“We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” Charles Swindoll
You may or may not have heard about the fact that we’re experiencing some pretty big changes in our department. Next week I’ll be working for Human Resources. This change, for me, feels pretty positive in a variety of ways. Change can be stressful though, no matter if the outcomes feel positive or negative. There are a lot of departments here at UBC who have gone through or are going through change and so I thought it would be remiss of me not to say something about this big change we’re going through. Change is stressful as it demands us to rethink what we’re doing, what our priorities are, how we do what we do and who we answer to. It makes us feel as though we don’t know what’s happening, or what’s going to happen, and that can cause a lot of anxiety.
So I’m dedicating this blog post to my colleagues at UBC who are undergoing change, particularly my colleagues in Health, Safety and Environment. Although you might be used to it, or new to it, either way change impacts our health and I think talking about organizational change can help us to maintain our health and happiness.
So let me share with you what I’m doing to deal with change.
1. Focus on Positivity. It would be easy to groan and gripe about new challenges and to wish for things to stay the same. I honestly know, however, that there are a lot of new opportunities to learn from new colleagues, new ways of doing things, and new connections I can develop by working for HR. I also know a lot of folks in HR that I like, so there’s a bonus for me! I feel pretty connected already to them since a variety of my initiatives are part of the HR Focus on People strategy, which means I’ll feel even more support for my work. This will likely lead me to further success (so why would I complain?). So my attitude is: when I’m faced with a new challenge, I’m going to simply accept it, and then move on with confidence that I have a lot of positive opportunities to outweigh the challenges.
2. I am acknowledging things I cannot control. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, and what decisions are going to be made. Let’s be honest: the changes may or may not be helpful for me. Either way, I’m confident that myself and my colleagues can deal with whatever may come. When I accept change as inevitable and remember that that either way, whenever I’ve experienced difficult changes in my life, in the long run I’ve been better off for it, change doesn’t feel so overwhelming. So even when things are “handed down from above,” I know that I can make choices about what’s right for me and what opportunities are a good fit. In the past, I have struggled to see that I have more options than I even know- that there are more opportunities than I am even aware of- and that the one way that I see that things should go (for me), is not necessarily the best way for everyone. So I’m focused on speaking up so my leadership has some of my perspective and then trusting them and myself that we’ll figure it all out for the best when the dust settles.
3. I’m acknowledging losses. I’m losing colleagues in this change (many of them are moving onto the Risk Management department). Honestly that makes me sad- I really like these people and although we’re assuredly going to see each other, I know that relationships change and that I’ll miss them. I’m doing what I can to personally accept those losses, and be aware of the sadness that it brings. I am also going out of my way to lend my support to colleagues in ways that align with my own values and personal loyalties. I’m acknowledging that it’s part of the process, that change is inevitable and that some of these changes are outside of my control, so all I can do is accept that they are what they are. I used to have a friend drive me crazy with the phrase, “It is what it is,” but now I find it very valuable.
Those are some of my ideas, right now in the midst of a big change at work. There’s a lot of information out there about dealing with change at work (just do a Google search!), and we obviously have Counselling Services through the Employee Family Assistance Program too which can help us deal with life transitions.
So here’s to change in our lives. It really is happening daily, so let’s make the best of it. I hope we can always find some good in it. I hope we can always find our way through it. I hope we can always know that we’re better off for it. Because if things stayed the same, then we would (metaphorically) still all be in diapers!
All my best,