If we’ve learned anything the past two years is that the only constant is change. And change is hard. As the owner of Marissa Pick Consulting, I’ve certainly felt the bumps in the road throughout the pandemic, but I’ve learned how to adapt to change and remain agile, ready to shift with the changes that are sure to come.
With rapid change comes choices, which can make it challenging to make decisions, especially when business and personal lives collide. Whether it’s choosing a career to pursue or a snack to eat, our lives are full of decisions. But how does our brain decide between an apple or Fruit by the Foot when we go to the snack cabinet for a mid-day treat? Even with routine choices, decision-making is a complex task that involves assessing the information we have (there are so many kinds of snacks on my shelf), determining our choices (which snack do I like?), examining our experience with these choices (I remember liking Fruit by the Foot as a kid), and ultimately picking what we think is the best option.
We can’t escape the need to choose, nor can we control the consequences of our decisions or the choices of others. We often put too much pressure on our choices. And somehow, we don’t put on enough pressure. This causes us to mess up at both ends. But by taking control of the process, here are some ways I was able to embrace the “paradox” of choice so that my business could continue to grow.
Embrace change. A self-described “Type A” personality, embracing change in my own life isn’t easy. But the pandemic forced me to tackle my issues with change headfirst. A planner by nature, I really struggled with the uncertainty surrounding all aspects of life. It was like a constant question mark was looming above me and it was extremely uncomfortable. As someone who thrives on predictability, accepting and welcoming change was a scary experience. But by focusing on my communication skills and leaning into a more flexible mindset, I learned that change doesn’t have to be scary. I realized that “not knowing” can sometimes be liberating and inspire you to see your world and the responsibilities that come with it in a different light. Since I stopped running away from change, routines in my business and household spheres have become a bit steadier. And if things become rocky again, the difference is that I’m more equipped to handle that.
Try to plan ahead. There are many times in life that we know change is on the horizon, forcing us to choose a path. Whether it’s following market dynamics, trends or just gut instinct, there are many ways to get ahead of the “selection process.” With my marketing clients, I’m a big proponent of prep work. I try to do as much research as possible to outline the “nice-to-have and must-have” elements of any marketing plan. For example, there are a plethora of technologies available to add efficiencies to our work, but which ones will best justify marketing budgets and boost performance?By weighing options upfront, you’ll be in a better position to provide sound counsel and judgement.
Before you start looking for ways to embrace change, you need to identify what the change is and how it will impact you. Many people think that any change which throws our plans off-course is undesirable. However, it is important to not feel pessimistic or lose hope. Review where you stand after things settle down. Identify the areas which need attention and allocate resources to them accordingly.
Reframe your thinking. Change will happen regardless of our decisions, so it’s important to identify how change makes you feel. Are you feeling sad or anxious? How can you break negative patterns or step back and reflect on your feelings? Taking timely action after adversity or change will enable you to embrace it. For example, if you break your arm, you may be unable to type, write or do other important work for yourself. However, you can look to dictation services, voice to text software, or even hire someone to support and take notes for you. By reframing your thinking and addressing a situation in a different way, you can feel more in control of the aftermath of change.
Count your blessings and smile. Life is overwhelming, and some days it’s hard to not get lost in the endless circus of life. The highlight of my day is when my kids run into my arms after school and tell me everything about their days. Kids have a view of the world that is so innocent, pure, and refreshing. My boys are so inquisitive, curious, and hopeful about the future. Every day, they inspire my husband and me to smile and have fun, and they remind us that family comes first, no matter what. Whatever it is that makes you smile, recognize it, and make it part of your daily routine. Change makes the world go around, and we are fortunate to live in a country where we hold the power to make choices (even if there are more than we would like, at times).
In the words of Bob Dylan, “Your old road is rapidly agin’/Please get out of the new one/If you can’t lend your hand/For the times they are a-changin’.” When you’re able to re-think your relationship with change, you may be surprised to discover how many more possibilities you can unlock for yourself and your business.