Change: It's a Good Thing

By Kristen Harris

Change is inevitable and necessary for growth. The world in general, and especially the creative industry, is constantly in flux. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. This is true for businesses, people, communities, organizations, everything.

This year is Portfolio Creative’s tenth anniversary and you can bet we’ve seen a LOT of change over the past decade. Every day we have to grow, learn and develop just to keep pace, and I think that’s a good thing.

I see positive opportunity in change. I actually like it…and even get a little bored when things stay same for too long. Here are my top ten lessons learned for embracing and making the most of change:

  1. Take action. Opportunities show up in all different shapes, sizes and disguises. When you’re open to new things, magic happens. Taking action requires courage, but if you don’t take any action then everyone else will just pass you by. Accept opportunities, and keep moving forward.
     
  2. Consider the future. Think about your goals. Will this change help you get closer to your goals? Even if it’s difficult, is this a necessary step in getting where you want to go? What seems uncomfortable today could help you get where you want to be in the future. Think long-term when making decisions.
     
  3. Communicate. If you’re leading others, share as much as you can as often as you can. Uncertainty can make changes a lot more stressful than they need to be. If you’re not in control of the overall situation, ask how you can help make the change successful. Be part of the solution.
     
  4. Reframe your thinking. Choose your attitude about change. It’s an inevitable part of life that leads to new and exciting opportunities. It’s going to happen, you might as well embrace it and not resist it.
     
  5. Stay Positive. Be grateful. Look for the benefits. Identify the potential upside in the current situation. Choose to stay positive and calm throughout the change process.
     
  6. It’s Temporary. Remind yourself that, while change can be difficult, the process won’t last forever.  Hang in there. You’ll get to the end and reap the rewards soon enough.
     
  7. Address your feelings. Uncertainty is difficult. Don’t let your feelings become a barrier to your ability to move forward. Work through your feelings by writing or talking to a supportive person in your life.
     
  8. It’s a process. Whether personal or professional, change is a process. Everything can’t and won’t happen immediately. Be patient and work through each stage as it comes.
     
  9. Control what you can. We are simply not in control of everything that happens in our life. People make unpopular decisions, companies hit hard times, the economy tanks, relationships fall apart…even when the change is not our own creation, we still have to accept it. Take control of the things you can control, and let go of the rest.
     
  10.  Relax. All change is stressful, even the good stuff. On a list of the most stressful events in a person’s life, right after the death of a loved one and imprisonment, are events like marriage, retirement, and gaining a new family member. Find a way to relax, and do it consistently. You’ll get through this; don’t make yourself overly stressed or physically ill because of it.

So much of successfully navigating change comes from our thoughts and beliefs about it. Developing the skills to manage change will serve you well both personally and professionally.