“Change me now!”- said no one ever.
Most of us are fearsome anti-change warriors in our daily lives, drill sergeants driving routine and proud owners of predictability. It gives us a sense of belonging, an air of control and peace of mind in an otherwise crazy and constantly evolving world. Because of this we have become fearful of change. We try to forecast change so we can circumvent it. We ignore change by proudly reminding ourselves (and anyone that will listen) that this is how we have always done it and it doesn’t need to change. What we forget on our march against change is that change has led us to where we are now, the friends we have, relationships, spouses (ex-spouses), new houses, cars, furniture, pets, favorite child (yeah, I said it and you know you have one)- you name it. The only constant is change, yet we constantly try to fight it.
Even traditions change over time, whether we want them to or not.
When I was a kid, we spent every Thanksgiving at my grandparents, the whole family did. As the years passed and the family grew, my grandparents’ house was no longer large enough and my aunts and uncles started hosting at theirs. Suddenly friends and distant family could join. It was bigger, better, more relationships were made, and more good times ensued. We carried on the same tradition, but it had changed right before our eyes, and everyone was okay with that.
Often, we fight change at work even more than we fight it in our personal lives. When I was forced to embrace the concept of two monitors at work (thank you Bank of America), I pushed back hard. Who needs two monitors? They take up more space, inherently require multi-tasking and never seemed to be at the exact same height (hello OCD). I had made it through my entire life thus far with only one; I certainly didn’t need a second judging me too. Fast forward many years and now I will physically fight someone if they try to take away my second monitor. What seemed like a big change, and an unnecessary one at that, suddenly became one of the greatest professional gifts I ever received. Now I’m fighting the urge to buy a third one or maybe two giant curved ones to fully immerse myself. I’m looking at you Alienware!
Change is tough, no one ever said it wasn’t and I certainly won’t try to put lipstick on that pig. Sometimes you lose friends, loved ones, significant others, coworkers, jobs, cars, favorite restaurants, bars, free time, sanity, and reason. We cry, we ask why, we wonder why, we question our value, integrity, self-worth and if it will ever get better or at least be a similar playing field.
The beauty of change though is that it’s a fickle beast.
We all experience change, which means we’re never alone in it. But change does bring us new friends, loved ones, significant others, coworkers, jobs, cars, favorite restaurants, bars, more free time, and if we’re lucky, sanity once we retroactively see why the change had to happen and can reap the benefit of the change.
Think back to the first job you ever had. For some it might have been incredibly fun, for others a necessary burden. Then remind yourself that without change, that is where you would work right now. Every change I have had to overcome seemed unfair, unreasonable, and impossible at the time, but I also know it made me who I am today and helped get me to where I am now. Hopefully with a bit of luck, hard work, focus and humility, change will continue to get me to where I need to be.
So, whether you’re staring down a forced changed in employment, a change in a relationship, less income, different business practices, changing technology, or routines, remember this- from birth to now you are the product of change. No one is born with a size 15 foot.
You can fight it, or you can embrace it and make the most of it.