Staying calm and collected when you are in the middle of a storm of new opportunities and changes is quite challenging; sometimes you don’t quite know which direction to move in. We all have our specific levels of tolerance for change before panic and distress set in; I nearly reached mine recently. Although many of the changes are very good and I am excited about them it’s still a little overwhelming for my head to handle. The several changes to my business and personal life have me in flux without routines. These changes include moving my business, renovating our home with family, opening a new clinic and getting married.
This is the year of the dragon after all, so great things are still ahead for 2012.
Thank goodness there was a buffer in my planning or I might have been frozen in the eye of the storm. No matter how much planning is done there are still unexpected things that get added to the mix. The original plan was to have some of the big changes spaced out over the next six months, however when opportunity knocks and you like what is on the other side, you open the door. The plan was to open a second location perhaps in 2013, however I decided to seize the opportunity to expand Lifemoves into Coquitlam when it was presented to me. All the business planning doesn’t take the place of using your intuition as the final decision maker.
A second bump in the plan was staffing, when I thought I was adding staff it turns out I was replacing one instead. This of course added to my daily responsibilities as a business owner who had to take appropriate actions to retain clients instead of adding new business. It was handled well because the employee leaving, the new employee and I discussed, planned and took appropriate action which lead to a high retention rate of current clients.
7 Steps to Stay Calm in Storm of Changes and Opportunities
1. Plan, Plan, Plan (Then take Massive Action)
Big changes mean many parts that need to be accounted for and many more decisions that need to made. Try a mind map and plan your projects. Sometimes I feel as though I don’t have the time to sit and plan. A great software tool I found recently to help with this is Smart Draw. Once you have the plan take action.
2. Know What is Important and Be Ok to Give On Some Items
Not everything is going to go as planned especially when working in a team or collaborating with other business owners. Be clear on what is important to you, especially about brand perception and business processes and then be willing to give on those things that are not impact client experiences as much. Same thing goes with home renovations. When planning a kitchen think about how it will operate, not necessarily how it will look.
It is important to really listen to and understand those who are involved in the changes. Stakeholders, which include current clients and new clients need to know what is happening (or family during renovations). They will also have questions, so try to understand their motives behind the questions and remember to use different styles of communication to clarify each person’s point of view.
4. Be Adaptable and Continue to Learn
During changes life and business are not going to be operating at peak efficiencies. New processes and new environments take time to find their flow. There will be errors and hiccups. Learn to let the smaller errors slide and adapt from the large ones. You can try to anticipate as much as you can, however things come up that you might not have thought about.
5. Know that it is Temporary
Yes, there is a saying that “that the only thing constant is change,” however when there are big changes happening which severally interrupt your routines remember that there is an end and you will establish new routines.
6. Take Action on the Mental Drag
The method of organizing called Getting Things Done or GTD by David Allen is one that I am trying to establish more in my own life as well as ingrain in my business. Our minds are meant for processing information, not holding on it. Writing things down is one way of getting rid of the mental drag.
Another way is to complete those tasks that are occupying your mind the most. That seems to create a sense of mental clarity.
7. Find Somewhere Quiet
We are inundated with stimuli from our environment. This is especially true if you live in a big city or work in an environment that has constant noise. Go enjoy the outdoors, participate in a Yoga class or hide in an infrared sauna. Try to create a quiet space and time somewhere in your life. Let the thoughts in your mind pass by like water rolling over stones in a stream.