Over the last week the UK has seen unprecedented political change. Described by many as the most significant political event of our lifetime, the referendum dust has yet to settle. Regardless of how you cast your vote, one thing is certain, as a country we’re now on course for Brexit and change. And change is something that can be tricky, for individuals, companies and countries alike. It’s even harder, if like the 48% of ‘Remain’ voters, you don’t choose it. Uncertainty coupled with change that is imposed brings it’s own set of challenges and sometimes, that’s painful.
The change curve based upon the work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, detailing the bereavement cycle, is a useful model when considering your own personal response to the referendum. We can already see the first stage of the cycle in action; shock and denial. A study of more than 1,760 British people conducted early this week by 5 News and YouGov found that a third of those questioned believed that Brexit won’t happen. An additional third also wanted a second referendum, believing that the outcome will be different next time. Alongside this, the national media discuss the delay of initiating Article 50. It’s easy to see how the belief that it might never happen has evolved. All classic Kubler Ross stages of change. We’ll move through several stages as a nation over the coming months; shock and denial, confusion, anger and frustration, depression, testing out, decision making and finally integration. As Kubler Ross said, change can be disturbing when it is done to us, sometimes exhilarating when it is done by us.
Whether you were team leave or remain you’ll still be experiencing change against a backdrop of doom laden headlines and seismic political change. Perhaps you already recognise where you are on the curve? Or find yourself oscillating between two different stages? And if you do, how do you begin to work out how to move forwards?
How best can you meet the challenge and manage our own response to change? Look no further, here’s our
5 Step Guide
Develop Self Awareness:
A great starting point is to identify your personality type (go to https://positivechangeguru.com/discover-your-personality-type/ to take our free personality type questionnaire and receive your free report). Identifying your type and recognising how you respond to change can be the first step in planning your change roadmap. Knowing yourself and being aware of your own personal change response will be invaluable in helping you to navigate change. Take the questionnaire with friends, colleagues or family to identify your change response, helping each other to adapt and cope.
Monitor your self talk:
If your self talk around Brexit is sending you into a spin and you’re on a downward spiral start to monitor that Brexit narrative. When you catch yourself thinking the worst, ask “Am I 100% certain this is true? Where’s the evidence? Look for alternative perspectives. Limit your exposure to media negativity. Focus your thinking on what you can control. Post referendum, Brexit is largely beyond your control, taking a reflective approach may be the way to go. Accepting that there are things beyond your control and choosing to be ok with this is likely to bring greater calm than playing the blame game or focusing on the negative. View change as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Build your resilience:
Practice mindfulness, it will improve your ability to manage stress levels, at the same time building your Brexit resilience. Mindfulness will also move you away from ‘automatic pilot’ shifting into habitual negative thinking patterns, helping you to recognise these and move towards a more productive ‘here and now’ response instead. Research by Baje and Pande’s found “Mindful people can better cope with difficult thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed or shutting down”. To help you come back to here-and-now, the practice offering the biggest ROI on time and energy is mindful breathing. Breathing mindfully means being fully aware of your breath, of the air coming into your nostrils, through the nasal cavities and all the the way into (and out) your lungs. If you’re new at this, it may help you to accompany the breathing with a few words, such as “I am breathing in. I am breathing out.” Or for short “ In” as you breathe in, “Out” as you breathe out. If you manage to take ten to fifteen mindful breaths, you’re practicing mindfulness and on your way to some post Brexit calm.
Manage your wellbeing:
As you make your way through the cycle of change you’ll experience ups and downs in your energy levels and motivation. It sounds obvious, but when you hit ‘depression’ in the centre of the cycle, you’ll feel depleted and drained. Anticipate this, it’s a normal part of the cycle and a common stress response. Start to manage your wellbeing by looking after yourself, participating in activities that renew and replenish you; go for a walk, eat well, make time to relax, spend time with friends.
Develop a support network:
Build a positive network. Start to develop your own positivity (read some of the blogs or watch the videos on this site to kickstart your plan). Build a network of positive people who you can spend time with. Remember Jim Rohn’s five people average? The five people we spend the most time with have the biggest influence on us. Spend time with friends and look at ways to build more positivity into your life to give your wellbeing a boost.
And finally, we’ll leave you with this from Reinhold Niebuhr “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971).
We love to talk change at Positive Change Guru. Check out our forthcoming events or get in touch to find out more about our suite of courses and discuss bespoke change management training for your organisation.