13 Jul 2020  •  Blog, Mental Health  •  5min read By  • Fliss McCalmont

How to stop fearing and start embracing change

Fliss McCalmont asks Polly Brennan about how to have a positive approach towards change…

Since March, huge changes have been inflicted upon the dental profession. Even with dentists’ impressive abilities to adapt to the system they find themselves working in, this has been a challenge for most.

Change can often be scary, especially when it is on such a big scale and is instigated by forces beyond our control. To find out how you can begin embracing change and seeing the positives it may also bring, I spoke to mental fitness coach Polly Brennan.

Fliss: Why is change so scary to some people?

Polly: As humans we are habitual – we become comfortable with the predictability of life. This means that we can become at risk of sticking to what we know in terms of our habits, routines and our circumstances.

Doing something different to the norm means changing your mind. This requires us to adapt to new expectations, which means a new way of thinking and a new approach that creates different actions.

This is where life gets uncomfortable. Our inner critic starts to chatter in the background, pulling us to stick to what we know. While the intention is to keep us safe, it can also hold us back.

Fliss: In what ways can change be positive?

Polly: Learning to try new things or to make changes can mean taking risks. Times of change are also opportunities for growth. If we can learn to become comfortable with the discomfort or stress of doing something different or in a new way, we create space to stretch and to grow and to adapt.

This pain of change helps us to thrive in our lives and shifts our mindset to a ‘can-do’ mindset and builds our confidence in our own capabilities. Every time we manage to make a change, we grow. We build evidence of our capability and we flex our confidence muscles which develops our ability to have more, be more and do more.

Fliss: How can someone learn to embrace change?

Polly: There are several things you can do to begin embracing change:

  • Controlling the controllables helps us to change what we can influence and accept what we cannot.
  • Opting in to new circumstances begins with the decision to take new actions in response to a situation. This helps us to buy into the change process.
  • Adapting a learner mindset enables us to adopt an optimistic view of circumstances that we face. How we think helps us to overcome the fear of change.
  • Adopting a learner mindset allows permission to learn on the job in an ever-changing world.
  • Finally, feeling that fear factor and taking action regardless is vital. This is where we learn, discover and grow.
Fliss: What are your top tips for someone to adapt to an unexpected change?

Polly: My top five tips are:

  1. Tap into the power of your team – Connect with people who will support you and help you to be solution focused.
  2. Intention not perfection – Manage any high expectations that might be holding you back and let go of the delusion of perfection. You can be a novice in the process of mastering something new.
  3. Manage your mindset – Clear the clutter of your mind of thoughts that might be holding you back or creating negativity. Make space for a more helpful way to view things. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at can change!
  4. Pick your battles – Otherwise known as game management. Prioritise when to utilise your resources in order to maintain your stamina and to be impactful where it matters most. This can be a more strategic way to ensure that you can remain resilient after the fact.
  5. Self-care – Be kind to yourself. Times of adversity and change require us to dig deep into our resourcefulness and can deplete us. It’s impossible to pour from an empty jug. Make time to top up in whatever way works for you.

Fliss: Thanks for your advice Polly, no doubt it will be very useful for the changes that will continue to come in dentistry.

About Fliss

Fliss McCalmont has been a Regional Support Manager at Practice Plan, the UK’s leading provider of practice-branded patient membership plans, for 18 years and before that was a Practice Manager for 10 years. Our team of experienced professionals has supported over 1,500 dental practices to transform the profitability of their business through the combination of a well-populated plan and personalised support including marketing, business advice, events and training. If you’re looking for more from your provider, call 01691 684165 or visit practiceplan.co.uk

About Polly

Polly Brennan is founder of Adventurous Coaching and creator of The Mental Fitness Kitbag™ Model.
With 24 years of experience working in the NHS mental health sector, Polly is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Occupational Therapist. She supports individuals and teams, strengthening their mental fitness and building resilience to achieve successful outcomes

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