5 ways to navigate the discomfort of change

As we emerge out of the cocoon we’ve all been living in the past year and a half, countless opportunities to transform your accounting firm await. However, opportunities usually don’t come without their challenges. As you make this shift into the future over the next few months, it’s likely that you’re already becoming aware of some new challenges that didn’t exist before. 

When you can see the possibility of a more desirable future, you feel the stirrings of change. To create change, you must shift from awareness (of what you want to create) to action (making it happen). Yet, it’s easy to stall out at the awareness stage because:

  • You feel ambivalence (mixed feelings or contradictory ideas) about the potential change. If you decide to make change, you must end the way things are. Even if you’re not crazy about the status quo, it is a known quantity, and there is comfort in the known.
  • The discomfort required to make change can feel overwhelming. Making change requires more of your energy. It requires stepping into an unknown future, and uncertainty often triggers fear.
  • You don’t know where to start. You fear taking action, in case you make things worse by “getting it wrong.”

If any of this resonates for you, congratulations – you’re experiencing a natural part of the change process!

Now, how can you consciously shift from awareness to action?

5 ideas to Shift from Awareness to Action

  1. Acknowledge that discomfort is a valuable and necessary part of the change process. Be ready to feel the discomfort. Change requires an investment of your energy. Consciously manage your energy during change, and don’t take on too much at once.
  2. Hold the vision of your desired future. Why is making this change so important to you? What are the benefits of making the change? What impact will it have? What will happen if you don’t change? Write down your Why and vision of the desired future, and revisit them every day!
  3. Give yourself the space and grace to experiment. Things will get messier before they get better (another valuable and necessary part of the process). Let go of the need to “get it right,” and instead, open yourself up to learning and growth.
  4. Focus on one step at a time. Big changes are made through consistent small steps. What is one small step you can take today to move towards the future you want? Ask yourself this every day.
  5. Tap into the power of collaboration. Are there others who want to make similar changes? Amplify change by working together and creating additional accountability.

Just imagine what’s possible when we all shift from awareness to action to create the change we want to see in our firms and the profession!!



About the Author

Sarah Elliott, CPA, PCC is the co-founder and principal of Intend2Lead, a leadership development company that coaches CPAs to access the Dimension of Possibility through leadership coaching, group learning and consulting with organizations to create coaching cultures.