‘It’s where he is now but it wasn’t what he planned.’IMG_0916

These words had been going around my head for weeks since I heard the Damon Albarn song ‘Mr Tembo’.

Somehow it has particularly resonated as I was facing a not unexpected but nevertheless unsettling change in my career.

Change always has the potential to destabilize whether it is personal or professional. We get comfortable in our habits and our mind sets and any change creates a discomfort and even fear of what the future may hold.

Although Elisabeth Kubler-Ross  wrote about the experiences of the dying, her words have been taken to be a model for any change, and although this was not really intended there is a recognition that people facing change may move through certain stages of emotion.

  1. Shock and denial – what is happening and maybe it won’t happen to me!
  2. Anger and fear – why me and what will I do, how will I cope?
  3. Acceptance – this is where I am, even if it’s not what I planned
  4. Commitment to move forward

Even when change is anticipated, certain of these stages can be experienced as it is not always easy to accept change and move on. It is important to acknowledge that when change is happening a whole set of emotions will follow and this can be a messy and complex time.  We need to make sense of change and to allow ourselves to grieve for what has been before we can move on to what is to come.

Coming back to the lyrics of My Tembo,  what has helped me to move on is that this is where I am now even if it wasn’t what I planned, so it helped me to take a leap into the third stage, accept what is,  and move on to commitment to move forward.

What can help in moving through these stages?

My suggestions:

  • Talk it through with a partner, friend, coach, counselor to make sense of the change and how it impacts you.
  • Develop scenarios of what you can do when the change happens
  • Make positive plans for the future
  • Start to take action – baby steps are good at this stage
  • Have a support network to fall back on when the doubt and negativity arise

What would you add to this?

Barbara is an executive coach, change and creativity facilitator and is launching RenewYou Personal Development workshops for women in France. These programmes are enabling and confidence boosting. For more information take a look here .