Change is hard. Change is scary. Change can break you. But change is necessary for growth. For progress. For fulfillment. For a life worth living.
Fortunately it is inevitable, so you've got that going for you.
There are countless resources, articles, quotes and videos about change. We aren't going to repeat what is already known. We also aren't going to complicate it for you. Change is hard, so keep it simple.
Where Do You Stand?
Each of us has a natural response or preference as it relates to change. You are in one of four categories: those who resist change, those who roll with change, those who embrace change and those who drive change. These preferences are rooted in your personality, your upbringing, your current environment/circumstances and your ambitions.
No matter where you currently stand as it relates to change, true growth and optimization can only be realized by working your way into the latter two categories. If you resist change, you are going to be stressed and stuck, because change is coming. If you roll with change, your complacency will lead you adrift at the mercy of the change around you.
To achieve any results you want, in any aspect of life, you must learn to embrace change and to drive change. Here's how.
Embracing change comes down to a simple system of Triple A. Acknowledge, Accept and Act.
Acknowledge is simply the observation of and orientation to the change that is inevitable. Whether in your personal life, work environment, society, or any other area, the only constant is change. So acknowledging this is as truth and law is step one.
Then, you must accept it. Again, resisting change will leave you in a constant state of stress. Like a wise and experienced Baby-Boomer or Gen-X'r who just doesn't get the attitude of the Millennials and Gen-Z they have to work with now. Or the evolution of nutrition and exercise science that turns what we thought we knew upside-down. So it goes. Acknowledge first, then accept it for what it is - opportunities for learning, growth and new perspectives. This is what makes you better.
Finally, you must act. You must consciously, emotionally and physically make adjustments to your habits and routines to adapt yourself to the changing environment. You cannot change others, so you must change yourself to stay ahead and thrive. This goes for the way you think, behave, speak and communicate.
When you acknowledge, accept and act, you will continually evolve with the changing world around you, and you'll be an example to others on how to do it.
There are times though that you cannot simply embrace the changing environment around you. There are times when you need to be the change agent. If you step into a new work environment with a history of toxicity or negative behaviors - you drive the change. When you theorize about a better way to train, you must conduct the studies, gather the data and put your theory to the test. When you want to build a business, you need to change your habits (and maybe your associates) to ensure you have the support needed to sustain the grind.
Unlike the Triple A of embracing change, driving change doesn't have a fun acronym. But it's just as simple. Believe, Be Brave, Adjust.
First you need to believe. You need to believe in yourself, you need to believe the change you want to make is beneficial for those around you, and you need to believe it can be done. Others won't believe for you; they may not believe in you. So you need to believe in yourself and your vision until they see the benefits and results as well.
You need to be brave. Most people are unwilling to lead and to make themselves the target. It's not the easy way. It's the hard way. And that's what makes it right. That's what separates you from others. Not only to willing to put yourself out there, but to keep getting up when you are inevitably knocked down. Again, and again, and again.
Built into being brave is the action. So the final step in driving change is adjusting. You are going to fail. You must remain committed to your strategy and your vision, but adapt your tactics and methods. Try, fail, adjust. Do more of what works and less of what doesn't. Be open to others suggestion, but keep a narrow circle of influence. Just keep moving forward.
Remember, no matter where you are now, no matter your natural preferences, change is necessary for growth. Applying these simple steps to embracing change and to driving change will change your life.