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Natural Human Response to Change

"There is nothing permanent except change", quoting Heraclitus. Another certainty is that each individual handles change in their own way and timing.

Studies have identified various stages that most of us ultimately go through. There are a lot of different charts to reference with curves up and down and all around, which can be confusing. One that I relate to is the Kubler-Ross Change Curve. This study recognizes seven stages that most people must go through, at their own pace, in order to move forward onto the next stage.

1. Shock

2. Denial

3. Frustration

4. Depression

5. Experiment

6. Decision

7. Integration

I would also add Anger, Acceptance, and Excitement as possible phases. By allowing ourselves to flow through these feelings, we can successfully create alignment, maximize communication, spark motivation, develop capability, and share knowledge for a positive, renewing, and lasting change.

To secure a lasting change, the Kurt Lewin Model of Change identified three essential actions necessary; 1. Unfreeze 2. Change 3. Freeze. This requires three steps. The first is by stopping past actions, letting go of prior thinking, and/or releasing the old normal. Once this is accomplished, we can then identify, accept, and even embrace the changes. Finally, because it is so easy to fall back into past habits, reinforcing the changes often will create the long term results necessary for implementing the change for a new normal.

Change in all areas of our lives comes in many forms: work conditions, new job, job loss, type and frequency of social interactions, illness or injury, death, birth, marriage, divorce, new processes, food and drink habits, technology, lost friendships, new friends, recreation options, exercise routines, etc. Whether you are initiating a desired change that you wish to incorporate or responding to a change that has been imposed on you, it is important to remember that we all handle these things the same, yet differently. During these times of change especially, please be patient, compassionate, and kind to one another, including to yourself.

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