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Are you tired of change?


There is no doubt that we have experienced a LOT of change in the last year.  Whilst it has caused a lot of stress and anxiety, I have been amazed at how quickly we adapt to change: how quickly it has become normal to remember your mask as you’re leaving the house; how quickly we set ourselves up to work from home and transition our careers and businesses online.  We are an adaptable and resilient bunch.

Change Fatigue

What is clear, however, is that these radical changes can have a massively negative impact on us. 

Change fatigue is not a new concept brought about by COVID-19.  Every organisation that operates in our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world is aware of how constant change can adversely affect employees and culture.  Transformation and change experts have been talking about this issue for decades.

When it hit me

In the early days of Lockdown 1.0, I was doing a lot of work with people whose roles had been made redundant.  That’s a hefty, and often swift, change blow.  With these clients, we work through the Change Curve (written about here) so that they can understand the emotions in play.

Rather than change fatigue though, I think this is more akin to being dropped into a change ice bath.

Then, in December, I ran a Strengths Challenge.  I had an engaged group of people who wanted to explore their strengths and what that meant for them and their careers going forward.  We did some great work about using strengths more.  However, when it came time to think about what “unused” strengths they might want to use more in the future, several people held up a metaphorical hand.  “Stop!  This is the end of 2020 and I can’t contemplate any more change right now…”

And then it hit me.  People may not be happy with their career but, for now, it’s stability we want.  We have been wrung out by having to adapt so quickly and so constantly and, back then in December 2020, we just needed to have some consistency.

Dealing with Change Fatigue

But!  Now it’s 2021 and we are edging towards Spring.  Perhaps it’s time to contemplate those changes that might just make us happier and more fulfilled.

There are hundreds of articles on the internet outlining how to deal with change fatigue.  They deal with this mostly from a corporate perspective.  There are a few guidelines that I really like that we can apply to us personally and to our careers.

  1. Zoom out your perspective: Now is a great time to start thinking about your career strategically. Re-engage with what gives you energy, what enables you to live out your values and what gives you meaning and purpose. If that’s all you do for now, that’s fine.
  2. Create a roadmap for change over time: You’re not going to make a major career change overnight or even, perhaps, this year. However, what does your roadmap look like? Consider things like additional training, volunteering to get exposure to a new field, financial commitments, etc. What is your 5-year career vision?
  3. Start small: Make small and consistent steps. Look at your career happiness on a scale of 1-10.Where are you now? What can move you up just one number? What small thing can you do right now that would have the biggest impact? Now do that.

I have already seen a greater appetite for ringing the changes this year.  We can work on this stuff together, making small and incremental steps towards that 10/10 career.  I’m on the journey.  I hope you’re coming with me!

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