How to deal with unexpected change

Things change – and there is often very little you can do about it. From minor things to big plans that you put together with best intentions, the likelihood is that things will not always go according to plan. Being adaptable is a skill that will get you a long way – not only helping you on a business level, but also helping to reduce stress levels when you need to react quickly. Making quick decisions on issues that greatly impact your small business, especially if you are working alone is not easy and being adaptable to change can help to see things from a different perspective.

Here are a few tips to help you succeed, even if things are constantly changing:

1. Take a step back

Give yourself the opportunity to consider what the change looks like and how it impacts you and your work. A good way to keep things going is to ask yourself `What if? ` and ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’. It could all look very overwhelming to start with but breaking it down and dealing with the change in bits will give you a more optimistic overview and is likely to make you realise that it’s not all that bad.

2. Get out of your comfort zone

Trust your instincts even if you don’t have all the information to make a decision. Think about the situation, collect your thoughts, set them aside and revisit in a little while. Time helps to look at things from a different perspective, especially once the situation is no longer new to you. Make change an opportunity for learning – and try not to beat yourself up if it’s not a positive change! It might be a good time to take more risk and try something new you have never done before. When thinking about risk, look at both sides: the risk, and the risk of not taking it.

3. Be mindful

Pay attention to your emotions, think before you speak and try to manage your reactions. Stressing yourself out and others will not help the situation. One way of managing your emotions is to try to respond to the change in the way you would want others to respond. Acknowledge and accept the negative or positive reality of the new situation—but rather than looking for outside sources to blame, look for ways to take control of the new situation and manage it.

4. Keep your focus

Even with things changing along the way, don’t forget about the end game. Don’t let unexpected situations to distract you. Face up to problems, risks and bad news and be kind to yourself. Shift your perspective on difficulties and look for new possibilities in them. There is a lot you will learn from challenging situations so embrace change and keep focused on your goals.

5. Take ownership

It could look like the change is completely out of your hands but do try to find aspects of situations that you can control, even when it looks like the opportunity is not available. Consider alternatives and share your ideas with your team and/or peers – it will make you feel more in control and could lead to new scenarios.

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