Handling Clouds of Uncertainty
Staying Calm Amid the Inevitable Tempests of Change
Hurricane WaMu. Tropical Storm Enron. The Lehman Brothers Tsunami. In the increasingly tumultuous climate of corporate America, it seems as if no place is safe.
Nowadays, most places of employment from small businesses to multinational corporations contain a pocket or two of whispering staffers fretting over the impending change that is about to hit their world, or complaining about the one that just took place. They have nervously listened to reports of economic doom and gloom, heard rumors circulating throughout the office corridors, watched a steady stream of co-workers come and go, and grumbled every time a new organizational chart was delivered to their E-mail inbox.
Theres no doubt about it: people are scared.
Whether it is the result of witnessing several of the largest bankruptcies in modern history, a hostile merger or acquisition, massive reductions in force, or simply a change in management, workers across the country are being negatively affected by the widespread changes taking effect in the workplace. Stress and anxiety levels are increasing, productivity is decreasing, and job-hopping is commonplace, thus further lowering already-basement-level employee morale.
If you have ever been in a major weather event such as a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, you are undoubtedly familiar with the few basic rules of survival and protection. Corporate changes are not unlike these natural occurrences, as they can often inflict similar emotional and financial upset. If you find yourself in the throes of yet another career shakeup, here are a few helpful hints for how not only to weather the storm, but also to emerge head and shoulders above your competition once the dust settles.
Now is the time to get grounded and centered. Take some deep breaths, and become your favorite tree (yes, you read it correctly: your favorite tree). Pretend that you have thick roots in your legs, and imagine that they are plunging deep into the ground below you. Trust that everything will happen exactly as it needs to in your highest good, and surrender to the Powers That Be. You are not in charge, but you have the ability to stay calm while the storm passes. Keep breathing!
Clean up afterward. At this point you are surveying the damage. As you look around, you cant help but notice the casualties and the huge amount of work ahead of you. First and foremost, give yourself permission to feel bad for a while, and honor the fact that you just went through a difficult challenge. If others are hurt by the change, extend a compassionate hand. But after a short period of time, decide that you want to get on with your life once again. Make a graceful exit from the pity party, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Start getting to know your new co-workers, learn the ins and outs of your new role or flesh out your next career trajectory. Whatever the results of the change are, know that the sooner you stop the self-destructive spin cycle of complaining, the quicker you will move back into a place of happiness and prosperity.
The spate of corporate fear can be addressed when we take our cues from the lessons of Mother Nature. By adequately preparing for and weathering the inevitable tempests of change, you will clearly set yourself apart from the rest of the people who are still cowering around the water cooler, hoping that tapping their heels three times will return them to a safe, static work environment. Through awareness, preparation, centeredness, and acceptance, you will move swiftly through the blowing winds of change and ultimately emerge more joyful and successful than ever before.v
Theresa Rose is an inspirational speaker and author of the newly released Opening the Kimono. As the founder of Serious Mojo Publications, Theresa specializes in fresh approaches to energy management, productivity, and creative development. Her past experience includes several entrepreneurial and management positions, including owner of an alternative-healing center, senior manager of marketing and product development for a Fortune 100 telecommunications firm, and vice president of a consulting firm specializing in higher education;www.theresarose.net