Stay Out of the Stress Zone When Working Through Changes

2 minute read


All of us continue to face changes in our lives. When we approach a change, there is often some concern and fear. You probably ask yourself questions (like I have), wondering “am I even ready for this?”

It’s natural to have concerns about change because we don’t know everything about the new situation: teammates, type of work, specific expectations, the new manager, a different location, etc.

A common tendency is to ask yourself Yes/No and Either/Or questions. These questions actually compound the pressure and perceived complexity because they are too big to answer clearly.

Upgrade Your Internal Narrative

Instead, when you start to feel your intensity rise and you’re headed for the Stress Zone, upgrade your internal narrative. Start asking yourself different questions to think through the situation more clearly, and in a more productive manner. When you break down the changes, you’ll probably realize there are some important things that will adjust very little.

Here are a few Advancing Questions® to get you started:

  1. What parts of this are staying the same?
  2. What particular parts of this are changing?
  3. Which of the changed things am I actually concerned about?
  4. What is it specifically about those items that I have some anxiety about?
  5. Who do I know that I can rely on for help?

Breaking It Down

When you tease a big complex situation apart into its more granular pieces, you are giving yourself a better understanding of what’s happening. Instead of saddling yourself with an unhelpful mindset that stokes your own tension and stress, see which parts are truly different so you can approach them with clarity.

We often tangle ourselves up in thinking “everything is changing.” In reality, everything isn’t. Certain responsibilities, team members, or managers may be different. It may be a new environment. As you dig down, you will realize plenty will be the same.

An essential part to remember in any new situation is that you are still you! The experience, knowledge, and skills you have learned throughout your life are still with you! Lean on and trust in all of who you are to work through the new situation!