Todd Dewett explains the importance of perspective for personal change management and how to create perspective so you can see change in a more productive context.
- When change hits, it can feel daunting. What you need is a little perspective. The very first thing I want you to do is nothing. That's right, sometimes it's best to step back and not try to manage the issue immediately. There are many examples of change in your professional life, whether it's a business change, like an unexpected merger or layoff, budget freezes, or new regulations. In any case, don't immediately make definitive decisions.
Acknowledge that it happened. And try to find out why, but don't be rash. Very often when change hits, emotions go into overdrive. So here's the rule. Don't make any big decisions for at least 48 hours. Depending on what's happened, you'll be thinking about your team or maybe your family, who knows. Whatever it is, resist making big decisions for at least 48 hours. Allow the emotions to go back to normal, so you can more rationally begin analyzing the situation and thinking about your next move.
Next, seek counsel. Hey, you don't know it all and don't need to try and reinvent the wheel. Reaching out for assistance once in a while is normal and healthy. Call or sit down with your boss, a mentor, or maybe a professional coach. Speaking with them cannot only give you actionable advice, but it also reminds you that you're not the first to face this issue. Next, let's consider three very useful cognitive exercises that help you build a more productive perspective.
The first is to reduce the challenge to smaller parts. Don't focus on the mountain. Focus on the first step or two you need to take to get over the mountain. The more you look at the component parts of the challenge, the less you feel the issue become so big and overwhelming. Then, I want you to check your memory. If you think about it, it's very likely that you've faced this issue in the past. If not, you've seen something similar. Even if that's not true, you know you can search your network and find someone who has.
The memories of these past experiences or experiences shared with you help you remember that this is just another change that you can successfully conquer. Okay, last tip. If you want to build perspective, stop comparing the change you're facing only to your past experiences. Think bigger. Think about how your father worked three jobs to keep the family going. Think about your friend who's built a thriving career while beating cancer three separate times.
Is the change you're facing really so big? Maybe, but it won't seem so tough when you change your reference points. Whatever change you might be feeling burdened with right now, let me ask you to actively go find more productive perspectives. Then take that energy, and share it with anyone else facing the issue with you, so you can help them gain perspective too.