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Jan 19

Gauge Your Openness to Change in Transition

It is fair to say that we are largely creatures of habit at work and at home. The creation of personal and professional daily routines gives us some feeling of control in the chaotic world in which we live.  That said, there comes a time in both our professional and personal lives when we are facing a change. It is not always easy to do.

Disabled American Veterans’ National Chaplain, Michael P. Dover recently shared some of the common reasons that people resist change.*  His thoughts were presented in the context of people quickly abandoning well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions, but I think several of his points are equally relevant for those finding themselves stymied in the process of a major professional transition:

  • People are unwilling to give up the safe, predictable and familiar.
  • We have no real conviction that change is better than the status quo.
  • We feel safer staying where we are, uncertain what life will be like if the change takes place.

No question that with change, comes risk.  We want to avoid failure, making mistakes, feeling embarrassed in front of colleagues or family members who know us as high-achieving, highly competent individuals.

Professional transition, whether by your own choice or someone else’s, mandates change in routine and a departure from established activities and behaviors. It may be challenging to shift gears in mid-life, but it can be done. As with the proverbial joke about the number of psychologists it takes to change a light bulb, the answer is “One, but it must be willing to change.”

It may be challenging to shift gears in mid-life, but it can be done. As with the proverbial joke about the number of psychologists it takes to change a light bulb, the answer is “One, but it must be willing to change.”

Keep Chaplain Dover’s suggestions in mind:

  • You have to be committed to change — in your heart and in your head.
  • Set attainable, specific goals for yourself, rather than flap around in the ambiguity of motivational slogans that “all things are possible” — you may, indeed, not be able to compete any longer as a U.S. Olympic javelin thrower.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Talk with others throughout the transition process to learn from your peers’ experiences. Don’t think you have to do this in a vacuum.

Here are some basic ways to get started:

  • Replace that LinkedIn headshot of yourself in military uniform to a more recent one you have taken while wearing a well-fitting business suit.
  • Reevaluate your current resume and LinkedIn profile to see how you can reframe your military experience into terms that anyone could understand and appreciate.
  • Remove all the acronyms and highlight how the experience you’ve gained can make a quantifiable difference for a civilian employer who is comparing you to another veteran applying for the same job.

Let us know some of the ways you have brought about change in attitude, perspective or delivery as you navigated your transition from military service. Others are waiting to learn from your experience!

 

* “We must learn to change”, Michael P. Dover, National DAV Chaplain, DAV Magazine, January/February 2015

 

 

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