5 Things To Do When Dealing With Unexpected Change

It has been said that the one constant in life is change. Our world and our lives are constantly changing. Just reflect on your last five years and think about all the changes you have experienced and seen in the world…

Technology has changed, your physical appearance has changed, the people around you may have changed, and the way you do your work or run your business may have also changed.

If change is all around us, why is it difficult for us to deal with change? There is a common perception that people resist change however I have learned that people actually resist change only when it is not their choice. The fact that we willingly change everyday is proof that we don’t always resist change but when we are dealing with something that makes us uncomfortable, resistance can come up.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

All too often, change is forced upon us unexpectedly. It could be things like dealing with the loss of a loved one, having a serious health challenge, facing financial challenges due to loss of income, having to change jobs or move to another country. Such events will challenge most people and unless we have ways to deal with such changes, they can have a serious effect on our health, our relationships and our overall mental well-being.

A number of years ago, during the Global Financial Crisis, my business was severely affected as the type of clients I usually worked with were hesistant to spend money on things that would be considered a nice to have such as coaching and mentoring, which was what my business predominantly offered at that time. As a result, my finances were seriously impacted which caused me enormous amounts of stress. My ability to cover living expenses was seriously challenged and it also had an effect on my health as I was constantly getting severe headaches and back aches.

I knew I had to do something different. One thing I investigated was adding additional or new income sources. Rather than solely rely on coaching income, I decided to add training and consulting to the services I provided. While the results of that change didn’t come to fruition straight away, just being able to offer additional services suddenly helped my cashflow and eased the stress I was under. Had I not made the decision to offer new services, things could have been a lot worse and could have even cost me my business. As a result of taking that leap of faith, I am now able to offer coaching, mentoring, training, speaking and business consulting services.

In order to deal with unexpected changes, we need to know how to handle what can surface as a result of those changes. Here are five things to consider doing next time you are faced with an unexpected change.

  1. Accept the change. Although this may sound strange, but one of the first things we should do is to welcome the change. We shouldn’t be in denial about the change. Adopting the belief that all change we experience is for our highest good, is a great starting point.
  2. Acknowledge how you are feeling about the change. There are two possible scenarios when facing an unexpected — we’ll either have positive or negative emotions toward it. If you’re experiencing position emotions such as excitement or enthusiasm about a change, then obviously that’s a good thing. However if you’re experiencing negative emotions such as fear, resentment, anger or disappointment, rather than suppressing those emotions, it is extremely helpful to experience those emotions and allow them to move through you. This is where knowing some releasing techniques such as emotional freedom technique or tapping or The Sedona Method or being able to meditate on the change can be extremely helpful.
  3. Assess your options. If we have negative emotions toward an unexpected change, it can be very easy to only consider what’s bad about it. Instead, by being able to change our mindset about the change, we’ll be in a better position to ask different but empowering questions, which are all part of assessing our options. Questions like, What’s good about this change? or What new opportunities can this change bring? will trigger our brain to come up with new answers which we may not have considered previously.
  4. Act appropriately. It is important to remember that all our actions have consequences. In the midst of something that is unexpected, people tend to behave irrationally only to regret later. Therefore we must be conscious of what we are saying and how we are behaving. Sometimes doing simple things like taking a break or going for a walk to clear your thoughts can do wonders when coping with change.
  5. Ask for help or guidance. Rather than try and work through the change on your own, it is very beneficial to seek guidance from those you trust. Also, asking someone who has been through a similar change can help tremendously. That is why peer support groups are so popular. Anyone facing serious health challenges will almost always to be able to find support groups that can help them deal with their situation. The key is to know that help is always available — all we need to do is to have the courage to reach out and ask for help.

Chances are that we will continue to experience many more changes in our lives — some may be good, some may be challenging and some may be unexpected. How we deal with them really defines who we are. These suggestions will help you next time you have to cope with something unexpected in your life.

Question: What else can be done when dealing with unexpected change?

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  • Jane Ransom

    Great post, Neel! Especially important as the rate of change in our daily lives is speeding up. Thanks!

    • Neel Raman

      I totally agree with you. It’s almost as if more things are changing than remaining the same. Thank you for your comment!