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Saying 'Yes' to What's Next -- 4 Signs You Are a Master at Handling Change

04/26/2015 11:29 am ET | Updated Jun 26, 2015
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Make no mistake about it, change can be scary. It's full of unknowns and uncertainty. But then again, so are all aspects of life. No matter how comfortable we get, nothing is guaranteed. In fact, Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, "The only thing that is constant is change."

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how we handle it. Our ability (or inability) to live in reality and deal with change can say a lot about us and our outlook on life. And unbeknownst to many, it can also be indicative of how successful we will be and how far life will take us.

To understand this correlation, we must first understand the three different stages of change that most people experience. The first is a state of resistance. This when we fear and even reject change in an effort to stay safe at all costs. The second stage is maintenance, which involves mere survival or just getting through the day. Its attitude is one of indifference. And the finally, we have vision. This stage is about embracing change and leaning in to what's next.

Most people move through these stages when the unexpected occurs, and I'm sure you've experienced them first-hand at some point yourself. The differentiating factor is how long we decide to stay in each stage. For example, are you in a constant state of resistance or do you eventually embrace what's happening? Are you willing to explore and adopt new challenges and ideas wholeheartedly, or are you apathetic toward such situations? The difference can be very telling.

Wondering if you've mastered the art of navigating change? Here are four signs that you may be a change agent in the making.

1. You're prepared

Those who live in a constant state of readiness are unfazed by change and step easily into what's next. They don't victimize themselves by wishing for different circumstances. They capitalize on change by having the foresight to be prepared for what's headed their way. Remember, success will depend on your ability and willingness to adapt, not on everything staying the same.

2. You can reframe

Visionaries don't see their situations as a challenge, they see them as opportunity even if they aren't sure what the opportunity will be. This type of mental flexibility is an essential attribute of a visionary. They are able to focus on the positive instead of creating self-imposed stress by dwelling on the negative. The truth is, we never know how things will work out. Those who are adept at handing change recognize this and trust they are capable of whatever the future holds.

3. You give yourself permission to fail

Change means risk, which can be tough for the ego to handle if it's been built upon the false premise that failure is or was never an option. Often times the paralyzing fear of failure can cause more harm than good. After all, the cost of doing nothing is much higher. Change agents remain based in reality and understand that often times even our worst-case scenario doesn't have the impact we imagine it will. They ditch the fictional story, focus on what they know to be true and are open to what lies ahead -- for better or worse.

4. You move on from mistakes with confidence

If you find yourself riddled with self-doubt, you may be struggling with confidence. But what many don't realize is that a limiting belief, if never questioned, can turn into a roadblock to seeing opportunity in change. Those in the stage of vision recognize when something isn't working or their approach is not on target -- and they don't beat themselves up over it. They do what they can to fix it, learn from the situation and vow to do better next time. Failure becomes a teachable moment that is a step toward self-growth, not their identity.

So what's my advice? Make vision your default mode when faced with change. Life can certainly throw us curveballs, but rejecting them and wasting time and energy in a state of resistance is far more dangerous than facing what is happening and adapting accordingly. Change is a vital component of self-growth. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and you will find there is no limit to what you can achieve.