The following material was excerpted with permission from the book, Joy on the Job – Over 365 Ways to Create the Joy and Fulfillment You Deserve, by Doris Helge, Ph.D., В© 2005, Shimoda Publishing,

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Our ability to thrive during unexpected or mandated changes is related to two factors.

  • Our attitudes
  • Our responses

Fortunately, these are the two components of difficult situations that we can totally control. World War II captive Viktor Frankl grew as a person in spite of the horrors of Auschwitz because he reacted in a healthy manner. A psychiatrist who was forced into slave labor, Frankl later inspired the world with statements such as, “No one could control my attitude.” The rest of us often-

  • have desires and expectations concerning how life should be.
  • don’t trust the process of life.
  • drag the past into the present. We operate from a fear-based mentality.
  • fear the unknown simply because it’s different.
  • cling to the illusion of security (our known reality).
  • settle for what feels acceptable because we don’t perceive that something better is just out of sight.
  • don’t acknowledge our personal power. We forget we always have choices.
  • don’t stretch ourselves to meet our full potential.
  • expect losses but fail to recognize potential gains.
  • have forgotten that past unpleasant experiences have led to positive outcomes, including personal growth.
  • disapprove of change even though the characteristics of the new situation have not been totally unveiled. This is an effort to feel in control.


  1. Think of a current challenge or a mandated change.

  2. Describe your related negative thoughts and perceptions.

  3. List your worst fears.

  4. Which of your fears will definitely come to pass?

  5. Which fears are perceived threats that may or may not actually occur?

  6. What additional information do you need so you can make rational decisions when dealing with your challenge?

  7. What is your next step to secure the information you need?

  8. Identify potential opportunities or benefits associated with each perceived threat.

  9. Make a list of people, events, or things for which you are grateful.


Contrary to western conditioning, accepting the “unacceptable” and surrendering to that over which you have no control is not defeat. It is evidence of self-respect. You are choosing to avoid unnecessary stress. You’ve made a decision to be open to the possibility that an unpleasant experience can lead to a positive outcome.

When you can’t change or control an unpleasant situation, discover the power and peace of mind that emerge from shifting your perspective. Accept the unacceptable, not because you feel defeated, but because you are choosing the only victory that is genuine-triumph over inner turmoil.

Ease your anxiety about modifications in your work life by making transitions in small increments when possible. Gradually incorporate simple new approaches into daily activities until you are comfortable enough to take larger steps into the future. Baby steps are often much more powerful. A single giant leap forward can cause you to recoil backward like a rubber band that has been stretched too far. Be patient with yourself because new behaviors are unfamiliar. Each small step will build courage to make necessary changes in lifestyle.


Exploring new territory does not have to result in stress. If you will be working with a different program, learn one new thing about it every hour or day while you complete your old job. If you dislike your work and want to return to school to better your life, sign up for one course at a time. This will only commit you to about three to six hours a week. If you will be working with a different office team, meet with some of the members one-on-one instead of waiting to encounter the entire group at once.

  1. Outline one or more small transitions you can engage in to alleviate your anxiety about an impending change.
  2. Notice each time your comfort zone expands. Celebrate!

After you consistently use the multisensory techniques in this book to increase your flexibility and curiosity, you will become more comfortable taking larger leaps forward.

Click here to order your copy of the book, Joy on the Job – Over 365 Ways to Create the Joy and Fulfillment You Deserve, with hundreds of additional proven strategies you can immediately use.

Click here to learn how author and international speaker, Doris Helge, Ph.D., can assist you as a keynote speaker or seminar leader.

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