Coach Shula shares her tips for remaining flexible in times of change
This activity will explain:
-How reframing complaints can help you adapt.
-Why asking for help is OK.
-How to find new opportunities in times of change.
Limit ruminating and complaining.
While complaining about something might relieve frustration and might even feel good, it’s important to limit your complaining. We all need to get things off our chest, but complaining and ruminating can lead to a cycle of blaming (whether ourselves or others). Spending too much time in that space can lead to less productive and even harmful behaviors. When we complain or ruminate about something, we are focusing on the intricacies of the problem--the disappointments and the unpleasant and unwanted circumstances, rather than on taking action and trying to solve the actual problem.
To limit complaining, be mindful of the complaints themselves and the words you use when you’re blaming and complaining. When you notice yourself using those words, it’s time to pause and reframe the situation. Instead of saying, “Why me?”, think “What’s next?”. What can you do in the moment to make your situation better? Take the blame off yourself or others and see the situation for what it is.
Ask for and accept help.
Asking for help doesn't take away from your success. That mindset can be challenging, especially when you’re faced with a new situation or problem to solve. Look beyond the limits of your perspective. Asking for help doesn't make you seem incompetent, weak, or inefficient. It means you're resourceful, curious, and willing to innovate when necessary. Take down your walls and clear the path for bigger and bolder ideas that can come from collaborating with others.
Focus on the gain, not the loss.
When faced with a challenging situation, it’s easy to have a "glass-half-empty" outlook. We tend to fixate on what we’re losing. As a result, we don’t see the possibilities this change has to offer. Before a change feels exciting, it can feel threatening and intimidating. Successfully adopting the change takes a little creativity.
Approach each change from a place of curiosity rather than fear. Try being open, curious, and brave. See this new challenge as an opportunity to build new routines, do the things you couldn't before, or even improve your habits. Investigate the potential that a shift in your current reality can create for you. Let’s say you find yourself working from home for the first time in many many years. Ask yourself this question: what opportunities do I see in this new arrangement? Perhaps you can use the time you used to spend commuting, to cook all your meals at home and build healthier habits around nutrition. You may see this as an excellent opportunity to spend more time with your kids or significant other. Every change comes with an opportunity. Choose to see what the opportunity brings more often than what the change is taking away.
Find your port in the storm.
When everything around you feels entirely out of control, or even a little out of control, it helps to have a sense of stability and predictability. When there are so many unknowns, hold on to your positive habits. Having a regular grounding practice that can bring you back to the moment will help you recognize that there are some things in your control. You'll feel empowered to make better decisions, and will have clarity during the storm.
Your grounding ritual can be anything, such as having your morning coffee, practicing meditation, going for a walk, tucking your kids in at the end of the day, catching up with your best friend, or anything else that can put a smile on your face. Starting your day right or ending it in a way that feels good can make a huge difference in setting yourself up for success for rest that day. You'll be surprised how much something so little can do for you.
Don’t wait, create happiness.
Some people are only happy when they meet a standard they’ve set for themselves--money, losing weight, material possessions, professional status, social status. While they wait to achieve these things, they overlook what they have in the present. It can be a problem when we attribute our happiness or worth to external markers of success. Sure, getting a promotion is a fantastic accomplishment, but instead of saying to yourself, "I'll be happy when the promotion happens,” you can say, "I’m looking forward to a promotion, but I’m happy with what I have now." Your happiness is your responsibility, so don't wait for it, create it.
Happiness can depend on our attitudes toward small things, like appreciating a warm cup of coffee on a cold day or being thankful for sharing a meal with your family. Finding what you're grateful for and understanding why you’re grateful for can highlight what really matters to you.