“Time for a change of scenery,” we told ourselves before arranging for a trip to Maui. Most of us have said something like, “I have changed my mind,” “I have changed my heart,” “You have changed.” “We have a change of address,” “The leaves have changed color,” “Our relationship is in a rut; it’s time for a romantic change,” “This job has become boring, I need a change and challenge,” or “Yes, I changed my undies!” These familiar lines sound like a rousing support for change; it’s good for us.
The inventor, printer and scientist, Benjamin Franklin, said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” So what’s up with all the talk about resistance to change.
Here are some assumptions to consider:
- Change is a constant trend from Eve eating The Apple to Apple computers.
- Change requires energy to adapt. Hence even pleasant change can deplete.
- People typically embrace change they choose or participate in creating.
- People typically enjoy the occasional change that is a pleasant surprise such as lunch out, permission to leave work early or a birthday acknowledgment.
- People typically resist change forced upon them that is problematic to their pace or lifestyle. Note forced. Inconvenient and distressful change can range from Hurricane Katrina to demands to work overtime to traffic detours.
- People typically resist change of the unknown. They prefer to be informed and have a sense of personal mastery or control.
- The pace of change is increasing. Technology is obsolete before it is out the Future store door. My great grandparents’ lives were very similar to my grandparents’ on the farm. My parents’ lives were significantly changed by World War II, the telephone, central heating, plumbing and electricity. My life is dramatically different than my parents’ with encouragement to speak up, an egalitarian partnership, computer literacy, and women colleagues in all fields including truck drivers, lawyers, ministers and doctors. Our children live in cyberspace, sleep with their iphones and expect to easily travel the world, and eventually the universe.
Here are 10 Tips for Adapting to Change
“I’ve done hard before and I can again.”
- Do a risk analysis. Ask, “What do I have to gain and/or lose from this change?”
- Every now and then, take a calculated risk just for the sheer joy of it. You might bungee jump, visit a nudist beach or try street performing with your saxophone.
- Take a risk in the name of self-care.
- When you initiate change for yourself, whether it’s seeking new friends or starting an exercise program. expect setbacks and be prepared with alternate plans.
- Take a small step toward a long-held dream.
- Say no to activities you find meaningless.
- Make a list of what you want To Be (more creative), To Do (work less with paper and more with people) and To Have (my own office).
- Notice when you whine or grumble.
- Identify what you could do to satisfy the grump within.
- When disagreeable change is forced upon you, use the Serenity Prayer for support:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”