Are you having a hard time embracing changes in the new business context?
Many people find it hard to embrace change in a business context because they have built their lives around ingrained beliefs and ways of doing things. However, after the period we have been through (and are still in) – in which society is trying to cope with climate change, societal change, and, of course, the Covid pandemic – our discomfort with change is extremely acute.
In my experience, such discomfort with change results in two outcomes: you either stay stuck and wither away, or you embrace change and flourish – you sink or swim. To travel the latter course, you’ve got to be comfortable being uncomfortable and be fearless as a business during tough times.
Innovation and disruption always come hand in hand
In today’s world, change is the only constant. There are new technologies and trends evolving every day, and these bring opportunities – if you have the right mindset.
Innovation and disruption always come hand in hand. Such disruption can be of your own making – a company restructure, for example – or forced upon you by circumstances beyond your control. There is no better example of this than the mass human and business reaction to the Covid pandemic.
Forced to ‘stay at home, people began working remotely. Companies adapted and changed to survive at breathtaking speed to make this happen en masse. We are now in an economy in which the present is less certain than it has ever been, and the future is even less so. But businesses and people are more resilient than they have ever been, too.
Whatever the circumstances, the reality is that change is inevitable. It’s going to make you uncomfortable. You must get used to being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Six steps to start embracing change
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in a fast-paced environment. We must embrace change and realize that adapting to these changes doesn’t come easily – especially if you aren’t used to it. For you and your company to thrive in a changing landscape, you must adapt quickly while staying loyal to your core values. Easier said than done?
Here are six steps to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Step#1: Take the first step
For us to be able to cope with the changing environment, it is important that we be comfortable being uncomfortable during disruptive periods. It is best if we can find a way of taking small steps to become more comfortable and secure in uncomfortable situations.
The first of these steps is to acknowledge that we are constantly changing in our lives, shifting, and adapting to accommodate new opportunities and challenges (think new homes, changing jobs, a new car, the birth of children, and so on).
Even though we can’t control everything that happens, we do have the power of awareness about these changes. It is important that we don’t think of these periods as bad or unpleasant, but rather as opportunities for growth.
To be comfortable being uncomfortable during these periods of change, we should try to face our fears at the beginning. It will help us get through these changes not as an overwhelming experience, but instead as a natural transition.
Step #2: Be consistent, even if the process sucks
Disruptive periods are a part of the life cycle for any business. It is important to be aware of your emotions during these times and not let them get the best of you. The key is to be consistent with what you are doing, regardless of how difficult it may seem.
A lot of people struggle with this concept because they want things to happen fast, and they want results right now. While those things do not happen overnight, it is possible for you to stick with them even if the process sucks at first.
For many people, there will always be a feeling that something could have been done better in their business, or worse yet, that they need to be doing something different entirely. This is just an example though – there’s no black or white answer when it comes to time for disruptive periods in the business.
Step #3: Forget about your comfort zone
In our current market, disruptive periods have become a norm of sorts and we are just learning how to cope with these changes. Unfortunately, we often tend to put off uncomfortable or difficult things and end up regretting them later. This is because we like it where we are. The trouble is that when you get stuck in your comfort zone, you don’t move forward.
Disruptive periods can be scary, but they also provide opportunities. Opportunities to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things. You only regret the things you don’t do.
Step #4: Leverage the strengths of your team
In my experience, I find that executives need to understand the types of changes they face so they can leverage their teams’ unique qualities.
In a time when disruption is becoming more and more widely accepted, it can be difficult for leaders to keep the team feeling motivated and engaged. Cultural shifts often have a negative effect on employee morale.
To mitigate these effects, leaders must make adjustments in their leadership style. They must continue to be open to new ideas and explore new opportunities by utilizing their team’s strengths. Therefore, during change:
Focus on strengths, not weaknesses
Immerse your people in work that is aligned with what they do best so that you can all feel confident about what you are doing
Step #5: Focus on the desired results
It’s important to not let these periods stop you from attaining your goals. It is crucial to remain optimistic and focused on your goals, rather than being swept away by external influences. The important thing here is that you should be able to focus on the positive aspects of a difficult situation rather than dwell on its negative aspects.
But as we get comfortable with these changes, we also must remember that the old ways are not always the best ways. And it’s important to keep open to adopting new ideas and habits for better results in life and work:
Keep an open mind and question things because these disruptions could lead to new opportunities for you
Keep your creative juices flowing by thinking of new ways to approach old problems or even create entirely new problems related to the disruption
Step #6: Celebrate your progress, no matter how small
The team must be patient enough to work through a difficult period and learn from it. They need to be willing to do the hard and uncomfortable work for their company to succeed. Everyone knows that change is not easy – especially when it happens quickly and unexpectedly. By being patient during difficult periods, you can help your company thrive by using your strengths as a team.
In my life, I have learned that celebrating small accomplishments will repeatedly lead to bigger successes; just ask anyone who has been through an intense journey of their own. Celebrating your successes on the way reinforces your progress, helps to motivate people and manages expectations as you move toward your goal.
When will you know you are comfortable with being uncomfortable?
The world is constantly changing. Sometimes it changes rapidly, like during the last 18 months; other times the pace of change is slower. One thing is for sure: you’re going to be uncomfortable.
To survive and thrive, you must get comfortable with being uncomfortable. People, and businesses, must change their mindset to become more agile and adaptable.
The key is finding a new perspective from which to view the challenges. Take a step back. Look at the big picture. See that your current position does not offer you success in the future. You must visualize the opportunities that current challenges create, and then create strategies to take advantage of them.
You can be in control of change, by being comfortable with being uncomfortable. This will shift your mindset and enable you to take opportunities that others don’t see or don’t want to see.
When will you know you are comfortable with being uncomfortable? When you start being able to see the areas of your business that could be improved, and you don’t hesitate to act on them because they are too uncomfortable or scary. When you are this comfortable with being uncomfortable, there will be nothing to stop you from reaching your goals.
Would you like to hear more about leadership and thriving through adversity? To book me for entrepreneurial coaching or for a speaking event, please get in touch.