Here is an excerpt from a presentation she made to students at the Mandeville campus of Northern Caribbean University where she outlined several steps to help in managing change successfully. She made the delivery at the institution’s Professional Enhancement Training (PET) Seminar on January 17. The seminar, the first in the series for the semester, is an initiative of the institution’s Counselling & Psychological Services Centre (CPSC).
It was William Pollard who said, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.” He said that “those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”
According to the Arnold Bennett Calendar, any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.
Let me share with you, ten practical steps for managing change successfully.
Step 1 - Trust in the Divine
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy waysacknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5). There are many spiritual activities on-campus so don’t be shy; get involved. The closer you get to Jesus, the easier it will be for you. Trust in God, He has begun a good work in you and He will see you through.
Step 2 - Take it slow
Not everyone adapts to change at the same level or at the same time. Identify other slow-to-change individuals and work towards nurturing change. Do not compare yourself to other people; you are not the same. Remember that the race is not for the swift but for those who will endure to the end.
Step 3 - Understand why you need to change
In managing change successfully, you must be determined to reach your goal. You must understand exactly why you need to change. Change is necessary if you are to earn your degree. You can’t afford to take your eyes off the prize. It has been said that the only way to get a degree is to want it bad enough to keep working for it.
Step 4 - Understand Yourself
You need to understand yourself, for it you don’t, no one else will. You must have an understanding of your body and at what level you can operate at your maximum. In other words, can you study at nights, or do you study better in the morning. Do you do better in groups or do you study better by yourself? What about your Christian values, you must know the things that you can do and the things that you will not do. Put these things down in writing and read them over and over; you must know yourself.
Step 5 - Be optimistic
Being an optimist is more than looking on the bright side (though that helps). It’s a way of viewing the world where you maximize your strengths and accomplishments, and minimize your weaknesses and setbacks. Developing a more optimistic world view can help you become more resilient, it will help you to manage change successfully.
Step 6 - Develop the right attitude
Learn to view life’s difficulties as challenges and respond accordingly with action, rather than with fear, self-pity, blame or a "victim mentality." While life can be very challenging, an important step in becoming successful is to develop positive self-talk and to remind yourself that you are strong and can grow stronger and wiser as you handle life’s changes.
Step 7 - Develop a supportive Network
You are going to need friends, never feel that you are the king of the jungle - no man is an island, no man stands. While we ultimately face our own challenges, a supportive friend or group of friends can help lighten the load. Those with strong networks of social support tend to stay healthier and happier throughout life, and tend to cope well under stress. Conversely, those with little support may find themselves more vulnerable, and those with conflicted and unsupportive relationships tend to fare even worse.
Step 8 - Maintain your sense of humour
Learn to laugh. The Bible says a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Do not become stiff-necked because you are enrolled in a university. Also, do not be too hard on yourself; embrace change and revel in those moments that bring laughter and joy.
Step 9 – Exercise
While you go through changes, you will experience some amount of stress, the best medicine to relieve stress, is exercise. Visit the Fitness Centre at Northern Caribbean University or your local gym to sign-up for a fitness programme.
Step 10 – Persistence
Be persistent, there will be naysayers, those telling you that you cannot make it, and others may even tell you to throw in the towel, but do not give up. “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wing like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Twelve years ago when Counselling Psychologist, Mrs. Jacqueline Champier arrived at Robinson Hall on Northern Caribbean University’s Mandeville Campus, she was a “nervous wreck”. BUT TODAY, SHE IS NOT THE SAME, WITH THE HELP OF GOD SHE HAS MANAGED THE CHANGE SUCCESSFULLY. GO YE THEREFORE AND DO LIKEWISE.
Mrs. Jacqueline Champier is a graduate of Northern Caribbean University and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a Master of Science Degree in Counselling Psychology from the University. Currently, she serves her alma mater as an instructor in the Department of Behavioural Sciences.