Are people inherently resistant to change? If so, we would not go to school, change jobs, date, or have children. We not only don’t resist change, but also devote a lot of time and energy initiating change. Every waking hour, we are engaged in change – our survival depends on it! We constantly assess our environments and change accordingly.

Nature motivates us to make some kind of change if we are not safe, secure, healthy, or happy.  According to research begun over three decades ago by T. Falcon Napier, an internationally-recognized human development expert, the change process has three 3 stages:

  • Assess the environment (am I safe, secure, healthy, and happy?)
  • Implement a change.
  • Assess the result.

If step 2 did not result in making us safer, securer, healthier, or happier, we try again.

Everybody wants you to change.

Change is at the heart of relationships. Everyone is a change agent. Through you, others can make a change that they would find difficult or impossible without you. Whether you are in the role of physician, spouse, parent or friend, you can help make positive changes in the lives of those you care about.

Change and control

Control is the ability to regulate or influence a process or event. The goal of all change is control. Remember that people are not resistant to change, but resist losing control. We change to solve a problem, stay in control, or avoid losing control. All change involves some risk, and resistance is a response to fear of losing control. Otherwise, why change if you are already safe, secure, healthy, and happy?

How can you help people with change?

People pay attention to where they find their tension. Tension is the level of physical, emotional, or intellectual activity experienced. As you feel tension, up to a point, you can be more productive. Too much tension creates stress and reduces productivity, whereas not enough tension results in apathy.

Most physicians I work with focus on making a case for change in which the options are both logical and feasible. But the logic will not matter if the other person is not experiencing an optimal level of tension.

How do you manage tension?

Start with yourself. Ask what is going on in your life, and what level of tension you have about those issues.

Know your audience. What are their unique characteristics, needs, circumstances, limitations, and expectations?

Not getting the result you want? Is the result logical and feasible for others? If so, what can be done to manage tension levels?

People in your life are not resistant to change, but are resistant to losing control. To facilitate change, remember that of the qualities of logic, feasibility, and tension level, tension is key. Manage your tension, and pay attention to the tension of those around you to improve the conditions for change.

Deborah Munhoz, MS, Certified Physician Development Coach™ helps busy physicians create success and fulfillment in medicine and their personal lives. Call (888) 303-3961 or get free resources here.

Two sessions with Deborah are included in the Physician Wellness Program.

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