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As technology changes communication and culture, the business landscape is also in constant flux. A person’s professional life is seen as the foundation for personal life maintenance—without a job there is no money for shelter, food, or stability for the individual or their family. So, when the workplace feels unstable, it is natural for workers to feel deeply threatened. One American Psychological Association study identified that “regardless of the economic climate,” money is consistently the leading stressor for Americans. Work (if employed) follows closely as the second major stressor, substantially ahead of family responsibilities and then health concerns.
If you are working in a business or industry undergoing cultural, process, or labor changes, there are some methods you can use to weather the changes and come out stronger and more confident on the other side:
Too often, scary feelings are suppressed in an effort to “put on a brave face.” But this avoids actually facing your feelings and situation. Instead, truly consider what you are feeling: Are you scared, angry, confused, sad…? Once you have narrowed down some feelings, try turning them into sentences. For example: I am confused about where I will fit in the new department structure. I am scared my job may be in jeopardy. This process helps you gain a clearer focus to move forward.
Once you have articulated your feelings and concerns to yourself bring them to comfortable and appropriate workplace channels. Talk with your supervisor or human resource manager. There are structures in place to support your professional clarity, especially in times of change. Use these tools to gain further insight and possibly peace of mind.
It may be tempting to indulge and even participate in rumor consumption and spreading, but this will never help anyone and can only exacerbate an already stressful environment. This goes back to method #2; appropriate channels will have more credible information for you than break-room banter.
Aversion to change can stem from a feeling of powerlessness and lack of control. When experiencing change at work, establishing goals can help you both stay focused while also giving you a sense of purpose and direction. Additionally, setting mini-goals (smaller steps toward big goals) allows you to experience task-completion satisfaction more regularly.
Meditation comes in many styles and can be tailored to fit your emotions and needs. Not everyone can sit and clear their minds on command. For others—especially busy meeting and event professionals—there are many inexpensive (or free) meditation apps like Headspace and Calm, which guide you through short, voice-led meditations, relaxing sounds, or breathing exercises to reduce your stress and increase your mental clarity.
While the above methods are specifically aligned with workplace change, any of them could be used to maintain confidence while managing other major life changes as well. Change is inevitable – however, growth from it is a choice.
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