Building your resilience to thrive through change

Even when we are enthusiastic about change and are bought into the reasons for it, it can be incredibly difficult to live through and has the potential to deplete our reserves.

One of the keys to thriving during times of change is how you manage your mindset.

Our thoughts and beliefs shape our reactions and influence whether we view change as a threat or an opportunity. By cultivating more of a growth mindset we can navigate the transition with greater resilience, adaptability, and a positive attitude towards learning from new experiences.  

In short, we need to be realistic in our expectations (of ourselves and our team);  accept that not everything will go perfectly; and that setbacks are an expected part of any change.  The good news is that there are skills we can learn and attitudes we can adopt (regardless of our position in our organisation) to make it more likely that we maintain our resilience and thrive through change rather than allowing it to derail us.



Remain open-minded about how you reach the endpoint. Recognise that the plan you set today might need to be adjusted tomorrow. Regular reviews and tracking of progress will allow you to make adjustments as you go to optimise the outcome. By staying flexible and adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond to unexpected challenges and seize opportunities.

Change brings uncertainty and a fear of the unknown, which can be overwhelming. Rather than focusing on ambitious long-term goals, break things down into manageable steps, creating attainable short-term goals to enhance confidence and motivation.


Raise your awareness of your emotions

Change can be stressful, particularly in the early stages when we know it’s coming and it’s a bit uncertain, and then later when we’re engaged in the change and things are different and new.

Emotions that we typically experience as we go through the different stages of change include shock, denial, anger, frustration, and even depression. How deeply you experience these emotions and how quickly you move through them will depend on your mindset, how you view the change and how comfortable you are with it.

Raise your awareness of your emotions and remember that they can have a profound impact on your behaviour and ultimately your performance. Ask yourself how these thoughts and feelings are serving you. If they’re not serving you, see if you can reframe the situation and explore a different perspective.


Build a support system

Peers, a coach, and your family can all provide support, guidance, and encouragement. Lean into the support and perspectives they offer.

Change is not an easy process regardless of your position in an organisation and it is important that you have people you can share your frustrations and successes with. Even when everyone else is going through the same change process, people can typically feel lonely. It can be very beneficial to create support groups with colleagues so that you can discuss what is going on for you, how you are feeling and what you can do to support one another. These kind of support groups of 2-4 people can help to create a sense of belonging and a feeling that no one is alone during the change.



Be Assertive

Assertiveness is a key skill when navigating change because it provides a powerful means of maintaining control and clarity in uncertain situations. If you have questions and concerns but you don’t speak up, eventually you will feel resentful, unhappy, and like a victim of the situation.

When you adopt an assertive approach, you can communicate your needs, share your concerns, and make informed decisions. This can be done in a way that shows consideration for others and respect for the perspectives of others. Being assertive will allow you to take an active role in shaping your response to change, rather than passively accepting whatever comes your way.


Control the controllables

Depending on your role in an organisation, you may have little control over a change programme. A feeling of a lack of control can lead to frustration and anxiety. It’s not easy to ignore these uncontrollable factors because they probably impact you and the team that you care about.

By focusing on these factors, however, we fuel those uncomfortable feelings and it means you’re spending less time focused on what is in our control. If you diligently focus your attention on where you can have an impact, you can regain your sense of control.

Some of the areas where you may be able to gain some control during a change situation are:

  • Your mindset – embracing new challenges and always seeking solutions
  • How you communicate – speaking up and sharing your concerns
  • Asking questions to clarify what you are unsure about
  • Listening to your colleagues and their concerns
  • Show empathy for yourself and others as you go through change which can be stressful
  • Reaching out for support when you need it and offering support to your colleagues.

When we realise that there is a lot that we can control, it is empowering.


Support through change

At Beyond the Barriers, we love change! Working with my colleague Hilary Coldicott, an experienced leadership coach and expert in change management, we support senior leaders to deliver effective, performance-enhancing change. Contact us to discuss how we can support you.


Published: Friday 7 June 2024
Written by: Anna Hemmings, MBE, OLY.