My Career as I Knew It Was Over – Dealing with Change & Uncertainty
It was a Wednesday, Nov 7th, 2012. I had a meeting with my boss right away in the morning. Several minutes later, I was back at my desk, packing up my things. It was like an out-of-body experience — how fast things can change! After working there for 11 years, I was now part of the 4th set of layoffs that year. Talk about a tidal wave of the unknown! What did the future hold for me?
Deep down I knew I wasn’t going to search for another job in biotech. I had learned about Positive Psychology the year before, and I was convinced that my future would somehow include this life-changing science. So I decided to reinvent myself and start my own company. More change and uncertainty!
I was fortunate that I had already been studying and learning strategies from Positive Psychology. I don’t know how people get through so much worry and doubt about their future without the tools I was very grateful to have! For example, I had a regular practice of taking several slow, deep breaths to relieve my racing mind and pounding heart.
I had also learned that our brains react to uncertainty in the same way as if someone were physically trying to harm us. We feel like we’re in danger, so our fight and flight response is in full swing. In addition, our survival instinct tells us to anticipate the worst possible outcome, just so we can take actions to keep ourselves safe. These reactions can make change stressful, which is one of the reasons that organizations going through change bring me in to share this message.
I’ve learned that,
Our biggest challenge is not going through change, but the uncertainty and unknowns that tend to go with it.
When we understand where our anxiety about change comes from and why, it’s easier to acknowledge our feelings, remain calm, and change our story. The worst is very unlikely to happen and change brings new opportunities.
What changes and uncertainty are causing stress in your life? What messages from above can you remember to find more moments of peace and calm?