Change is constant, inevitable, and can be relentless. You can choose to be a victim of change or you can use it to your advantage and become a master of change.
How you respond to change determines your health, happiness, and performance. Top performers have a sense of control. They don’t wait for things to happen, they make things happen. They are creators of circumstances rather than creatures of circumstances.
We’ve discussed in previous articles that attitude is 85% of success. Your attitude coincides with your locus of control. People with an internal locus of control are positive, happy, and responsible. Those with an external locus of control are often stressed and frustrated.
There are two ways to take back control: take charge of the situation or walk away. Both are legitimate means for regaining a sense of control. Those that accept responsibility are more positive and in control than those who look outwardly to assign blame elsewhere.
One quality that determines your success and your ability to maintain control during times of rapid change is flexibility. Flexibility requires you to accept reality, adapt to the situation, and take action.
In order to demonstrate flexibility, you must be able to separate facts from problems. Facts are reality. Facts are things that have already happened, that you cannot change, and they are out of your control (like the weather). Problems are things within your control that you can solve and change.
Being able to determine the difference between facts and problems will help you distinguish between how it is today versus how you want it to be tomorrow. And within that gap lies your critical constraint. Constraints determine the speed of change.
80% of constraints are internal. That means they are within your control. The quicker you can adapt and take action, the faster you can master the change.
One example of an internal constraint is worry. The brain power you waste on worrying about something you can’t control (facts) can be used towards solving something you can control (problems). It takes just as much imagination to create solutions as it does to worry.
If you’re going to make something up, it might as well be positive.
Get clear on what you’re worrying about. Determine the worst possible outcome. Resolve to accept that outcome, should it come to pass. And then work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Another way to take control during times of change is to set goals. These are your goals. Write them down. Goals are control. If you have clear goals and you are working towards them you have less time to worry about change.
In order to master change, you must accept responsibility, remain flexible and positive, maintain a sense of control, and pre-program yourself to persist in achieving your goals.