No sugar coating here; 2020 was awful in so many ways! However, there were bright spots too that gave us hope, clarity and renewed focus. 2020 was also a record year for organizations requesting me to present and to train on navigating change and change management, both professionally and personally. No wonder as all of us were upended, facing a loss of movement, control and a clear path to life as we knew it in 2019.
1) My keynote presentations and training are known for being honest, filled with actionable takeaways, educational and fun. I’d like to begin with honesty and full disclosure.
In January of 2021, I was walking my Golden Doodle, Eddy with my wife, Meg. Suddenly, I began to panic. A mild freak out. A somber feeling of helplessness and despair. “How the hell am I supposed to waltz back into people?” “I don’t remember how to public anymore.”
I truly felt paralyzed in my social skills department and did not know what to do. Thankfully, Meg, the smarter of us, calmly said these words to me and it made a big difference.
“Remember when the pandemic hit and we slowly had to turn inward? We began to hunker down at home, saw nobody and felt alone in the world except for each other and Eddy. We were frightened, miserable and upset.” I couldn’t argue with her statement.
“It took time to adjust to life. And, it will take time to adjust to life at work, socially and personally. Give yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself and know that you’ll move back into a normal life in stages.” Wow! That really helped me. I gained perspective, felt less stressed out and more optimistic about the future. I hope Meg’s words help you too. Whew!
2) Employer, employees and you. In-person, remote and hybrid are the common terms being tossed around. However, one size does not fit all. Employers are going to see a lack of available candidates as Labor Day 2021 concludes. Employees are going to have an advantage and say in how/where they work; from four 10-hour days, to complete remote work and hybrid. Businesses that cannot/do not adapt quickly will lose critical talent. If you’re in manufacturing, you’re going to get hit hard as well as there are not going to be enough qualified people for all of your work. Are you willing to train on the job? Navigating change will require a desire to have conversations, listen and adapt to each employee’s needs individually. It’s a big swing and it’s going to be here for the foreseeable future.
3) The not-so-secret secret, is that most of us don’t have a direct say in the changes that occur in our professional lives. It comes from the top, and our opinions are often not part of the equation. Personally, we’re often in the same boat. Change hits us between the eyes. It hurts, knocks us off balance and can have us questioning many things. Thankfully, there is something you can do!
At work, big change may sweep through your organization. At home, you could be placed on a path that you may not have picked, but you have to go down in order to survive. I want to remind you that while you may not have control of the change that you have to handle. However, you have complete control over how you decide to manage it. Let me repeat that. You have complete control over how you decide to manage it! This empowerment is vital to growing our strength, stress reduction, sanity, happiness and much, much more. Empowering, right? And, true!
As we continue to navigate change in our lives, there will be opportunities for growth, advancement both professionally and personally, additional learning and teaching. Do not let change scare you. Embrace it. Work through it. Remember, that you have control in many ways.