Sudden Change

Change can come out of nowhere. As prepared as you think you may be for the unexpected when it arrives it’s still unexpected. But it’s vital that even in the swirl of unknowns you know this one irrefutable fact… you matter.

That means that you must embrace the unknowns and see the incredible world of opportunities before you. Even if at first glance it may look to others as if the rug has been pulled out from under you, always know that you can make the choice to use that rug as a flying carpet to your future.

All change brings with it a sense of loss. That’s perfectly normal. Grab on to that sense of loss, look at it from all directions, become good friends with it, get very very comfortable with it, and then discard it. There are just too many possibilities in the future for you to be concerned about what was in the past.

The world can be a very unfriendly place right now. So make certain that you remain kind. Kind to others of course but also kind to yourself. When sudden, unwanted change comes your way pay particular attention to how you’re talking to yourself. It is far easier to get past the hurtful things others say about you than it is to get over the hurtful things you say about yourself. So do not say them to begin with.

Be kind to yourself. Always.

Whatever you do don’t be mad at the change or the circumstances (or person) that thrust it upon you. Anger is an emotion that burns the precious energy you’ll need for whatever comes next. There is zero return on anger, it is an expensive emotion that no one can afford.

Make thoughtful decisions. Depending on the change you find yourself going through you may be tempted to make quick decisions. Quick does not mean rash. Be thoughtful in your decision making, the future is a long time so try to make your decisions for the long-term. Think things through, the better your decisions today the better all of your tomorrows will be.

Don’t blame others for the circumstances you’re in. Blaming others only slows down your transition to what will be. Change experts describe the time between what was and what will be as the transition phase of change. This is where the rubber meets the road. You will either slip into the past and risk living there or charge eagerly into the future, that choice is entirely yours.

The past presents the opportunity to wallow in a vast pity party. The future presents limitless opportunities for growth and prosperity. I would urge you to seek the future because your next success can only be found there, you’ll never find what’s next by looking behind you.

Many people won’t like to hear this but more than anything else, more than a person, more than circumstances, more then a deadly virus, it’s your past choices, good or bad, that put you in whatever situation you’re in at this very moment. It is the acceptance of that basic fact that will help you make sound choices for your future.

My Grandfather always told me that the most successful people find a way to make a good hand out of whatever cards they are dealt. Play the cards you have whether you like them or not because well, because they are the cards you have. Remember, a pair of threes can beat a pair of Aces if the person with the Aces is afraid to play them.

Now there are some of you who will say “all that’s easy for you to say.” To you I would say nope, not a single word of this is easy for me to say. I would also say listen to what I say but focus on YOU, focus on what YOU think and what YOU do. Remember how this post started…YOU matter.

Do what you need to do to take care of yourself because if you’re not taking care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else. That reality will never change.

If it Ain’t Broke, Break It?

You know, try as I might I’m just not a big fan of change. Unless of course I’m driving the change. But I’m also fully aware that perhaps the most dangerous words in business are, “because we’ve always done it that way.”

 

So the first part of this post is written for me and those of you who share similar sentiments about change. We need to get the heck over it and realize that the pace of change is only going to continue to accelerate. We can either get on board that bus or that bus is going to run us over. 

 

Imagine the world if everyone lived with that “we’ve always done it that way” philosophy. No cars, no airplanes, no TV, no internet, and oh my gosh, no cell phones. (I guess no phones for that matter)

 

Obviously we only need to think for a few seconds to realize that change can be very good. The challenge for many people is stopping to think for those few seconds. The reality is that almost everything we use in our daily lives will one day be replaced by something even better.

 

If you can’t embrace change you can’t grow and if you can’t grow you can’t get better. The first thing you may want to consider changing is your instinct to resist change. Replace it with an open mind and at least a “we’ll see” attitude, you never know, you may just be pleasantly surprised.

 

Now for the second part of this post. It is written for those of you just itching to change stuff because you can. You should take a quick lesson from Winston Churchill who said, “there is nothing wrong with change, if it’s in the right direction.”

 

Change for the sake of change is seldom good change. Before you change what’s worked for a long time you may want to consider exactly why it’s worked for a long time. While I’d agree, there very possibly is a better way, make certain you’re not also discarding the part of a process that works and replacing it with an untested process that may not. 

 

“We’ve always done it that way” is a proven method of failure. “Let’s blow up what works and start over” often is as well.


Moving forward with little or no knowledge of your starting point is a quick path to nowhere. Go ahead and change, just be certain that your “better” direction indeed has a solid, realistic chance to be better.


Everything Changes

Here’s a question for you to think about. Are you managing change in your life or is change managing your life? 

It’s one or the other because this much is certain: “things” in your life are changing. 

I’m a bit astonished at the number of people I run into who are still almost completely resistant to change. They expend tremendous amounts of energy fighting it rather then trying to figure out how to use it to their advantage. 

I understand why people may be a little reluctant to fully embrace change. Every change brings with it the possibility of something worse. To some people the risk of “worse” is just not worth the possibility of something better. 

People also fear failure. Changing your job, or changing your career or changing almost anything has the possibility of ending in complete failure and nobody wants that. 

Few people really embrace the unknown and every change brings with it a set of “unknowns.” No matter how well you’ve thought out the change there is likely to be something that you didn’t plan on. That’s more risk. 

Change also tells us that time is passing. We’re getting older. For the life of me I can’t find a single corner store with the penny candy that I so enjoyed as a kid. Now that I can buy as much penny candy as I want, without even asking my parents permission, there is no penny candy to be found. I can’t believe anyone would call that progress.

So, many people agree that for the most part, change is bad. 

But that’s because most people just habitually focus on the negative aspects of change. (Yes, I said most people and the fact that it’s sad doesn’t mean it isn’t true) We’ve all had poor experiences with change and it seems the bad outcomes are far easier to remember than the more common good outcomes. 

Stop and think for a minute about the last ten years of your life. So many things have changed that it’s hard to remember them all. Just 10 years ago the iPhone existed only in the developmental labs of Apple. Today it’s hard for many people to think of life without a Smartphone in their pocket.

It’s seems like half the people I know are now wearing some sort of fitness tracker. Just 5 years ago people would have said “a fitness what?” 

Some of us are old enough to remember getting the long distance bill. For those of you not old enough to remember that, it’s the extra bill from the telephone company for calling someone with a different area code. For those of you who are really young the area code is the first three digits of your phone number.

My how things have changed…. so many improvements we have forgotten most of them…and more things continue to change everyday. 

Today the gig economy is growing almost by the minute. A recent study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors. That’s an incredible pace of change that will affect the workplace for all Americans, not just those participating in the gig economy but anyone who works for a living.

The point is simple: everything changes with time. Everything! 

Accept change as a positive in your life, it means you’re still learning and growing. It means you’re willing to try new things and stretch yourself to reach your true potential. Accepting changes proves to yourself and others that you are willing to flex a bit as you receive new information and ideas. 

Pretty much everyone wants “things” to be better but many of those same people don’t want change in their lives.

There is no “better” without change. If you really really want better then don’t wait for change to happen, make change happen in a way that “better” is ensured.

The only way to beat change is to not fight it. Make it work for you and you’ll find it cooperates a whole lot more.

Can you Adapt?

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein 

Can you adapt? That’s a pretty big question! Successful people and companies have proven that they can adapt, in fact, it’s a key to their success. They are willing to accept change and not only are they willing to accept it, they embrace it and use it to improve themselves and their organizations. 

History is riddled with the failures of organizations and people who had the ability and skills required to succeed but who lacked the willingness to adapt. 

Nothing hinders succeeds like the love of traditions. Traditions are great…. right up until the time they hold us back from trying something new. The unwillingness to try new things is a close cousin of unwillingness to try at all. I understand why most people struggle with change. All change, whether it’s chosen or forced, comes with some sense of loss. We may not even realize we are feeling that loss but it’s there and it affects us.

The only thing constant about change is that it never stops. Some change is so small we barely notice it, some is so big that it’s truly life altering. Big change can stop us in our tracks, it kills momentum and can have severe consequences….if…. you cannot adapt.

Since change is constant and often shows up uninvited successful people prepare for it by always, or nearly always, having a “plan B” ready to go. They may be forced to move in a direction they would be prefer not to (like being let go from their job) but that doesn’t mean they have to move without a plan. 

The most successful people frequently run “what if” scenarios in their mind. They plan for the worst case and then work to improve on the worst case. They may look calm but that’s only because they saw “it” coming before anyone else.  

Most everyone claims to want to improve, they forget the fact that nothing improves until something changes. If you can accept change and adapt then you can improve! 

The fact is, you can. The question is, will you?