We experience change many times a day. Many of these are small, such as our internet going out; some of these are large, such as our manager leaving and a new one taking their place. Some of these are under our control, such as choosing to try a new cuisine; others are forced upon us, such as getting laid off.
Whatever the change, we are impacted in some way. Whether we bounce back quickly or stumble around lost and confused for days and weeks and even months and years, we must come to terms with the change and either find a way to deal with it or stay mired. As we start to find our way through the change we generally also find our way back to our previous level of capability — and, often, a higher one.
The Satir Change Model is a representation of this process which I consistently find helpful:
Change happens when our current status quo is interrupted by a Foreign Element. While we might resist it for awhile, eventually we plunge into chaos as we try to come to terms with the change. Eventually we discover a Transforming Idea that helps us work our way out of the chaos and, once we’ve fully integrated that idea, into our new status quo. (Steven Smith, who created the image above, also wrote a longer description of this process that is well worth reading; find it here.)
Remembering that change generally throws us into chaos can help us be more forgiving of ourselves when we don’t handle that change as easily as we would like. Consciously searching for and experimenting with potential transforming ideas can help us feel in control even when we feel completely lost. Knowing that integrating the change will likely take us time, and that we are almost guaranteed to stumble along the way, can help us be more gentle with ourselves as the rough patches hit.
Changes rarely come in isolation, nor do they usually all start at the same time. Thus, we tend to be at many points in this model simultaneously as we deal with all those different changes. Being immersed in the chaos of some changes can reduce our ability to recognize and integrate transforming ideas for other changes. Happily, successfully applying transforming ideas can also ease the challenge of other foreign elements 😎