Today, we are going to talk about change. Yep that pesky topic: change. I am reminded of all the quotes out there about change! Just to name a few:
“The only thing that is constant is change”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead
“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
― Roy T. Bennett
I had the good fortune of working with a dynamic group of people at Mozilla. They were these dynamic, amazing, talented group of young people and you saw these amazing work relationships blossom and form and you just knew that they were going to last a lifetime. This group was in it 150%. And, I think that those amazing bonds happen during that kind of focus. They had a vision for HR and L&D for Mozillians and they were so committed. I remember times in my own career where that had happened. And, you are so busy making stuff happen, working hard and together that sometimes you don’t stop to just appreciate who you are doing it with. I was reminded by one of these amazing young women recently that I had said to her, “You all have this amazing bond. But, it will change. Don’t forget to enjoy it and each other because you will all move on and things will change. So enjoy it to its fullest right now.” She told me that this had made her pause to appreciate the people around her. This group, in fact, has long disbanded and folks did move on – for a whole host of reasons – and they are still in touch with one another to this day.
Change does happen all the time and brings up stuff for each of us – particularly when it is unwanted in nature. It is fall here in Colorado – and of course the leaves are changing and we currently have about a foot of snow on the ground in October! The seasons remind us of how things change – literally. Things die, and go underground, things bloom and burst into life, the wind blows stuff in and out. The weather can be a constant reminder of life changing. Recently, we lost our beloved dog, Baxter, of 10 years very suddenly. Man, this was hard for me. We are definitely dog people. He was a member of our family and losing him was a bit like losing a limb. His presence suddenly everywhere and nowhere. And, I was reminded of how jarring change can be particularly when it is un-wanted.
Change is a part of life. Our ability to deal with change is something that happens in our LIVES. At work, at home and in-between. And, per the quote from Heraclitus, it is inevitable.
Not that long ago, Debbie and I did some work with two companies that were merging together. Talk about change. These two companies had different cultures and we needed to do some work with them to help them understand how they were feeling before we could begin to help them adapt to this new change. As any psychologist will tell you, if you can articulate the emotion, you are no longer in the emotion! So that’s where we started. We had them each talk about these amazing individual companies and what that journey was like, how they had gotten to where they were, what they had built and who they had built it with so that they could air that. They needed to articulate what was no longer before they could begin to see what was next.
In all of these experiences, I am reminded of some of the ways that we deal with change.
- Resentment – you just wish that it wasn’t happening and want it to go back the way that it was
- Longing – for the way that it was, the way it used to be
- Anger at yourself for not appreciating what you had or anger at the person or cause of things changing
Just to name just a few. And, it is important not to step over whatever the emotions are. Sometimes we want to minimize them because they are not easy emotions. But the truth is, if you just give yourself or, your team, just a little bit of time to feel the actual feelings; to give voice to them, then you will feel them and then you will be able to move on. Where most of us get into trouble is that we don’t give ourselves the chance to feel them, and so we don’t. That’s when the festering comes in or the complications. Our advice: Just feel it. Then, and only then, can you begin to move past those feelings, to your “new normal.” Then things start to open up. New possibilities begin to emerge.
So the next time you are experiencing change, ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” What emotions is this bringing up for me?” This may take you out of your comfort zone – but as Roy Bennett says, ““You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Thanks for joining us for this week’s 5-minute Epiphanies to Mine the Mess for Success – Tips, snippets and Stories. For more information check us out at www.humanity-works.com.
Join us next time when we’ll be talking about . . .Impact either intended or un-intended!