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Dealing with disruption

Challenges to implementing PIE: Managing change

In this blog, 3rd in the series, I have taken a different approach to talking about how we can manage change. There’s a raft of information on how to do this, you don’t need me to repeat it. Instead I want to look at this only constant through a period of my own, personal trauma, and share what I think are key elements we can apply to all periods of disruption.

October 2016. My baby sister died. Two months later, December 2016 my dad passed away, leaving a devastated and hysterical wife.  Not only were my family and I experiencing our own psychological trauma but my life was about to take a totally unanticipated change.

My family; mum, 2 other sisters, their spouses and 7 children were going through hell…there’s really no other way to put it. I was living in London at the time, happily so. Doing a job, I loved, in a city that had been my home for 25 years. I had not planned to return to the childhood town I ran away from many years before.

Manging change requires  a sense of urgency, emotional resilience and a sense of purpose.  

I honestly don’t know how I managed it, but within the space of 5 months I had organised 2 funerals, rented out my flat in London and moved back to Bristol.  All, whilst trying to process my own grief and doing what I could to prevent my loved ones from falling into the abyss.

Managing change requires sensitivity and a willingness to roll with the knocks it most certainly brings.

We learn so much through change, strengths we didn’t know we had, vulnerabilities maybe hidden before, and the wonderful capacity we humans have for adapting to new circumstances when surrounded by love and support from others.

We are constantly going through it to a greater or lesser degree, whether internally or in the wider environment, at work or in our personal lives.  Managing it requires grit, determination, recognition of and dealing with, set-backs and challenges. It needs acceptance of the myriad of emotions and unexpected events, it will without doubt bring. It means having difficult conversations with others and some times with yourself.

When I reflect on that time and how I managed to earn the remarks, “you’ve been our rock,” “you’re so strong Claire,” “they couldn’t have managed without you,” I think, in some small way, that my resilience was strengthened by the belief it’s not change itself that’s difficult but our resistance to it.

In the long term, the unwanted changes imposed upon us in 2016 brought with them positive outcomes for me. I’m now living by the sea, at a slower pace, next door to the people I love. I am grateful everyday for the beauty I see through my window, for being able to pop in and check on my mum. And, in the spirit of candidness, I am perhaps most grateful for the (mad) dogs we adopted to help us through, Annie and Foxy. We are all doing ok.