The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
– Socrates

It happened 15 years ago but I remember the day vividly. It was 9am on a Friday and we were all notified about a major downsizing in the company I worked for. I hadn’t seen it coming and wasn’t prepared for what happened next. Before I knew it, I had lost some of my closest colleagues. My focus was lost, my energy dissipated and my morale was at an all-time low.

Throughout my career, I have been affected by disruptive change over and over again. Mergers. Layoffs. Technology changes. Everything that seemed certain in one instant would be gone in the next. Change has been the only constant. But change is never easy. I’ve learned to thrive and make every setback a catalyst for transformation.

In a study conducted by Towers Watson, 70% of employees said their employer had made major organizational changes in the past year. The paradox of a disengaged workforce affected by change and the need for fully engaged employees to navigate through that change presents a significant challenge for organizations in the midst of transformation.

So how do you thrive and not just survive in times of disruptive change?

1. Engage with optimism

The discomfort of change is a necessity for transformation and the bedrock of innovation. Every challenge presents an opportunity to take risks and do what we might not have attempted to do before. The courageous choices we make determine who we become and how we get transformed. Engage with optimism because the right mindset will help you unlock your full potential.

2. Embrace change

Change is everywhere – geopolitical dynamics, cultural norms, economic drivers, technological innovation, and organizational structures. Embrace change as a way of life rather than an interruption to it. Ask yourself what is likely to change or what should change so you can prepare yourself for it. Imagine possibilities in this newness. Disrupt yourself before you get disrupted.

3. Explore new ideas

Change opens doors to new ideas. Let go of old paradigms and predictable ways of doing things. Unleash your creativity and experiment with new techniques. Be bold in your ideas, so you get far bigger results quicker. Be bold in your decisions, so you move forward rapidly without wasting time seeking consensus. Be bold in your actions, so you can grow faster by doing what’s uncomfortable.

4. Enjoy learning

Trying new things often results in failure. But failure is not the same as defeat. Defeat means giving up. Failure just means that the plan you had didn’t work and you need a new plan. Adopt an agile approach that allows you to fail fast and pivot. Enjoy the process of learning from failure. It is the surest path to success.

5. Evangelize transformation

The ultimate success of any organization depends on the connectedness of its people to a shared mission. Change presents an opportunity to feel a renewed sense of purpose. Evangelize the possibilities. Share your journey towards learning and growth so others are inspired to adopt a different mindset. The most powerful transformation is the one that catalyzes change in others. Be the change agent.