I believe the world and its people are going through change fatigue. So much has happened over the last several years, with no time to process one change before another hits. A short list of changes over the past five years include: Syrian refugee crisis, terrorism, US presidential election and presidency, Brexit and Prime Minister change, North Korean nuclear missile testing, #MeToo, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, Venezuelan economy, civil war in Yemen, Central American migration, Hong Kong protests, Coronavirus worldwide pandemic, and most recently global racial protests and elections in the US. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but to give an idea of the amount of change and frustration people are experiencing. In my last blog, I discussed managing transitions, and how we need to process the ending before moving onto the new beginning. With all that is happening in the world, and the inability to move around or operate as we have previously, processing through these transitions could be challenging for individuals, building pressure and creating anxiety.
Besides this change fatigue ,there exists a news system that bases its value on selling stories through sensationalism. Each agency accuses the other of falsifying photos or reporting an angle and message that supports or reinforces the viewer’s thoughts or beliefs. There are even companies like adfontes and allsides that rate the bias of a news source. Is society in a place where an agenda or vision is more important than truth, or truth that is distorted or only partially told to align with a particular belief? I look at the violence in the world, how many feel it is justified. I see generalizations by race, gender, religion, or profession that create hatred or division that is rapidly destabilizing society. I also hear that this is the goal.
With all this change, people become frustrated - their coping mechanisms don’t work. How can we reset change fatigue to become change resilient?
- Recognize the need. Become self-aware of your actions and behavior and how they may not align with your values. If it’s been a while, or if you’ve not identified your core values, now is the time to name them.
- Name the change(s). This will set the boundaries under which you will operate.
- Identify what is in your control (words, actions) and focus all your efforts and thoughts here. This enables you and gives you the ‘power’ that you’ve given up when you try to dwell on things that are truly outside your control (pandemic, violence).
- Create a plan to stay focused on ‘control.’ What specific actions can you take to move forward? Identify the triggers that cause you to move into areas outside your control and avoid those where possible.
- Enlist others to help and be there for each other. Recognize that we are a people who thrives on interaction – and that has been lacking for the past several months.Also, we can recharge or re-energize by helping others. What are some specific things you can do to help others in your circle?
There is a lack of global leadership where someone will stand up and say we don’t know what the future holds, but we will get through all this change together. Rather, there seems to be a focus on placing blame, or inciting dissent. Leadership is for all - how can each one of us defuse the anger and hurt and get people on a constructive path to healing? Start by reflecting on your core values: do your words and actions align? Change is good, is needed (in my opinion), but it needs to be done in a constructive manner. Is the part we’re playing in that change aligned to our core values? If not, what do we need to do to align?