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  • Ivan Konermann

Stay Out of the Stress Zone When Working Through Changes


All of us continue to face changes in our lives. When we approach a change, there is often some concern and fear. You probably ask yourself questions (like I have), wondering “am I even ready for this?”


It’s natural to have concern about change because we don’t know everything about the new situation: teammates, type of work, specific expectations, the new manager, a different location, etc.


A common tendency is to ask yourself Yes/No and Either/Or questions. These actually compound the pressure and perceived complexity because they are too big to answer clearly.


Instead, when your start to feel your intensity rise and you’re headed for the Stress Zone, upgrade your internal narrative. Start asking yourself different questions to think through the situation more clearly and in a more productive manner. When you break down the change, you’ll probably realize there are some important things that will change very little.


Here are a few Advancing Questions to get you started:

1. What parts of this are staying the same?

2. What particular parts of this are changing?

3. Which of the changed things am I actually concerned about?

4. What is it specifically about those items that I have some anxiety about?

5. Who do I know that I can rely on for help?


When you tease a big complex situation apart into its more granular pieces, you are giving yourself a better understanding of what’s happening. Instead of saddling yourself with an unhelpful mindset that stokes your own tension and stress, you are seeing which parts are truly different so you can approach them with clarity. We often tangle ourselves up in thinking “everything is changing” when in reality, everything isn’t. Certain responsibilities, team members or managers may be different. It may be a new environment. As you dig down, you will realize that plenty of it will be the same.


One essential part to remember in any new situation is that YOU are still YOU…and the experience, knowledge, and skills you have learned through your entire life are still with you! Lean on and trust in all of who you are to work through the new situation!

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