Dealing with Change in your Life and Career

You have likely experienced change in one form or another personally and professionally in the past year. The way in which you respond to or perceive change will be different for each individual. As a career coach, my clients are typically in various stages of change when we first meet and then proceed to experience a further adjustment period as we work together. Some clients come to me as they have a desire to transform either an aspect of their career or their career entirely. In many cases, it appears that sometimes, the act of reaching out to a professional for help with career modification precipitates the career change. My role for many of my clients is to work collaboratively and navigate the unpredictability that is inherent in change.

The transition process is usually a combination of internal and external change. What I mean by internal change is assisting clients with tools and techniques to overcome stress, anxiety and resistance that is common with modification. Conversely, some clients are enthusiastic and relish change, but this energy too sometimes needs to be channeled strategically in order to optimize the change experience. My clients also benefit from working through a process that includes self-perception and how to relate to others, both personally and professionally. Being able to manage transition internally typically has a positive affect on how clients understand and handle the external change.

Managing change is the key element for both the anxious and enthusiastic client, and the spectrum of clients along this change continuum. Often, it can seem that a lot of change can occur at once, both positive and negative. It can also happen in a short period of time. If the adjustment period is not managed with due diligence, even change that may be viewed as positive could be overwhelming and have a detrimental outcome. Can you think of an instance when you felt that you handled transition well or did not handle it well? Were there any themes that you noticed in this example that might appear as patterns you repeat when you experience change? Have you been able to learn from this experience? Can you identify what it is that you have learned? These are a sample of some questions you might consider when analyzing your perception of change and the transition process.

In any situation where you undergo change, are you able to be non-judgemental, and accepting of yourself in the state of transition? If you can appreciate the change and yourself in the full experience of the change state, congratulate and acknowledge that self-awareness. If like many people, you do find that you are self-critical and judging yourself, stop to pause and try to be present in this struggle of self-criticism and self-judgement to see if you can determine the source of these feelings. You may be surprised at the answer. Or, you may need to reach out to external resources to help answer this objectively. Such external resources may be in the form or a family member, close friend, self-help books or similar, or for some, a professional.

As we consider the close of 2012 with the promise and potential of a new year, what changes are you contemplating? How are you approaching and dealing with change in your life and career for 2013?