Sep 4th, 2020
Do you readily and willingly adapt to the changes around you or do you resist change and try to hold on to the status quo? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, Emotional Intelligence Master Trainer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and this week, I want to start to move into the second quadrant of emotional intelligence and talk about skills around self-management.
Change is inevitable and the pace of change is unprecedented right now. You either run with it or you let it overwhelm you. The difference between these two comes in developing the competency of personal agility. There are several things that will actually hold you back from being able to change without all the stress and all the conflict.
The first one is being fearful of change, wanting things to stay the way they are. If we operated that way, you would still have typewriters, rather than be able to talk to a computer and it types it out for us, or resisting change and being stubborn and saying, "No, that's not what I want to do."
Being inflexible, which is like my body in the morning when I first wake up. Because it's been still all night and hasn't done any movement, it can be a little bit seized up. And that's what happens to us when we resist change, when our level of personal agility is low.
And the end result is that we stagnate, and it's like a pond of water that's not moving: green algae grows on the top. It's stagnant. We can't drink it. We can't swim in it. We can't use it at all. It stops us from going forward. But when you learn to develop your personal agility, instead of having these challenges, you can have better results.
You can learn to embrace change and see that the changes are actually good, see that the changes are part of your process of moving forward. They're not actually holding you back. You can become an initiator of change. So, instead of the change happening to you, you create the change.
And you learn to become adaptable, like the chameleon who camouflages itself and blends in with the environment that it's in so that it stays safe. We can do the same thing when we learn to adapt to the change. And the end result is that we have flow and we grow and we move forward. So, let me outlay five key principles, big ideas that we need to take hold of before we can develop the competency of personal agility.
Number one is change is inevitable. It's like the larvae that spins its cocoon and then expects to stay there forever. As we know, what happens is from that cocoon comes a beautiful butterfly, and it's like that in our life as well. We're not able to just stay wrapped up in the cocoon. Change is going to happen. It's inevitable. So, when we understand that, we can anticipate change and it doesn't become such a big problem and a big shock to us.
Number two is we have to learn to become uncomfortable. When the motor car was first developed and they wanted to start the car, they had to get this big handle called a crank handle and put it in the front of the car and turn it round and round and round until the magneto created enough spark and the engine fired and then it took over by itself. And the momentum was created by the weight of the flywheel.
Unfortunately though, a lot of times when we did that, and when I say we, by the way, I'm not that old, but when they did that, what happened was that there was some kickback and sometimes that handle came off and there were knuckles that got scraped. Sometimes it really hurt the shoulder of the person that was trying to crank it.
So, by getting uncomfortable and understanding that that's not how you wanted to continue, that's the only way that they came up with the idea of the electric starter motor. Now, when I jump into my car, I don't even have a key. I just need to push a button, and that wouldn't have happened if people didn't learn to get uncomfortable with the status quo.
Number three is to focus on your "why". Asking yourself, "Why is this change a good thing?", rather than looking for reasons not to do it. Find how that change is going to move you closer to one of your goals, one of your dreams, one of your desires, the "why", the overarching picture that you have in your mind every single day as to why you get up out of bed and do what it is that you do.
Number four is to look at and navigate change incrementally. We have this door at home where the kids, every year, stood up against the door with their back to the door and on their birthday, we would put a mark, an increment on the door as to how tall they were getting.
The point I'm trying to make here is they didn't get to be the height that they are now overnight. They weren't born that way. They were a certain size. And then, each year, they grew. Some years, it was a big incremental change. Other years, not so much. When we look at change in the same way, it makes it easier to navigate, but breaking it down into bite-sized chunks.
And the overall thing that we want to do then is know, "What do I need to do next? What do I need to do today? What's the first small step that I can take to make that change?"
And number five, and one of the most important, is to seek support. Make sure that whenever change is happening, you've got a support team. You've got people you can talk to. You've got people that are going through similar things to you. You've got people that can offer you practical support in being able to navigate the change.
So, there's five key principles, big ideas, concepts that we need to understand before we can navigate change without the overwhelm. So, if you're feeling a little bit out of kilter with all the changes that are going on around us right now, it might be time for you to just step back, have an honest look, and see where you are in this competency of personal agility.
Emotional intelligence starts with awareness and then empowers you to be able to manage your responses to what's going on around you. When we can control the disruptive thoughts and feelings, we're able to change without it being a major challenge because we're looking at it logically and we're going through those principles that I gave you before.
Well, that's it for me for another week. Make sure you hit the subscribe button. If you need some help in developing your emotional intelligence, make sure you get in touch. And next week, we're going to continue the conversation around self-management competencies by looking at maintaining realistic optimism. I'll see you then.