Consistency is critical for success. It creates standards, understanding, and in many cases, benchmarks to compare our results against. That’s why, even in the face of rapid change, it’s important to learn how to move forward while still achieving some semblance of consistency.
It might sound somewhat paradoxical — trying to achieve consistency in the midst of change — but the two concepts aren’t at odds with one another. You don’t have to abandon consistency in order to embrace change, and you don’t have to resist change to maintain consistency. All you have to do take advantage of your opportunities and build your resiliency and agility muscles to keep yourself steady as you ride the waves of change.
In difficult times it’s okay, even necessary, to seek out continuity. We can only begin to move forward when we feel like our feet are on the ground, and one of the best ways to find your footing is to take stock of what hasn’t changed in your life.
A group of researchers recently found that leaders have more success supporting their employees through changes when they combine the change with a vision of continuity. In other words, when leadership is able to show that the values that defines “who we are” will stay intact after the change, employees are better able to handle it. For instance, if there’s a shakeup in a company’s executive leadership, it’s not a bad idea for those coming in to sit down with the organization to share their own personal story to show that the company’s values will remain consistent.
Likewise, in order to prime yourself to embrace change, you need to remind yourself of the things that shape who you are that are still within your control. Even if your One Thing is impacted by the change around you, are the intentions and values behind that aspiration consistent? If so, figure out how to pursue it in your new environment. If not, you get the opportunity to try and chart a new course.
Be Mindful of Yourself
A daily dose of meditation and mindfulness can help you focus on the present and accept the changes that you can’t control.
A review of twenty-two Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) studies found that the strongest results of MBSR were reduced levels of emotional exhaustion (a dimension of burnout), stress, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and occupational stress.
Choose your favorite time of day and spend a few minutes focusing on being present, where you are in this moment, and what thoughts flood your mind when you try to do so. Don’t judge your thoughts. Simply acknowledge them. If they’re negative, say what they are out loud. By speaking aloud, you assert your power over them — and in some cases, realize just how silly some of our fears and insecurities might be.
Revisit Your Time Blocks
Chaotic times are exactly that: chaotic time. That said, if you’re living in a prolonged period of uncertainty, you can still figure out how to make the best use of your time. One of the best ways to do that is through time blocking.
If your working situation has changed, and you find yourself working from home instead of at the office, it can be challenging to set up a bunker that keeps you from being disturbed. Though sharing space with kids, and even some adult family members, is never a perfect science, it’s important to communicate with your family and coworkers about the times you need to get things done. With enough practice, you can establish a routine that works for your new reality.
Form a Habit
Everyone forms habits unconsciously, like biting our fingernails or taking the same route to work every day. In times of uncertainty, the habits we form can affect our future decisions, which is why we’re lucky that we can form habits consciously, too.
A good habit can keep us focused and moving forward through small, daily steps.
As you’re blocking out your time, choose the smallest task, the first domino to knock down in pursuit of your ONE Thing. Make that smallest domino your habit and dedicate yourself to practicing it for 66 days to make it a natural part of your life.
Change is inevitable, though sometimes it comes at us faster than we’d like. No matter how much of your world has changed, it’s important not to cling to how things used to be when the past isn’t relevant to your success anymore. Times of uncertainty offer the unique opportunity to rethink what could be possible. And with the right attitude and approach, we can thrive during this period of reinvention. If we balance possibilities with focus on the ONE Thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary, we can emerge from uncertain times with more resilience than ever before.