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Acceptance is Key

JW Way Fundamental #19: Lead by Example  “The best way to influence others and maintain our culture is by one’s own examples. Walk the talk. Don’t ask others to do what you won’t or can’t. Take responsibility to consistently demonstrate the JW Way.”

Acceptance is hard.  At times it is easier, but it is always a process.  Frequently it revolves around a change.  And we all have varying degrees of change tolerance.  Our recent move tested both the ability to manage change and accept that change.  Some were very excited about the new beginning, the beautifully designed space, and new opportunities.  They view it as a positive opportunity.  Others have sought to have more control over the change while others have focused on small things.  It has been a microcosm of how people navigate change to get to acceptance.

In the overall scheme, this was a small change.  It distills to just location and physical space.  Almost everything else is the same.  In life, we all will face more significant changes.  It could be a devastating health diagnosis, the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one.  Professionally it could be a shift in responsibilities, either gaining more or losing some as they are shifted to someone or even something else.  None of this is easy.  There may be loss, grief, sadness, fear, apprehension, or excitement.  It all involves emotion. 

Sitting in the emotion may be extremely painful.  But avoiding it can have negative outcomes which can manifest in health problems, strained relationships, and possibly professional or financial downturns.  Walking through fear and pain is easier when it is not done alone, conversely sharing the excitement of positive change can bring unwanted shifts in relationships if led with ego. 

Getting to acceptance helps mental well-being.  It may not be fast, and it may require some stops and starts.  The journey can build resilience.  It may be fun and exciting.  However, if it happens so slowly that it feels like it was done to you, rather than you driving it, that is the worst outcome.  It will build resentment, foster anger, and create deep sadness. Avoiding is an action. 

Instead, process, plan, talk to trusted friends or professional advisor.   Give them the opportunity and freedom to be honest with you, to say “you are wallowing in this” or “you are alienating some people.”  This also allows them to authentically support you, to say, “I am proud of how you managed this change, I am in your corner, you always surprise me.”  They can help you by being a valued and trusted sounding board. 

Take a moment.  What are you facing, what do you want to do, how do you want to approach it?  It is also easier to build resiliency with smaller steps so that when a large change looms, you have built resilience muscle memory.  Sometimes letting go is the hardest part, especially if it has been held on to for a long time.  It may have become an armor that was used to protect you but now is simply weighing you down. 

About the Author: Brenda Edwards is the Executive Director of Jaburg Wilk where she is responsible for operations of the firm. She is a frequent author on management topics. 

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