You’ve heard it all before: Stop. Breathe. Feel. But how does this apply to your career?
In a fast-changing world, where so many people transition from one job to another for a variety of reasons, author and a former human resource executive Patti Digh says it’s important to learn how to handle the big changes in work and life.
“Any time you make a change, there is something you leave behind, and you should recognize that loss regardless of how it happened,” she explains. In June 2013, Digh will publish a “The Geography of Loss,” (Globe Pequot Press), a book about navigating those big changes in life, from the death of a loved to a career change.
Digh says that in times of transition, it’s important to keep a positive perspective, particularly in difficult economic and political moments when so much seems out of control.
“You need to ask yourself: Am I approaching life and work as if it were a finite or an infinite game? A finite game is one I play to win. An infinite game is one I play to learn,” she explains.
There is a vast difference between the two. And playing to learn is especially important during times of change.
Also consider the words you use, such as “I have to” or “I can’t”, and change them to “I choose to” or “I choose not to” because ultimately, even though you believe things are happening to you, you’re really making choices within your circumstances, she says.
“If you adopt the language of choice in every moment, it opens up an amazing power and freedom for you,” she adds.
Change allows for a time of contemplation. Digh says you should recognize that you are not always in control of circumstances. Things happen that are beyond anyone’s control. “But we are always in choice about how we are within those circumstances.
Digh offers three steps for navigating loss and change
1) Embrace what is: The sooner you go from what was envisioned to the reality, the healthier you will be. This means letting go of any idea of what we could have been. Focus on the reality.
2) Honor what was: Don’t move forward without discarding the past. It’s important to honor it and recognize how the past (specifically the job) has shaped you intellectually and professionally.
3) Love what will be: Choose the story you will live. Decide how to own the series of events that will come around. Basically, make the best of it.
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