There are two broad categories of change: Change you create and change that happens to you. Hands up those who enjoy surprises and changes that keep happening to you? Statistically 3% thrive on an ever-changing environment. 86% resist change and value stability. (What about the final 11% you ask? Well, it depends on their mood whether they enjoy change or not!)
To practise emotionally managing changes happening to you better, you need to create change for yourself. As with all emotional skills, practice increases competence.
Here are 5 ideas to grow in emotional flexibility:
- Board the first bus that comes along, travel for 30 minutes, then return via a different bus route.
- Say, “Tell me more” and listen to understand when a colleague raises a different opinion, instead of rejecting outright.
- Develop mental nimbleness (eg. read articles in a subject outside your professional realm or personal interests, find out the name of the architect who designed your office building, learn a historic fact, etc.)
- Give a presentation without notes or slides.
- Volunteer for a project or event that is outside the scope of your usual work.
You will notice that the idea is do something different! And not on a once-off basis, but regularly force yourself out of your comfort zone. Have a weekly change moment!
As you create controlled change for yourself, your emotional flexibility muscle grows stronger to better respond, even when unexpected, undesired change happens to you.