Use #Chaos Theory to Manage #Change

November 24, 2019

© Carole Kanchier, PhD

Questers Dare to Change shows How

How can events in Brazil – or anywhere else – affect how you do your job today and even whether you’ll have that job tomorrow?

Sometimes, things appear to come “out of the blue.” Do you know someone who has been downsized – not for the first time, but for the second, or third?

Productive employees may be dismissed as a result of being caught in a wave of change. These workers are often experiencing the effects of disorder common to large natural systems. Indeed, economic systems are natural systems. They are susceptible not only to large, immediate fluctuations, but to distant and small changes.

We look for causes and find none because the relationships do not have one-to-one patterns. Instead, they’re understood using the insights of chaos theory. Chaos theory is attributed to meteorologist, Edward Lorenz. The most frequently used metaphor Lorenz used to explain the theory is that the butterfly fluttering its wings in the Amazon rain forest can cause a storm in distant places such as Vancouver.

Just as that Brazilian event can bring rain or sunshine to your day, so can distant events bring changes to your work. Fluctuations in China’s economy, the war in Iraq, or almost any other event will sooner or later affect the work of people faraway from that event.

Chaos theory explains how a rainforest achieves stability and balance without anybody programming what grows where and why. It shows that the wild chaos of the rainforest, with no imposed control, manages to succeed as a “happy” rainforest – unless interfered with by humankind.  

 Chaos theory defines a new attitude. It enables scientists to understand the wholeness of their subject rather than smaller subsections. It demonstrates we’re all part of a complex system in which anything affects everything. A universal tendency of complex systems is to create order within themselves.

That’s what your career is like. Why not use insights gained from chaos theory to prepare for potential changes? Award- winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, shows how Questers prepare for change.

Check your Quester traits:

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Adapting to Chaos

– Guide your own career. Expect change. No matter how secure you feel, circumstances may change. Look for opportunities to initiate change. Small changes can bring big effects. If you’re unhappy with your job, consider taking a break. Study travel, or work- or part-time in another field. Consider similar options if unemployed. Unexpected opportunities may arise.

– Know how to transfer strengths. Skills and knowledge used in one industry can be applied others. For example, skills required for customer service positions such as problem solving and interpersonal skills can be applied to sales and management jobs.

 – Clarify and pursue purpose. This is your compass which will guide you through chaos. When you’re in touch with the real you and live out who you believe you are, you’ll have you a sense of direction, inner peace and satisfaction. You’ll be in harmony with changes occurring in the universal system.

 – Re-evaluate your definition of career success.  View career growth as a lifelong process of personal and professional development – a continuing quest to maintain harmony between who you are and what you do.

Periodically re-assess life career goals.  In addition to purpose, pay attention to skill development, needs and values as well as changes occurring in work and other environments. As you continue to make job and other moves, you’ll experience uncertainty and the corresponding need for support experienced in earlier moves. Therefore, maintain and build your network, and develop meaningful, supportive relationships.

– Cultivate and use intuition. Intuitive skills help you manage ambiguous circumstances and hazy objectives. Practice relaxation daily to slow your mind and listen to inner signals. Meditate. Ask your dreams for direction before going to sleep. Keep a journal. Pray. Communicate with nature.

 – Maintain flexibility. Continue building skills and knowledge.  Learn how to learn. Focus on learning and experimenting with something new rather than previously mastered tasks.

Develop the will to risk. Think of opportunities you’ll miss if you don’t try. Ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then decide whether you could live with the worst scenario or take steps to reduce the chances of it happening.

 – Use positive terms to describe chaos. These include innovating, adapting, exploring, expanding, changing.

 – Prepare for and welcome the unexpected! Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life offers additional tips for dealing with chaos.

Author Bio: Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist, coach and author of award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.  Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, University of Alberta, and other institutions of higher learning. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.