TOP TIPS FOR CHANGEMAKERS #19
COPING WITH CHANGE
As a community of people who want to grow purpose-led businesses that make money and make a difference, many of us are actively seeking to create change. Hence this series of blogs is called ‘Top tips for changemakers’. But there is a difference between the change we seek to create and change that we feel is foist upon us by outside forces. We find it easier to embrace change that we have sought out – but how do we cope with the kind of change we are experiencing now: unwanted, undesirable or, to us at least, unnecessary change?
YOUR RESPONSE DETERMINES YOUR EXPERIENCE
It is not an event itself that determines your experience of change. It is that event PLUS your response to it. You can’t single-handedly change the outcome of an election or change the UK Government’s mind about lockdown (although that’s not an excuse not to vote or campaign or protest by the way!). But you can change your response to these events.
On a more personal level, let’s talk about redundancy.
I know that losing your job is a huge, unasked for and usually unwanted change – particularly in the midst of a recession. It happened to me in 2009. But I realised very quickly that I had a choice. I could freak out over my lost salary and allow myself to sink into despair. OR I could explore the opportunity that redundancy offered me.
I chose to cut back my expenses to the bone and spend some time exploring all the things I had always been interested in but had never had much time for because I was always working! I did courses in baking, photography, massage therapy, healing and counselling. In the end, the nine months that I spent not working was one of the happiest periods of my life although by the end of it I had not a penny to my name! And then in 2010, rested and replenished after my time off, I co-founded one of London’s most successful independent communications agencies.
ACT ‘AS IF’
We are all familiar with the basics of Charles Darwin’s theory of biological evolution – most often summarised as ‘survival of the fittest’. But in fact his theory was not that we must be fit to survive but that those who survive are those that are most adaptable to change.
Your ability to adapt to change and secure the best possible outcome – depends, to a large extent, on your mindset. Ask yourself ‘What kind of person do I need to be in order to achieve the best outcome here?’
How would you walk, how would you talk, how would you dress, what thoughts would you think, how would you interact with people?
And once you have that clear in your mind, see yourself as that kind of person – start showing up in the world as that person.
This is not about faking it until you make it. It’s about tuning in to your intentions, your desires and your aspirations and working through who it is you need to be to achieve them. It’s about remembering that how you show up is a choice and making the choice that’s going to deliver the best outcome.
AVOID DRAINS AND FOCUS ON RADIATORS
My dad said to me when I was a kid that there are two types of people in the world: drains and radiators.
Drains are those people who are make you feel worse about yourself or life or the changes you’re experiencing. Drains suck the joy from a room and the energy out of you. More often than not they are consistently negative, cynical and pessimistic.
By contrast, radiators make you feel better just by being themselves. They exude joy, positivity and optimism. They energise you, fill you up and leave you smiling.
When the world is filled with uncertainty avoid drains and focus on radiators.
And remember it’s not just people that can be drains.
I will quite often decide to stay away from the news for a while because I find the constant ‘bad news’ and relentless cynicism draining.
Social media can be a drain. I have stopped following people, accounts, businesses whose content I find draining. And if I find myself needing to preserve my energy, I will take a break from Facebook altogether and focus on the comedy on TikTok which always makes me laugh!
SLEEP, EAT AND MOVE
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Change can be draining on your physical and mental energy and you’ll need to make sure you are properly rested. A good night-time routine and a commitment to eight hours sleep (or whatever your sleep needs are) is always a good idea but even more so during a period of upheaval.
Eat well. When change happens, a lot of us tend to reach for carbs—bread, muffins, cake, crisps.
Yes. A lot of us includes me!
Anyway….apparently, it’s because eating carbs boosts serotonin – the key hormone that stabilises our mood, feelings of well-being and happiness. Whilst it’s OK to soothe yourself with comfort foods in moderation, it’s a shortcut to feeling worse in the long run.
Without the daily commute, the walk to and from the bus-stop and with gyms and fitness centres closed during lockdown – it can be easy to become even more sedentary. But exercising two to three times a week has been found to significantly improve your overall mood and ability to cope. Even just walking around the block can help you feel better.
REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Above all, remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together. And together we will get through it.
For more thoughts, insights, advice and inspiration about how to use this period of uncertainty as an opportunity and how to emerge with more resilience, join me in the Actually Facebook Group for a daily LOCKDOWN RESET LIVE at 8am every weekday from 5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020 (at least!).
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