In this week’s blog, Sophie Radcliffe, a K2 ambassador, athlete and adventurer shared her thoughts on change.
We think we aren’t great at dealing with change and we don’t welcome it in our lives. Yet, not dissimilar to the eruption of a volcano, the initial mess can cause frantic behaviour and be hard to deal with, but once the dust settles, leads to a new order, a new mindset and ultimately, a new way of doing things that creates personal and professional growth.
Change can blindside us as we go about our daily lives. For me they were the day my Mum told me she had cancer, when my Grandfather died, the day I walked into work and my Director called a company meeting, announced they were closing down an entire division of the business and sent everyone home.
Change can also be something we plan and bring into our lives but don’t feel the full force of until the day that commitment has been made. The day I handed in my notice three years ago and started my own business. Or when I moved from London to the French Alps and began a new life there. As much as you plan for these events, nothing can prepare you for how overwhelmingly unsettling and daunting they feel.
For unforeseen change, we immediately go into survival mode. We do whatever it takes to get through the initial shock, regain control on our lives and support whoever we need to on that journey. It’s after this initial shock that we are at risk of falling apart. During this phase, staying strong, positive and looking after ourselves physically and emotionally is of the utmost importance. What’s key in this instance is energy management, reducing stress by not trying to control outcomes too far into the future and trusting our ability to learn, adapt, grow and turn challenges into positive changes.
While hearing from others and talking about how best to deal with change is helpful, the way to really improve our ability to manage change is to live it. To prove to ourselves that we can turn things that initially feel life-threatening into positive situations. We are all looking for progess and progress is made through identifying growth opportunities. Managers who identify future leaders and nurture them. People who take risks because they trust in their ability to make it work. Freaking out about what’s happened gets us nowhere. The sooner we accept it and plan our next move, the better for us.
The biggest risks I’ve taken, the things I’ve been most scared of doing, the hardest changes I’ve asked myself to deal with; they’ve always led to monumental leaps in progress. As a result, I actively hunt out those opportunities that make me feel petrified about what might happen, but also incredibly excited about what it could lead to. There’s magic in change, in big commitments that stir the world and ask us to grow.