goals when needed
6.      Be positive in your actions and attitude

Good luck with setting and pursuing your goals in 2009 both in your own life and in your projects. Feel free to contact me with any questions or your stories.

Wishing you an amazing, prosperous, loving and healthy 2009!!

Nathalie Udo


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