Change in all forms has been on my mind lately. After talking last week with my friend, Art, I started thinking about it even more. Art embraces change and personally finds it not only a vital part of living, but also exhilarating.
A few months earlier, another friend of mine, George, who loathed change in any form, made the ultimate transition we human beings face and passed away. George disliked change so much that he kept the same meticulously cleaned shag carpet in his house that was originally installed sometime during the 70's.
Some changes we look forward to and feel positively when we think about them — children going off to camp, getting married, starting a new venture or project, welcoming a new baby into the family, graduation from college or professional school, and such. In many cases these changes were events that were striven for or earned. When asked, we profess to be happy about the upcoming alteration in our lives.
Other changes we dread or, in the very worst of circumstances, wonder how we will move on — a work budget increase/decrease, impending divorce, different business policies or processes, new reporting relationships at work, loss of a loved one, and such. Typically when we are asked about these changes, our responses are more on the negative side and probably accompanied by feelings of stress.
Then there are the little daily changes that affect our lives — traffic gridlock, absent professors/instructors, building fire drills, medical appointments that run late, a business meeting that adjourns early. These daily events can provoke a variety of responses, depending upon individual levels of coping ability.
Most of us don't have Art's attitude of embracing change. Nor do we solely have George's aversion to change. We are somewhere in the middle. Further, our attitude often depends upon the kind of change and whether we believe that it affects our lives positively or negatively or a little bit of both.
This is why those of us who work with organizations in transition encourage messaging that answers the question "How does this benefit me?" for various employee groups. And yes, sometimes the answer is "Because you may be able to keep working here, instead of being laid off!"
So how does an individual who works with change professionally handle it internally? I'd have to say, "It depends!"
I always carry reading material and my phone with me so that the daily interruptions that inevitably occur don't increase my stress level or prevent me from handling tasks that are necessary for business.
Organizational change for me is challenging as I am certain that it is for many people. When facing a major change at work or home, I am much more apt to take more frequent and longer walks. I also create more checklists. The walks help me stay mentally focused and to decompress. The checklists serve to remind me of new tasks, processes, or requirements.
Change is a constant for all of us. When you think about it, how you handle change is a choice. You can embrace it as Art does or try to avoid it as George did or you can find a way to manage it internally so that you can continue to move forward. Start thinking about how you respond to changes — personal and work-related. Make a plan for yourself so that you can positively manage your responses.
Feeling as though change is running your life instead of you? Let's talk about it. Sign up for a free introductory meeting and discover how change can help you grow your business!