Small Business Success: Thriving During Change (And Landing On Your Feet!)

If I had $1.00 every time I heard someone say " I don't like change or, change makes me uncomfortable" I'd be a millionaire. Some people thrive on change ? they love it and even create more of it. Others view change with anxiety and resistance. So often, we don't associate potential, excitement and wonder with change. Instead, we react to it; we try to control it; we create situations and problems to avoid dealing with it. We experience change daily in many forms ? the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the conversations we have, traffic patterns, the WEATHER.

While change is a constant in life, some changes (mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, reorganizations, job relocations, promotions, divorces, marriages, war) affect our lives on a bigger scale with impact on multiple areas of our business and personal lives.

One of my clients has been in business for eighteen years. Up until five years ago, her business was thriving. In the period of one year; her client base was reduced by 50%, dramatically affecting her net income and her entire life! The timing couldn't have been worse. She had just purchased a new home, a new car, and tickets for an Alaskan holiday. It felt like the rug had been pulled out from under her with so many changes happening all at once! Being in transition (the process or an instance of changing one form, activity, state, or place to another) brought up uncertainty, confusion, anxiety and the "F" word. FEAR. Big Time! Re-evaluating her values, life purpose, and needs helped her to identify new business directions and goals with greater clarity and confidence. Five years later, it's a whole new ball game with plenty of home runs.

Creating a Defensive Strategy

If you're facing (or anticipating) one change of several changes, these tips will help you navigate through transition and help you land on your feet:

1. Acknowledge what's happening. Get real about your situation and eliminate denial. Identify what you can control and/or influence to gain perspective in devising a strategy for action.

2. Invite collaboration. Brainstorming is an excellent resource for pooling knowledge by gathering other points of view for creative problem solving.

3. Ramp up self-care. Taking good care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually is a key factor in staying strong and focused. Establishing some daily routines/habits provides consistency and a sense of control. (exercise schedules, morning and evening routines).

4. Need to vent and/or have someone just listen? Build a support team of family, friends, colleagues and or professionals who will hear you with objectivity and encouragement. Sometimes we just need to be heard!

5. Interrupt and replace negative self-talk. Fear tends to view situations through a narrow lens with an emphasis on problematic thinking and worse case scenarios. Take charge of your attitude. Instead of focusing on the worst, expect the best.

6. Be engaged in pleasurable or stimulating activities. Lighten up and take time to relax with friends and family.

7. Recall a past experience you successfully transitioned. How did you do it? What can you take from your past success to use in future experiences? Drawing from personal history builds confidence and stirs the creative juices.

8. Be curious. Ask yourself ? "How does this situation compel me to grow? What can I learn about myself, my life from this change? What opportunities does this change offer me? What can I take from this experience to improve myself/my life? Use what you discover to move you forward.

9. See yourself in the future, at the other side of the transition. Create a vivid picture in your mind of how you see your life. Incorporate this image as part of your daily routine (see #3) and use this picture to pull you forward through your transition.

No matter what is happening in your life, the one power you always retain is how you choose to view yourself and your situation. It's your life; make it the best!

Copyright 2003, Lorraine Cohen

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Lorraine Cohen of Powerfull Living (http://www.powerfull-living.biz) is a Business Coach and Life Strategist and Team Member of Solo-E (http://www.Solo-E.com). Integrating her therapy background with coaching, she helps people make more money, manage their time, increase self-assurance, resolve inner conflict, stay focused on the results they want, and balance work and home life.

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*********** Find more articles like this at http://www.Solo-E.com ? Keeping Solo Entrepreneurs Juiced in Business and in Life. Our team of Solo Entrepreneurs are comprised of small business experts who support others in finding business success with the flexibility and freedom to have a life, too. Network with other freelancers, self-employed and Solo Entrepreneurs in our forums, enjoy our articles and newsletter, and find other online training opportunities. ***********

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