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17 May 2016

Hugging it Out with Change

I recently was having coffee with a good friend of mine. We were discussing his new business venture and my job change. When he asked me, “Are you excited for your new job?” I contemplated my response. He looked at me and said, “You don’t like change much, do you?” Both questions felt too complex to respond with a simple yes or no. Because in order to embrace the new, I have to accept and let go of the past.


In chatting with friends, colleagues and mentors these past few months, it is clear that change doesn’t singularly seek out just one person or organization. Whether people are starting new careers, navigating mergers or ending relationships, our reactions impact perceptions about our brand. As marketing professionals, we know that how we communicate about said change determines the perception of whether the events are considered positive or negative, or if we look resilient or resistant.


In light of personally navigating a merger and changing jobs this year, I have devoted a lot of time and wine to analyzing my approach to change. The following are observations that are teaching me to run toward and hug the bajeezus out of change instead of looking like a deer in headlights in the future:


Keep it positive. When influences outside of your control change your environment and circumstances, choose your words and thoughts carefully. It’s tempting to wallow in the uncomfortable spots, but it doesn’t actually change any of your circumstances and likely brings others down with you. Find a safe space with one or two key people that can help you process and look at the bright side.


Take control of your space. Only you are in control of your life. Listen to your instincts and ask yourself tough questions. What would make you happy? Does this change open doors for you? Are you on a path to where you want to be? If the answers to these questions clearly point out an action plan, take action.


Be grateful. As you’re moving forward toward a new chapter, take a moment to acknowledge your past. We have new skills, experiences and memories from each job, colleague and relationship. Give yourself a moment of gratitude for how far you’ve come and for those who have supported you along the way to close this chapter of your life with grace.