CHANGE - What thoughts come to your mind when you hear the word? Some of us rub our hands together in glee, chaffing at the bit to rush headlong into it. Others become paralyzed with fear. Personality, learned coping strategies and life experiences all contribute to how we manage change. Psychologists have identified four typical behaviors to change:
• The Innovator is someone who makes change happen. They are the visionaries, inventors, the "I hate status quo" crowd. Innovators run for and are always up TO something. They value risk, freedom and innovation! 25% of the general population are Innovators.
• The Embracer accepts change enthusiastically. Though they don't make change happen, they thrive on it. They are the 'get going' crowd when it comes to change and often put the innovators plans into action. They value adventure, variety, challenge and hard work. 35% of the general population are Embracers.
• The Acceptor is slower to come on board with change. They initially resist and eventually go along with the flow, often because they see no alternative. Acceptors need time and space to process change. They value peace, acceptance, harmony and stability. 35% of the general population are Acceptors.
• The Resistor resists! They refuse to budge and are stubborn. They often fight against something and see no reason to change. Resistors value routine, tradition,consistency and the 'tried, tested and true'. 5 % of the general population are Resisters.
Think back to a major change in your life. Maybe several.
- Which style is your default mode?
- What's it like being in this place when change happens? Does it serve you well? What are the hang ups?
- How do people with other styles make you feel? React?
Included above are values with each style. This helps put a positive spin on the change style. Do one or more of them hold true for you?
Change never happens in isolation. We are affected by others change style and they are affected by ours. It's good to know your default mode and understand what motivates you to operate that way. Having an understanding of the styles of your family members will help you accept and appreciate their differences.
I’m married to an Innovator. Three of my children are Embracers. And the other two of us are Acceptors. Sometimes the Innovator drives irritates me because the next dream/move is being explored verbally and we’ve barely settled into the present. Yet life wouldn’t be the abundance or adventure without him. I have permanent scars on my shins from being dragged! 😊
Our change style is a default mode. Once you know this, at any given time you can choose to change your change style. How? By changing your thoughts and behaviour. Ask yourself in the situation:
- Is there a better way?
- What style will serve me (or others) best in this present change?
My default mode is “Acceptor”. I read that Kuwait was the 5th most dangerous city in the world to drive in. I had driven Indonesia and Cambodia, so was confident when we moved there. After 5 days of daily passing bloodied, lifeless bodies lying twisted at accident sites, fear wrapped it’s tentacles around my heart. I didn't ever want to be IN traffic, let alone DRIVE! I couldn’t live holed up in the apartment, so chose to get behind the wheel, turn on the gas, and press the pedal. I moved into Embracer. It was out of my comfort zone so much so that each time the car was parked, I’d have a brain squeezing headache! My previous Asian driving skills came in handy because most of the drivers in Kuwait are from Asia! Fears were faced and conquered. Father helped me and I was able to live life to the full in Kuwait.
Our third child, Ladida Girl, was very shy in class. When we moved from eastern to western Canada, she was going into grade 9. Every report card until then said “Very quiet in class. Many good ideas that need to be shared”. We told her how much other people were missing by not hearing her ideas. She decided in this new classroom setting, she could re-invent herself, and begin to speak up in class. The first time she gave her name loudly was because the teacher asked how to pronounce it. CHECK! A week later she put her hand up and prayed she didn’t get called on. CHECK CHECK! Three weeks later she reported that the teacher had picked her and though shaking teeth, she spoke in class. The teacher said “Great thought, Ladida Girl” and those around her smiled affirmation. CHECK x 3. Since then, she has contributed in class and as of this writing, 2019, she has her masters and is working in Indigenous Affairs here in Canada. A default mode can be changed!
It’s interesting to note the general population percentages around each change style. Often, as Innovators and Embracers, we think the 5% of Resistors are on our team or part of our family! What these numbers tell us is that we all need preparation, time, space and support to go through change.
Many of you are facing change in your lives now. Others are anticipating change in the next few months. Who do you want to be in this change? Is that who you are? If not, you can choose change!!
FAMILY GAME: As a family we would talk about each person’s default way of handling change. Then play a game where were would attempt to switch roles for a day or a week. We’d cheer each other on when we noticed one in their new role play. Then, we’d come together and ask: How did it come out in your thoughts and behaviour? How did it feel out of your comfort zone? We would acknowledge and affirm. This helped us better understand and accept each other. Laughs and family teasing came that connects us to this day!
As parents, you can teach your children valuable life skills and use your expat family situation as a ‘laboratory’ for growth and resilience. When you find yourself challenged, ask Father for creativity. You can also book an appointment for my PARENT COACHING to speak specifically into your family situation.