How to Claim Your Power During Changing Times

How old do you feel? You could answer that question by telling me your age in years, but that wouldn’t answer the question. One of my best friends is 103 years of age, in great health and sharper than most people you might know. He gave up singing solos at church at 100 to give the younger folks a chance to take the stage. And he credits his daily horseback rides to keeping him feeling young.

I know other folks who are decades younger, but they’re boring and barely alive in their approach to life and work. They feel old, even though they’re young in age and healthy in body.

So how old do you feel? I have the answer. You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.

Coming in contact with a new idea. That’s an interesting concept, don’t you think?

Or another way of putting it, how much pain do you feel when you’re faced with change?

You see, it doesn’t matter if you like change or hate change in general … or agree or disagree with a particular change. You’re going to have to deal with it. And to have less pain and a more youthful feeling with regard to new ideas and change, try this.

► 1. Claim your power.

Don’t get sucked into whining, saying such things as: “These changes weren’t my idea so don’t expect me to make them work … or … There’s nothing I can do … and … All these changes in the company are doing nothing more than causing chaos and confusion. Why can’t they get their act together?”

When you talk and think like that, you turn yourself into a helpless victim. As businessman Robert Half said, “The search for someone to blame is always successful.” So don’t waste your time with your own victimization. After all, in most cases, the changes are going to go forward no matter what.

So reclaim your power. You are not helpless. Take a moment to recognize that you’re either a part of the solution or a part of the problem. And you WILL make a difference one way or another.

Take on this assignment. Think of a change you’re going through or a change you don’t like. Maybe your company is re-organizing and you don’t like their plan. Maybe you’ve had it with some policies coming out of Washington. Instead of whining about it, think of something you can DO to make things better for yourself. And DO IT NOW. Claim your power.

► 2. Break your addiction to your comfort zone.

I’m amazed at how many people live most or all of their lives in their comfort zones. They have the same friends, same hobbies, same jobs, same activities, same routes, same foods, and they even sit in the same place in every meeting at work or every service at church. They’re addicted to their comfort zones.

If you live too much of your life in your comfort zone, you will eventually feel bored. Boring turns to blah, blah turns to routine, and routine turns to rut. And after too much time in your comfort zone, you begin to wonder if you could change. You might even say, “that’s the way I’ve always done it.”

So what! That approach to new ideas and change will neuter you and your effectiveness.

By contrast, get out of your comfort zone. Take more “constructive” risks. It’s the only way to keep your change and resiliency muscles young and in shape.

As actor and director Woody Allen noted, “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you are playing it too safe.” And consultant Judith E. Glaser says, “People who don’t make mistakes aren’t trying hard enough to advance themselves or the organization.” In other words, “no pain, no gain.” It’s simply the way life works.

Of course, some spot-on training can speed up the process of breaking your addiction to “the way we’ve always done it” and becoming more effective in times of change. That’s why so many organizations are bringing me onsite to deliver my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program to their people.

When State Farm brought me onsite, Business Analyst Lori Reeser said, “I wish someone had given me these tools 20 years ago! I’ve had my share of successes but can only imagine how much higher I could have gone with the information I learned at the two-day Journey program. Now I’m in the exciting process of applying these techniques and looking forward to the best 20 years of my life.”

When the Mayo Clinic brought me onsite, surgeon Dr. Kevin Rieck said, “The information and skills you gave me at the Journey have proven to be extremely useful and practical for a lifetime. I truly see very little, if anything, to improve upon in this incredible program.”

If you would like to discuss the possibility of having me deliver a customized Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program for your organization, give me a call.

Take on this assignment. Do one new thing this week or do one thing differently. Keep up this practice for as many weeks as necessary until you feel youthfully challenged rather than over-the-hill when changes come your way.

► 3. Find some humor in the change.

Change is tough enough without getting into a pity party over it. Find something to laugh about. It will empower you to keep on keeping on.

I had to do that when I was speaking at Ameriprise Financial. It was a new client and all their top salespeople and top executives were there. So, of course, I wanted to do my best and look my best. As luck would have it, all of my luggage arrived with my best suit, shirt and tie, except I forgot to pack any dress shoes.

With no time to shop, I had to get on stage and talk to all these peak performers about change while I wore a suit with sneakers. (PS: That attire was not in style when I gave this presentation. Such an outfit would have been considered ridiculous then.)

Nonetheless, I made a joke about it. I said it would be rather silly to talk to them about change if I wore the same clothing I always wore. They laughed and my stress level immediately went down. In fact, the Vice President was so impressed with my presentation and “outfit” that he suggested I always dress like that when speaking on change.

Humor saved the day.

Take on this assignment. Find some change that is stressing you out. And then consciously look for the humor in that change.