Advice Centre

How To Remain Positive When Facing Change


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Change rears its head many time in your working life - whether its due to personal circumstances or those out of your control, it's important to know how to handle change to ensure the best outcome, and that you don't affect the opportunities in the work place. 

We asked the advice of Emma Shute and Jenny Pollock who are the founders and coaches of Women to Work too give their advice on how to remain positive when you're faced with change - male or female, these two coaching techniques and top tips still apply: 

A view from...


Stay In Control 

Ultimately change is going to happen, it's ironically about the only thing we can be sure of! Often we will have very little control over a situation, but one thing is certain - we can all still control the way we respond and our attitude to a given situation. 
Perhaps a changing situation is leaving you feeling worried, or concerned about something. Perhaps your worries attract worries, and before you know where you are you have a whole long list of 'worries' that's leaving you feeling worked up! 

And Stay Calm...

Try these quick and easy tactics to keep you on track. 
  1. Write down everything you are worrying about in a big list  - get it all down, big or small. 
  2. Now take each statement and consider whether that statement and consider whether that statement is "True", "False" or "Don't know" and write this down next to each statement 
  3. For all of the "false" statements put a cross through them and forget them! They are not true so there is no reason to worry about them! 
  4. For all of the "true" statements, consider some options that might help you to deal with them; e.g. discuss with an employer, support from a friend, find out some more information, practice relaxation techniques or distract yourself through physical activity 
  5. For all of the "dont know" statements, how can you find out some more information so you can decide if this statement is "true" or "false"? Write down your ideas to gather some information... or make a promise to yourself that you won't worry about it until you know for a fact it is actually 'true' or 'false'.
In some situations it's the worry about what might happen that is more debilitating than the thing itself, so looking in detail what you know to be 'true' and eliminating the statements that are in fact 'false' or you 'don't know' can be really helpful. 

It's easy as ABC... 

Try the *ABCDE technique to change the way you think about a situation - In simple terms, we can change the way we respond to a situation by changing the way we think about it, and in particular by looking at the beliefs we hold about the situation.
A - Adversity - What is the problem being faced?
B - Belief(s) - What do I believe about this problem? 
C - Consequences - What are the consequences to me of holding on to this belief? What are the effects to me of feeling like that? E.g. scared, worried, stressed? 
D - Disputation - Dispute the belief. Look at it differently and make a choice - choose a different approach, a different way of looking at it. 
E - Energisation - What difference does this change of belief make? Am I now more likely to take positive action? How do I feel now?
An important question to ask yourself when using this technique is, "what price do I pay for holding onto these beliefs?". Ultimately I am the only person who can control what I think about a situation and I have a choice to change those thoughts and beliefs. 
It can take time to embed this approach into your every day thinking and sometimes writing down the elements of ABCDE can be helpful. With practice this technique can be used regularly and efficiently in many different scenarios. 
Remember, change happens, you can choose how you respond. It's not always easy, but practice with these tools really helps. 
For more information on Women to Work - www.womentowork.co.uk -- Women to Work help people deal with change through their Work Life Discovery Workshops and One to One Coaching 
*The ABCDE Technique devices from the work of two leading cognitive behavioural therapists, researches and therapists, Aaron Beck (1976) and Albert Ellis (1962). The technique was then adapted by Professor Martin Seligman, author of "Learned Optimism" (1990).