When you woke up this morning, how did you feel? Tired? Impending Gloom? Excited? Anxious? Waking up from the fog of sleep can be something of a turbulent time, waking up from CoVid19 can be a new season all in itself.
As this new season dawns, a time post-Covid, we have started to see a flourishing of business owners and entrepreneurs who have arisen through the cracks and darkness that a crisis has to offer, whilst some seedlings have remained in the shadows, almost too afraid to see where the light is, stuck and frozen to the spot.
Moving through any change in business, can, at times, feel like a grieving process in itself. We feel in denial at what has happened, hoping that it is some nightmare that we have slept through and awoken to the realisation that it was “just a bad dream”. But this isn’t that, this is the reality of the new world we live in, and with adaptations to business means an adaptation of mind.
So how do we move through these challenging times? How will this journey unfold from newbie to fully singing and swaying tree in the breeze? One useful model to explore during this time is the Transition Curve, a modification of the Kubler-Ross Grief Stages, adapted by John Fisher at Leicester University in 2012.
As we move through business and life, whether as a coach or a reflection upon our own journey, we need to understand our perception of the past, present and future. What is our past experience of change and how has it impacted us? How did we cope? What will we be losing as part of this change and what will we be gaining? Our goal is to help make this transition as effective and painless as possible.
By analysing these areas, we gain an understanding, an education, information, and ultimate connect what support we need to help us transition through the curve and emerge on the other side.
One of the dangers for individuals and business owners is that we can get caught up in the emotion of the change and we may miss the signs (e.g., of threat, anxiety, etc) in ourselves and others. This could cause us to react by, or adopt a coping strategy of, complaining to anyone who will listen, and probably anyone who won't! Or we attempt to make things as they were (which also increase our stress levels as a result) and actively resist any attempts to change. Sound familiar?
Many clients ask me “Is there a way to jump off the curve? Or to use a shortcut through the meadow?” Honest answer, we have to go through it – BUT In doing so, we come our stronger, wiser and more knowledgeable of who we are and who our business is!
As with any change and transformation, there are no clear boundaries to any of these stages. It is more of a gradual realisation that things have subtly changed. Much of the speed of transition will depend on the individual's self-perception, locus of control, and other past experiences, and how these all combine to create their anticipation of future events.
Surely there has to be SOMETHING that can help?!
You are correct! As a Business Owner, we often look at the physical attributes of the company, of the policies, procedures, processes and systems that connect like cogs to keep the business moving along like a tractor during crop-rotation. BUT what we often fail to spend time on is looking out how our mindset impacts the overall system.
Looking at the curve and Anxiety, for example, Fisher believes the problem here is that individuals are unable to adequately picture the future. They do not have enough information to allow them to anticipate behaving in a different way within the new organisation. They are unsure how to adequately construe acting in the new work and social situations. Some simple steps to help this shift in mindset can be realigning your PURPOSE – have it written on post-it notes all around the house - utilising actions such as VISION BOARDS or GOAL SETTING or VISULISATION ACTIVITIES on a DAILY basis, all of which moves you towards a FOCUS of positive change as opposed to the emotion of anxiety.
HOWEVER, these are SMALL STEPS DAILY which build up to long term change, and not a giant leap for mankind!
Once we start to look at each step of the curve and look at ways in which to counteract the negative self-talk and emotions with actions that support our growth and mindset, we start to swing the balance of control – realising that WE are in control of our MINDS – how we CHOOSE to use it, change its mouldability, and live with a new understanding of self.
But we all know that the gremlin of self-talk can be destructive – knocking every ounce of confidence, self-belief determination. So how do we counteract that inner critic, at times when it is louder than any fog-horn we have ever experienced.
Firstly, acknowledge and understand the voice. We often find ourselves in a sense of battle and inner turmoil, going 10 rounds with the inner critic who seems to get stronger by the second. By fighting it, we actually GIVE IT POWER. Having an acknowledgment of the voice is our first piece of awareness as to what is REALLY going on underneath it. We can start to ask questions:
- What do I really need to help sooth this voice?
- What comfort do I need?
- What support do I need?
- What is this voice telling me about my fears?
- What is this voice telling me about my past-beliefs?
- Are these words really true? Are there any facts to them?
Usually our inner critic is hiding the deeper-level emotional need that we are missing and through acknowledgement and questioning we can start to tap into it.
With a little more understanding of the deeper level, we can start to choose our responses and HOW we seek out the needs of the emotional level. We can start to CHALLENGE the facts and the stories that we are telling ourselves. For example – for every voice that says:
- There is no way that you will be able to achieve this.
We can counteract it with all the times we have achieved things in life and business, especially the times when we were up against it.
Through CHOOSING our responses, even our environment and the culture that is around us, we can start to create a better energy to “flip” the mindset.
NB. REMINDER ON CHOICE
It takes a whole heap of energy to think the negative, it takes a whole heap of energy to choose different. But we do have a choice on which energy we want to work and focus on.
We each have around 60’000 thoughts a day. Imagine if 80% of those are currently negative. That is 48’000 negative thoughts a day. What if we start to bring our awareness to flipping that percentage – to focus on reducing it from 80% to 70% to 60% all the way down to 20% daily?
Slowly, step by step, with daily practices we can do that. Just by:
- Muting social media notifications that trigger us
- Unfollowing social media people and posts and that bring comparative and negative though
- Creating daily affirmations and visualisations
- Creating daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
- Connecting with 5 positive beings that support you and lift you up.
- Participating in exercise.
- Adequate nutrition and hydration to fuel your new way of life
- Daily meditation, reading, learning and growing.
- Connecting with nature daily – feeling the grass under your feet.
- Creating team business meetings that drive change and create a harnessing culture
- Measuring your progress in life and business and ensuring that it is visible daily.
- Changing around your office to be more open space and allow for free flowing energy
- Opening your mind to creativity and expression.
- Following a steps goal to increase your daily activity.
- Switching off your mobile phone daily for hours to free your mind from distraction.
- Collaborate with someone on a project so that you can share ideas and support each other
- Gain an accountability partner for change – whether a coach, partner or colleague.
There are so many ways that we can start to work with the transition model – change is not easy, but what we gain through change can be life altering, life affirming and eye-opening when it comes to business and success.
We sit in a world of impatience, of lacking empathy, of wanting “more time”…..
But all of those are as if we are waiting for an external force to push us through the curve.
When really all we need is to focus on our own wellies, our own steps, and the choices and practices we are putting into place to move us through transition.