Although change is a natural state of life, coping with it can be difficult. When a person stops growing, they begin to die. Individuals need to constantly develop intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. A person grows and changes physically as they develop from infancy to adulthood and old age. They also grow and change emotionally with every experience, and grow intellectually as they respond to events and to the world. The challenge with change as a way to facilitate growth is learning to cope with transition.
Transition is a point in life when a person or individual changes from one state of consciousness or conditional understanding of the surrounding world to another state or condition. Every person goes through numerous transitions: graduating from high school, going off to college, entering the workforce, changing jobs, getting married, and having children. Change in a person’s life can be difficult. However, by developing the skills to navigate through periods of transition a person lives more mindfully and finds peace during difficult periods. Any transition that is permanent requires a person to alter their definition of the self, and a skilled person finds periods of transition to be rewarding and enjoyable. The ability to adapt during points of transition leads people to live more satisfying, enriched lives.
A person cannot control every facet of life and he or she cannot stop change from occurring. How a person responds to change will affect their overall life experience. We can only control three things in life:
- How We think
- How We feel
- And How We Behave or React
Most people fear change. They prefer routine and stability, and with any kind of transition, this change disrupts self-confidence. Fear inhibits people from taking risks. When fear relates to a positive change, it is usually linked to a fear of not being able to achieve success. Some are overly concerned about not being capable enough or of being judged, as if dignity is only measured by their concept of success or winning.
Here are a few tips on how to deal with transition:
- Acknowledge the change. The most important thing to do when change is happening in the workplace is to acknowledge it. Recognizing and accepting change is one of the first steps towards managing it.
- Face your fears. When you fear change, take some time out for yourself. Writing down these fears in an objective form can stop you dwelling on them. Go through each fear and write down what you would do if that fear came to pass. Knowing you have a back-up plan can really help to defuse the emotional anxiety.
- Break it down. Do a task analysis to break the transition into smaller steps so you can figure out where the problem is. Let's take moving from computer time to another activity as a quick example:
- Make the end obvious. Moving on to a new activity is difficult if you don't realize that the old one is finished. Find ways to make it clear when a task is over - pull the picture from the schedule and put it in a 'completed' basket or have photos of what the finished task looks like.