A recent request for technical support resulted in the impressively quick arrival of a new hard drive. Within 10 minutes, I transitioned from Windows XP to Windows 7. I was told to expect minimal work impact. Consider that the change occurred just as I was developing a workshop, creating PowerPoints, outlining a proposal and writing an email – all of which were time sensitive.
The technician left and I went back to work – well not really. I was overwhelmed. Nothing was where I expected it to be. I couldn’t locate my email folders with archived information, all contacts were lost, tailored menu bars and icons were gone and I didn’t know how to open or close emails, files or apps.
Completely flustered, my initial response was to panic – not really appropriate for someone who specializes in change leadership. When I realized it was going to take some time to navigate the new platform, I took a deep breath and explored the site and options. At the same time I was thinking, “What a great story for my next change workshop.”
Yes, it took me a little longer to accomplish my tasks. Yes, it required letting go of the familiar; there was no safety net, I couldn’t go back to the previous platform to see pages and menus that were familiar. I am fortunate to have a colleague who showed me key aspects of Windows 7 and who empathized having gone through a similar experience months earlier – thank you, Miranda.
It’s one thing to talk about change techniques and another to practice them when it hits home. Here are some reminders to help you transition more confidently:
Be compassionate with yourself – you won’t be able to do things as quickly or efficiently when learning something new, but you’ll get there
Breathe – when anxious or stressed, we have a tendency to tense up and take shallow breaths which limits oxygen to our brains and impacts our thinking and problem solving
Look up – we focus and fixate when stressed and lose sight of the bigger picture – remember, this is a temporary situation, it will get better
Choose asset-based thinking – ask yourself, “What will I learn/gain from this change and how can I leverage it in terms of my ability to adapt more quickly and effectively when dealing with future change challenges?”
Change is a process not an event and we all get there if we remember to practice these steps.