Change isn’t easy, but it can be a great opportunity for growth. Women from across financial services discussed how to manage stress and prioritize in times of change. Here are just a few of our takeaways.
1. Our brains don’t like change.
No wonder change is so difficult! We have to work against our own brains. As speaker Danielle Banner, Executive Vice President at Estate Information Services, explained, “There’s something called negativity bias. Anytime you have a failure you remember the guilt and shame that was associated with it. Oftentimes, we avoid situations and circumstances that could result in failure because we fear the emotions that could come along with it.”
As we attempt something new, our brains cling to memories of failure as a way to protect us. That’s why so many of us feel overwhelmed when trying something new. Next time you have anxiety about change, try to slow your negative thoughts and imagine positive outcomes.
2. Sometimes you need a little retail therapy.
Change happens in stages. And, the stage of shock and disappointment is very, very real. We all have our own coping mechanisms in these moments. Maybe you eat a pint of ice cream while laying in a pile of pillows on your bed, take a three hour shower, dance with your friends until 2am, hit the gym and lift until you can barely walk, or, maybe, you go shopping. All are valid.
It’s okay to be afraid, sad, or confused when big changes occur. Take the time that you need to process and remember to be kind to yourself while you do.
3. Defining your core values is the best preparation for change.
When change strikes unexpectedly, it can cause internal chaos. What do you do? How should you respond? What should your next move be? In the midst of trying to sort out your thoughts, focusing your attention can be a real challenge. In those moments, it’s helpful to know what’s most important to you. Defined core values will give you insight into how you should move forward in times of stress. As Danielle put it, “Core values dictate your behaviors and decisions. They’re your north star.”
Think about what matters most to you and what qualities you admire in yourself and others before change strikes.
4. We need to talk about our struggles and how we got through them more often.
During the workshop, Dawn Fletcher, National Account Executive at LiveVox, shared how she was once thrown into shock after she unexpectedly lost her dream job. By sharing vulnerably, she made audience members feel less alone in their own struggles and fears.
Angie Peterson, Human Resources Divisional Officer at Faber & Brand, LLC, pointed out how important it is to share our shortcomings, saying, “Women need to do this more. It's invaluable because we all find hints of our own stories as we listen to others. I think we often live in our own heads and actually believe we're the "only" ones having negative experiences or thoughts. We all have a story of who we are, where we've been, and how we got to where we are. The more we share, the more we can lift those coming up behind or alongside us.”
5. Remember to be loyal to yourself.
Making the decision to make a professional change is difficult, especially when you like where you work and your co-workers. Dawn shared that she once weighed what was best for herself and her family against the sense of loyalty she felt to her colleagues and workplace. The experience taught her to make sure she also considers herself when making decisions. She shares, “I learned that I owe myself a sense of loyalty too. I had to do what was best for me.”
Having a sense of responsibility for your work and colleagues is wonderful. It means you care about what you do. But, it’s important to make sure your situation is also serving you. If not, it may be time to consider a change.
6. We’re more resilient than we think.
Workshop hosts challenged attendees to think through the changes the pandemic ushered in and how they dealt with them. Surprisingly, attendees found more positive outcomes than negative ones. It seems that now that we’re removed from the initial chaos and stress that 2020 brought to all of our doorsteps, the changes we once thought were catastrophic actually led to some pretty great things (like more time with family and improved work-life balance).
Stephanie Eidelman, Chair of Women in Consumer Finance, pointed out, “These types of experiences, while painful in the moment, teach us we can actually handle anything that comes our way.”
Check out these recommendations from speakers and participants for more on how to manage stress and work through change:
Ted Talk: Increase Your Self-Awareness with One Simple Fix (Tasha Eurich)
Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything (BJ Fogg, PhD)
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (Travis Bradberry)
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle (Amelia Nagoski & Emily Nagoski)
Change Is Hard. Here’s How to Make It Less Painful. (Erika Andersen)
Miss the workshop or want a refresher? Check out the recording of the event here.