(Photo provided by Miltiadis Fragkidis via Unsplash)
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is rising. Yet, when I open my social media, the photos posted by friends seem like replicas of summers from years past. While most around the globe accept the reality of COVID-19’s existence, hundreds have refused to process the real-time implications of their individual actions in contributing to and exacerbating the state of this pandemic. I saw this take shape recently in a Board of County Commissioners Workshop in the U.S. where various residents offered testimony against the potential mandate of face masks in public spaces.
Yet, I wonder: Is it really about the masks or the shift in mindset from personal want to collective need?
(Photo provided by United Nations COVID-19 Response via Unsplash)
Within the work space, we see minor and milestone changes take place in departmental restructuring, new fires and hires, alterations in policies and — as of recent — an increase in flexibility around teleworking. We are being asked to change our habitual realities; to shift the how of what we do. Some I know embraced this notion of Home Office with open arms. Others ran the other way. A client recently explained that for her, it was the idea of change itself that spurred the greatest anxiety, rather than the actual notion of working from home. I feel she is not alone.
Our brains pine for certainty.
NeuroLeadership Institute illustrates how — through creating predictable circumstances, we “optimize [our] ability to live.” (See NLI article Why Change Is so Hard — and How to Deal with It.) This process takes place in the mind, where the human brain responds to change either as an opportunity or threat, as shown below.
(Photo by NeuroLeadership Institute, 2019)
Change challenges our basic understanding of personal control over the internal and external circumstances in our lives; it shatters what we expect to happen, replacing the outcome with an unknown and uncertain end.
However, when faced with change, we have the agency to choose how it manifests in our lives.
Change as a positive experience: Change can be good. Oh, it can be GREAT. We need to choose to see and accept change moments as a challenge — as opportunities for growth, rather than a threat. With a growth mindset, we choose to process change with flexibility, seeing change as a healthy challenge and chance to learn, grow and develop as humans.
Change as an adaption of our norm: As we move forward, remember that every (un)expected alteration is a transformation of self. In some cases, this means wearing a mask while in others it is taking on more hours when a colleague falls ill. It is with this evolution — the adaptation to unforeseen shifts in our lives — that we flourish.
Processing change does not come easily to most of us. For me, it is a learning process; one part of my own personal journey and professional growth.
While this may be the first and (hopefully) last pandemic we experience in our lifetime, it is by no means the only period of significant change that we will endure. Whether it be masks or mergers, change will come.
What relationship will you choose to ‘change’?
Keen to introduce a growth mindset in your every day? Schedule a call with Kim.
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