Happy 2017 – ringing in the changes and building your resilience to change

In her third instalment of Happy 2017- ringing in the changes, our Learning and Development Manager, Christine Henderson , discusses the importance of adapting to change and taking, or relinquishing, control. Read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Following my blogs in January and February, referring to the changes that we can expect in 2017 arising from Brexit and Trump, I’m going to outline some tips on building your resilience to change.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale outlines life events that contribute to your stress levels, they include:

  • Change in financial state
  • Change to a different line of work
  • Change in responsibilities at work
  • Change in working hours or conditions

It’s likely, either through Brexit or Trump (or both) more people will experience these changes this year than in previous years. So, what can you do boost your ability to cope with adversity and enhance your resilience to stress?christine blog - control

Lots of people will have seen Steven Covey’s tool before, but it’s a useful reminder to stop wasting energy on the things that we can’t control, for example, other people’s expectations of us. I work with my boss to set my objectives, that way she knows what to expect from me in the workplace.  I work to achieve those objectives and let her know when things outside of my control impact on my progress.  She then forms her views on my performance…but that’s the limit of my control.  When things don’t go to plan, I let my boss know and I consider what I could have done differently so that I can do better next time, but that’s the limit of my control.  If I think it’s information that others might benefit from, I share it with them….but, yep, that’s the limit of my control.  If they’re not interested, or don’t use the information (even when I think they should be doing something about it) I have to just leave it – that’s the limit of my control.

The circles of control and influence are useful reminders of when you might just be wasting energy on the stuff you can do nothing about.

Things you can control – these are things that depend entirely on you eg your words, your actions, your ideas, your effort, your behaviour.

Things you can influence – these are things that depend on others too and might include your ability to influence how others see you, what you can teach others and who you choose to spend time with.

Things you can’t control – these are things that depend entirely on others eg the weather, co-worker gossip, people dying, past regrets, the meaning of life, the economy (unless your Governor of the Bank of England….and that’s questionable).

So if you haven’t seen this tool before, here’s how you can use it…. consider whether it’s something you can control, something you can influence or something out of your control.  If it’s the latter, forget about it, if it’s the former do what you can and let it go (thanks Elsa!)

christine blog -boat pic

I’ve found this tool useful too – the boat and water level analogy (Dr Chris Johnstone) is another way of considering resilience and maximising resources available during times of change. Dr Johnstone (the College of Wellbeing) likens wellbeing to rowing along in a boat – adversity can be considered the rocks beneath the surface.  When your wellbeing is depleted, the water level drops, the rocks are closer to the surface, it’s more easy to hit them and be impacted by adversity.

The downward pressure on the water level comes from poor diet, toxins such as alcohol, sugar, tobacco, poor sleep, lack of fresh air and exercise.

Upward pressure on the water level comes from various factors such as sleeping well, eating well, personal care, reflection on successes, achievements and progress, learning from experience.

Take some time to reflect on things that you do that strengthen your system, consider the days when you feel that you’ve easily been floating far above the rocks. While you’re reflecting, draw the boat floating on the water above the rocks and use forcefield analysis to consider how to strengthen your resilience.

What weakens / undermines my resilience – draw those in as downward arrows

What adds to my resilience – draw those in as upward arrows

Knowing what depletes and what cultivates your resilience, identify small things you can do to grow your resilience a little at a time. You can use these tools to look after number one, but share them too.  Surround yourself with people who respond badly to change and you will inevitably hit the rocks of adversity.  Surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook, respond well to change and you will float over them effortlessly.