Himalaya: Listen. Learn. Grow.
Negotiating Change & Building Resilience Podcast
s I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our lives are changing at a faster rate than at any time in human history. The amount of information in a single issue of The New York Times is about equal to the amount of information that people in the 17th century would have assimilated in their entire lifetime!
Not only are we experiencing an explosion of information, we are seeing significant
changes politically, socially, environmentally, economically and technologically. These
changes are creating an environment that is extremely stimulating but can challenge our
ability to prioritize and focus.
We are all trying to understand and respond to the changes occurring in our work and
personal lives. Most of us try to react to these changes in positive and productive ways,
but sometimes we feel overwhelmed and confused. The skills and strategies in these posts
will help you to manage effectively key “Transition Points” experienced through
The experience of change can cover a broad spectrum. It can be unexpected, sudden and
unsettling, or it can be welcomed and planned. External global forces, as well as internal
economic and social pressures, contribute to accelerating change. Today, change and
new transitions are a way of life and resiliency training will help individuals to deal with
change and take advantage of the opportunities that emerge.
In response to change, you need to:
● Be change capable (the building of resiliency)
● Meet the challenge by staying effective and productive (applying the skills)
We Need a New Set of Skills
Keeping yourself afloat in the face of change demands skills beyond what you learned
in school or at work. We need to be very intentional in how we manage all aspects of
our lives; physical, emotional, relational, psychological, financial and spiritual (purpose,
vision, and missions).
Impact of Change
Everyone reacts to change differently. For example, some of us find that adjusting to a
new home takes enormous effort, while others say very little adjustment is necessary.
Your ability to handle stress is also dependent not just on the primary event, but on
other events that are taking place at that time. Let’s say you have just been given a
promotion at work. If this event happens when life is calm and things are going well,
you will experience this event as exciting or as a positive new challenge. However,
if this promotion takes place when you’re going through a marriage separation and
your teenager is struggling in school, the promotion may be experienced as extremely
Similarly, there is a growing body of research that confirms that how you experience and internalize stress has as much to do with your attitude toward the stressful event as the actual event itself. People who practice change management skills have learned to reduce the stress of change and challenge
Negative Effects of Stress
Stress can be defined in many different ways. For our purposes, excessive stress is defined
when you come to the point of feeling that “things are out of control.” It’s essentially
when the demands being placed on you are in excess of the personal and social resources
that you have available to you.
In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe decided to study whether or
not stress contributes to illness. They surveyed more than 5,000 medical patients and
asked them to say whether they had experienced any of a series of 43 life events in the
previous two years. Each event called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight”
The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. The higher the score, and
the larger the weight of each event, the more likely the patient was to become ill. Within
their group of 5,000 medical patients, they determined that those who had suffered
serious illnesses or were involved in accidents had the highest scores, meaning they had
experienced the most stressful changes in the previous years.
Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale
One of my main goals for this series of blog posts is to provide you with strategies you can use to build resiliency into your life. My expectation for you is this newfound resiliency will help you deal more effectively with the change and life events going on in your life.
By understanding your stress, you will improve your self-awareness and self-care
strategies, enabling you to deal more effectively with stress and maintain your health as
you transition through stressful periods in your life.
By using the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale that follows, you can measure the stress load you carry, leading you to think or reflect on what you should do about it.
What was your score? ______
Take some time to reflect on what’s going on in your life. Did you feel good about your score or did it cause concern? Remember, self-awareness is the first step to improving your situation.
What Can You Do?
If you find that you are at a moderate or high level of risk, an obvious first thing to do is to try to avoid future life crises. This is easier said than done. However, we usually have some level of control that may allow us to reduce our stress load. It’s about avoiding times that will make things more difficult. For example, if you are planning to move homes, it may be prudent to time this event the year after you have successfully transitioned your daughter to a new University 1500 miles away.
You can learn conflict resolution skills to minimize conflict with other people. You can avoid taking on new obligations or engaging with new programs of study if you know that your partner is going through a major life change. Sometimes, it’s about choosing to take things easy and look after yourself. All of this takes the cultivation of self-awareness, which is something that these blogs will help you with.
More than anything else, going through this exercise brings attention to stress that you may not be aware of. Awareness can lead to reflection and reflection can lead to positive action.
Are you looking to enhance change readiness and resilience for your teams? We would love to start a conservation about customized workshops for your team. Visit our website www.takechargeofchange.com to learn more.