5 Tips for Dealing with Unexpected Change

I’ve been in the mountains of New Mexico this week. Why is it that things seem so much simpler up there? The intensity of my day-to-day decision making responsibilities go to the extreme level of deciding which book to read, what line dance to participate in, and how many bingo cards to play. Ha ha!

The area around our property has been having some issues with bears. Because the bears are not scared of people they are becoming too friendly and getting too close. So the game warden came out this week and set a bear trap on our property. The trap is a simple-looking cage with delicious sweets inside. Once the bear steps in, the trap door shuts and secures the bear so he can be transported to a more remote area with less people.

An Unexpected Change!

Can you imagine strolling carefree through the beautiful mountains, finding some wonderful fresh fruit, and then bam! A trap door shuts behind you, and your life has instantly changed!

Dealing with change that you are in control of is not near as difficult as dealing with change that is unexpected and brought on by outside conditions. When you don’t have the luxury of preparation and time, unexpected changes aren’t always easy.

Take the game warden and the bear, for example. If I’m the game warden, I’m creating change, but I’ve had time to plan and prepare how and when it will happen. But if I’m the bear, I have no time. The trap door shuts and I’m suddenly living change, not preparing for it.

If you’re dealing with change as our bear friend may soon be, here are five helpful tips:

1. Don’t panic. It makes you and those you influence nervous.

2. Be aware. You will go through different emotions. It’s natural, so prepare yourself to accept these different emotions. They are temporary and will not serve as your true long-term feelings. For example you may experience shock, sadness, anger, bitterness, doubt, guilt, and so on.

3. Be still. If you’re a believer, then you know now is a good time to be still and wait upon the Lord. If you’re not a person of faith this is still good advice. Be still, and don’t make any quick decisions. Try to chill and let your mind process things. You don’t need to make important decisions during your temporary emotional time anyway so hang loose for a bit.

4. Now prepare. Change isn’t a bad thing. It just catches us by surprise, so it appears bad. Now that you know change is in your world, start preparing for it as if you were creating the change.

5. Lead well. You’re not the only person learning through this process. Others you influence are also learning as they watch your example. Some day you may teach others how to deal with change. Motivate yourself during these difficult times by knowing you will someday tell your story. Make it a story you’re proud to tell, not one you’ll hide.

I’m hoping the game warden doesn’t trap our friendly bear, but if he does, I’m sure the change will be what’s best for the bear and the people. Maybe Mr. Bear will read this blog post and handle his change beary well. Ha ha. Sorry…I had to close with some mountain humor.

I would love to hear your thoughts on change. What are some additional points on dealing with unxpected change that we could learn from?

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  • RC says:

    So true….

    Be silent and listen – you never know what you might see or here. In this case there was another lesson in Red River that we didn’t even know about. There is always a story and a plan although it may not recognize it for awhile. Your comments on impact to others around you is so true and often overlooked as the path that the Bear – is it the less traveled or the more traveled? In the end the path is where you were suppose to be and the influence you have is immense.

    Wait for the next chapter…..lessons can always be applied

  • Rhona says:


    Thank you for your openess and sharing your insight. As always you put everything into perspective and lead others by your example, I will always be grateful that our paths crossed, and I KNOW that as you draw from the greatness within you, you will be amazed at what God can do with what you give Him.

  • Michelle says:

    Linda, thank you for this blog! Wish I would have had the privilege to have you as my leader when I worked at Injoy/Maximum Impact/the Duncaan Group/Giant Impact. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about you!
    Michelle (one of the ya-yas)

  • Steve Hilyar says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Linda! This is just what I needed.

    P.S. I will keep you posted on what happens to the bear!

  • Anonymous says:

    Do you try to understand the change or is it best to just move on?

    • Linda Sasser says:

      Understand it enough to learn from it. Write your thoughts and questions in a journal. You may not understand your conditions today, but time usually brings understanding. Have faith and keep looking forward to the future.