On Monday, the United States elected a new president and many new members of the U.S. Congress. How Americans voted brought us to the threshold of change. There was another big change for those connected to the University of Tennessee this week, as its long-time football coach Phil Fulmer resigned from what is no doubt the most visible and highest paid position at that university.
No matter what our preferences and beliefs about these two changes, each brings opportunity to look at ourselves and how we react to large shifts in the environment around us. Our habitual reactions to change and the behaviors we exhibit at these times have enormous impact, not just on us personally but also in our businesses. Here are ways to benefit from changing times.
- Honor the departing person
No matter whether I am very glad to see the person go or not, it benefits me to take stock of what that person has accomplished or failed to accomplish, the traits I admire or truly detest, the strengths of the person, and the weaknesses that caused the change to occur. Noticing and reflecting on these things teaches me to see good in all beings, to be aware of my own hot buttons, to dissect for myself what I am drawn to and what repels me. Knowing these things strengthens me and helps me to navigate both personal and business relationships with more honestly and clarity.
- Acknowledge that change opens the door for new possibilities
Even when the situation causes anguish, anger, or sadness there is still a different energy and a different situation that absolutely WILL bring new possibilities to all parties – even the departing one! The trick is to step back from our attachment to what we wanted. So long as my energy is bound up in holding on to my preferences and desires, there is little energy free to see the opportunities and possibilities embedded within the change. If you think that there are NO good opportunities in the new order of things, it is a sure sign that you are clinging to your wants. Sometimes, we cling to our point of view for or against the change very strongly, talking about it and trying to prove our point of view over and over again. Often, this is a defense against feeling and letting go of the strong emotions we hold toward someone or something. Our energy is stuck until we are willing to let go.
- Honor the new person
Even when the person is one you don’t like and have not supported, it’s much more beneficial to you to build relationship with the person than to hunker down and refuse to deal. The new person has both good and bad points, same as the previous person and the same as you. Getting to know the new person gives you insight into what these good and bad points are and how to most effectively work together. Assume the positive – that the relationship will be beneficial to you and to the other person. People in new positions are sensitive to how others are reacting – if that person feels your support and interest at the outset, you will set a good foundation. In time, having built on what you can, you might even be able to influence their beliefs and behaviors – perhaps the very ones you do not like! Honoring creates openness and possibility.
Taking stock of your reactions, beliefs, and behaviors during times of change strengthens you and provides the best framework for moving forward. Doesn’t that sound like a good way to help your business thrive?