Change is the only constant, a saying we often hear but seldom embrace. It takes various forms: sometimes it's adversity, other times it's something positive. It can be planned or entirely unexpected and inconvenient, leading to stress and disruption. Even when change is carefully prepared for, the results can be entirely unforeseen. From minor, everyday changes to profound life events, change affects us on a personal, social, and professional level.
If we compare life to the sea, at times it's calm but more often turbulent. Wishing for no waves or trying to control them is futile. You can't tame the waves, but you can learn to surf. Change simply happens, and resisting it is a lost effort that only leads to stress. However, you can choose how to deal with it because your reaction is within your control.
But how do you navigate in a world where change occurs at an unprecedented speed? Not with resilience, but more specifically with adaptive resilience. It's a quality that is now more necessary than ever because it goes beyond merely 'bouncing back'. With adaptive resilience, you successfully adapt to the situation ('adjusted bouncing'). Moreover, you typically grow through the difficulties you face ('bouncing forward'). Finally, you can also adjust in real-time, applying situational adaptive strategies based on what the situation requires. So, you are not only resilient but also agile. In short, you are adaptively resilient.
To develop adaptive resilience and learn to surf or navigate, you need tools such as a compass – what I call 'CHANGE HACKS.' These are simple principles, insights, concrete approaches, or practical tips to better handle change and adversity. You can't avoid them, but you can ensure they have less impact on you. Flexibility in thinking, feeling, and acting is crucial for developing adaptive resilience. This means breaking free from ingrained thought patterns, changing your interpretation, regulating emotions, and using the right strategy or tool (change hack) based on the situation or type of problem.
If you often feel resistance, uncertainty, or pessimism in the face of change – whether work-related or not – or if you risk burnout due to rapid, successive changes, cultivating adaptive resilience is essential. Even those naturally optimistic, open-minded, and good at putting things into perspective will benefit from specific ways to cope with various challenges.
For example, if you're confronted with a tangle of problems and can't see the forest for the trees, you can first 'comb the spaghetti,' a methodological change hack that is highly systematic and helps untangle the mess. You can 'upgrade' your thoughts and learn to view change or stress differently. You can focus on what you can control rather than trying to change what's beyond your power. You can proactively work on your self-efficacy or anticipate change. As a team, you can objectively look at change together and escape the negative atmosphere by applying the Z-of-change.
In my book, I cover this and much more with 25 tools or 'change hacks' that you can use in various situations. Understanding how our brain works and acting on that knowledge ensures that you're better equipped to handle challenging situations in these rapidly changing times. Consciously applying different change hacks will increase your adaptive resilience because you adopt a new attitude that determines how you approach life. The ultimate goal? Thrive better in a world full of change and be less impacted by it.
Do you think your colleagues and organization would benefit from these insights? You can also book a keynote where I elaborate on the key principles.