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How to deal with a change that you didn’t choose, don’t want and don’t like

How to deal with a change your didn't choose, don't like and don't want.

Change is part of life. Some changes in our life and work will be ones we choose, love and want. Others will be ones that we didn’t choose, don’t like and don’t want.

When a change happens in your life or work that you didn’t want, like or choose, it can feel extremely difficult to deal with and navigate.

It could be things like a relationship ended, you lost your job, your business is hit hard by a downturn, an illness or accident happen, your organisation made changes that aren’t a fit for you etc.

It can trigger all sorts of emotions that are very strong and feel overwhelming.

Depending on the change that happened, emotions can include things like, grief, shock, anger, bitterness, resentment, hopelessness, sadness, stress, overwhelm, self doubt and low confidence, to name but a few!

Those are strong and powerful emotions.

Dealing with those emotions and finding an effective way to deal with them and the situation are critical to what happens next.

That is because your emotions drive your behaviour and actions, and your behaviour and actions drive your outcomes.

So, whilst you might not have chosen, like or want the change that has happened, you can determine what happens next by the way you approach the situation and your emotions.

To help you with that, here are some things to consider:

1. Accept what is.

You might not have chosen, want or like this change, but if it is out of your control, accepting the reality of the situation is going to help and support you in working through the situation, your emotions and your next steps.

Accepting the situation doesn’t mean you agree with it, condone it or like it. It just means that you acknowledge what is real and true about a situation. Acceptance helps you get in a better state to manage your next steps. It is very freeing, mentally and emotionally.

2. Embrace your emotions – all of them.

Whatever emotions come up for you, embrace them. Emotions aren’t a sign of weakness they are a sign you are human!  Ignoring, supressing or not constructively dealing with them could result in keeping you stuck.

Acknowledging and embracing your feelings and emotions puts you in the driving seat as you deal with things that can feel difficult and overwhelming. It will help you get unstuck.

A great resource on this topic is the book Emotional Agility by Susan David.

Emotional Agility by Susan David3. Create a vision of the ideal outcome, that is within your sphere of control

When you create a new vision of what you want to have happen next, you are taking steps to driving an outcome that best serves you moving forward. You are putting yourself back in the driving seat and makes you feel back in control of your life or work. Focus your time and energy on turning your new vision into reality.

4. Be careful who you listen to and who you surround yourself with.

Who you surround yourself with and who you listen to at times like this makes a big difference, so choose wisely. Surround yourself with positive, constructive solution focused people. You might benefit from seeking out an expert, coach, consultant, training course or mentor that will help you navigate effectively the change, emotions and challenges you are going through.

5. Priortise self-care and self-compassion

Navigating periods of change that your didn’t choose, want or like can be mentally, emotionally and physically draining. Self-care and self-compassion are important to prioritise. Not only will they boost and support your mental and physical energy, they will help with reducing stress and overwhelm. Do more of the things that boost your mental and physical energy. Avoid energy drainers like the plague.

When you are navigating a change in life or work that you don’t like, didn’t choose or don’t want keep this in mind:

We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we respond.

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  • Martin Haworth

    It’s critical be able to differentiate between what you can and can’t do during imposed change.

    And you may well be able to do more about it than you think.

    Be creative around that and let that use your energy rather than by being angry and upset for too long (a little is normal and quite acceptable!).

  • Great point Martin.

  • Pam@over50feeling40

    The point about being careful who you listen to and who you surround yourself with is so important. It makes a huge difference to discern who is your real mentor, friend, and confidant. Be careful about trusting just anyone with what you are experiencing.

  • Totally agree. Well said.

  • My “perfect job” is turning out to be not-so-perfect atm Ali – I’m busy working on #1, #3 and #5 – the energy drainer I work with is my biggest problem and whether I stay and deal with her or whether I move on is what I’m busy figuring out. Not what I’d planned for when I accepted this too-good-to-be-true position!

  • Leanne, so sorry to hear that things aren’t working out as you had hoped. But great that you are being proactive with working on it.

  • Darlene Berkel

    Spot on! One of the only constant things in life is CHANGE. # 2 and # 5 are crucial. Embracing ALL your emotions ( the good the bad and the UGLY) is important, and self care has got to be at the top of the list when dealing with major changes.

  • Great suggestions. Choosing who to listen to, and who to surround yourself with has been key for me.

  • Walker, that one makes a big difference for sure.

  • Shari Broder

    Right on. Love this piece. Thanks!

  • Thank you Shari. Delighted that you enjoyed it.

  • LaurieStone

    All so helpful, especially acceptance to what is. That can be hard, but vital. Thanks for these reminders.

  • Laurie, I agree, that one is absolutely vital.

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