By Alka Chandiramani


Change is inevitable, it is constant. When we encounter any form of change, our emotions move across the spectrum without much effort. The neurotransmitters in our brains activate at a much higher rate in this disruptive, volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. How do we incorporate change as part of our life? Does staying in our comfort zone makes us complacent? We often fear the unknown because our brain likes to visualize the bigger picture. However, there are times when we have to accept the lowlights and trust in the cycle of life.

In a recent article, Be the Change Before Change Changes You, by founder and managing partner of Ultimate Balance Consultancy, Kim Underhill, articulates the 5Cs that can help learn to be positive about change:

Never Stay Too Comfortable
Embrace continuous learning. Our biggest growth comes when we move out of our comfort zone and take action, even in the most challenging situations.

Always Be Curious
Be an observer and make it a habit to understand what goes on and why things happen. Reach out to enhance your presence with the people who are stepping up to make a difference.

Stay Connected at All Times
It is not only what you know and who you know, but also who knows you that matters. What’s your personal brand? The act of collaboration, as the saying goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It is nearly impossible to succeed alone.

Conscious Decision-Making
Choosing between doing things right versus doing the right things should never pose a dilemma for leaders. Leader sustainability requires you to be mindful and change only on rightful terms that do not compromise the ethics and integrity of how you lead.

Carping Is Not Allowed
There is no point in complaining or whining if you are doing nothing to change. With every challenge, comes an opportunity for you to make the right choice. Change happens when you take action.

As with designing any form of action, we have to undertake specific activities, tasks or steps to move into the next phase. This requires us to step back from our current reality, notice our own thinking, identify the hurdles that stop us from making the first step, which could possibly result in the biggest change.

Often, we have to give ourselves permission to delve deeper, as hard as it can be – how could I think about this situation differently? What would I like to see happen for me in this area? How do I feel about this in one or two words? Sometimes using a technique called ‘symbolic labelling’ to identify an emotional sensation reduces the activity in our brain’s limbic system, which is primarily responsible for our emotional life and has a lot to do with the formation of memories. Numerous studies also show that speaking about an emotional experience brings the emotion back to the surface; how one manages it is the key factor. Being able to use just a few words to label the emotion in symbolic language using metaphors helps simplify the experience. Step back, reevaluate, visualize and readjust your direction.