Self-change is a personal phenomenon. In order to accomplish it, you'll need to have firm notions about HOW YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN SECURITY rather than relying on others to provide it for you.
There are four elements to this.
1. DEVELOP A BROAD OVERVIEW.
Instead of sitting inside your own little workspace or apartment or car, open your eyes, ears, heart and mind and look at your environment as a whole. Let's take your work as an example. Learn to listen across many different parts of the company. Ask open-ended questions that can't be answered with a "yes" or "no." Draw people out and get their ideas. Then become an interpreter of one group's needs, transmitting that information to another group. For example, tell what you've discovered about sales and marketing to the production people. Usually, the production folks in any company dislike the sales and marketing people because the "outsiders" are always putting pressure on the "insiders." Perhaps you can help one group understand the other, thus removing some tensions and facilitating change.
Look for what needs to be understood, communicated or translated. You can do this in any size company; you can do it in personal situations, too, such as family.
And in doing this you are creating not only personal security?a feeling of knowledge about and control over your situation?but also you're setting yourself up for a higher degree of security in your job, because the people you're dealing with will know that you're active, interested and helpful to them.
2. LOOK FOR NEW IDEAS.
Look for work that needs to be done, even if it isn't your main job. Go where the problems are; see if you can create or marshal resources to solve company problems, then take your solutions to top management. You'll achieve visibility, credibility, desirability as a candidate for promotion, advancement, re-assignment (to a bulletproof position, perhaps).
3. ACQUIRE NEW WORK SKILLS.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Be sure of your primary skill, but keep learning and challenging yourself. Find out what others do in the company, how they do it, why they do it as they do. Develop your ability to refocus as the environment around you changes. For many older workers, developing computer skills - whether or not they are a fundamental ingredient of the current work assignment - can be a door-opener. Also, look at what you're good at (not necessarily a skill that's used at work at the moment. It could be that you can bring something new and intrinsically valuable to your workplace, and perhaps it could earn you a promotion or result in the creation of a new job that only you can do.
4. BE FLEXIBLE.
Don't get stuck in outdated ideas, beliefs or facts. Move on. Be willing to give up cherished assumptions. Someone once defined insanity as doing the same actions over and over while each time expecting different results. When something no longer works, take the risk of discovering what works NOW.
You may not be able to control change, but you can control your reactions and responses when and as change occurs. The factors involved are:
Here are three statements about each of the four categories just mentioned.
Check off the items in each category that apply to you. Be honest here. Check an item only if you truly believe it's who you are. Don't think too specifically, just respond in general.
On a piece of paper jot down the name of each category, read each statement, and make a check mark each time a statement really applies to you in the general sense.
Category One -- COMMITMENT:
? ____ I wake up eager to start each day and to see it through.
? ____ I recognize a meaning and a purpose in what I do for work.
? ____ I like my present situation ? the work I do, the company I work for, the people I work with
Category Two ? CHALLENGE
? ____ I am excited about new projects and tackle them with gusto.
? ____ I like to take on projects that challenge me physically, mentally and emotionally.
? ____ It's important for me to search out and take advantage of new opportunities for growth and change.
Category Three ? CONTROL
? ____ I look for things I can influence, control or do something about; I don't spend time and energy working at tasks I can't do.
? ____ I know when I'm doing my best, and I believe I'm effective at doing this.
? ____ I consistently look for new and/or better ways to get things done.
Category Four ? CONNECTION
? ____ I seek out other people and ask for help when I have a problem.
? ____ I believe I give as much as I get, and vice versa.
? ____ I try to learn as much as I can from people around me.
Now, here's the answer key: Look at each category. If you checked fewer than two items in each category, you may need some work on your ability to adapt to change when and as it occurs. Remember the following point:
YOU CAN CHANGE
Here are five reasons why.
? You can control your own attitudes and behaviors -- your inner and outer responses to change.
? You can learn about the change and what will likely happen as a result of it -- this will help objectify your responses.
? You can ask for help and support in handling your situation during the change.
? You can influence the process by making suggestions, talking to others, adding your input.
? You can practice physical self-care ?a sensible diet, regular exercise, sufficient rest and frequent pauses - short and long - for recharging.
As you go through your days over the next week or two (at work or at home, since this applies as much to looking for a job as it does to doing a job you have), review this article every few days and see how you could increase the number of checkmarks you can honestly make in this section. Ideally, you'd be checking off every item!
Copyright 2002, 2005 Optimum Performance Associates/Paul McNeese.
Paul McNeese is CEO of Optimum Performance Associates, a consulting firm specializing in transitional and transformational change for individuals and institutions through publication. His publishing company, OPA Publishing, is an advocacy for self-publishing authors of informational, instructional, inspirational and insightful nonfiction.
Websites: http://www.opapublishing.com and http://www.opapresents.com