Reactions to change

The paradox of the acceptance of change as I see it is,  we often sit in tension between

  • holding back from pursing positive change because it caused hurt in the past (personal, emotional, financial etc),
  • we know we should accept change (as it’s inevitable) and because if this works the benefit would out way the negative.

 

Heraclitus of Ephesus (late 6th century BCE)…

“Life is Flux” – Panta Rhei in Greek, meaning everything or all things change. His premise is that if one understands that change is the only constant in life then one will more easily accept flux…

This blog comes from more of a personal perspective, a reflection of my history but also what Leading Edge have raised my awareness of, in the way they (we) work.

Change is constant, for some (me) this can be hard to handle.

‘World order’ is continual change and resistance to this change is fruitless’

Deep I know, but this is at the core of accepting and flowing with change. If I had only known what this meant sooner. See I was that guy… the one who wanted to move things forward, see the evolution, make things ‘ever better’. And I felt I was often operating in a space of ‘status quo’, told to ‘leave things be’, ‘they are alright as they are’.

“we don’t need to move with the times, we have this nailed” – nameless manager

And the more I pushed against this the harder it got for me to remain motivated, to think with ‘innovation’ in my mind, to consider alternatives. Whilst I was ‘fighting for change’ I didn’t notice what had crept up on me. I myself had become stuck – stuck in my view of the world (a single perspective).

Looking back I can see clearly I was using all the language of positive change, optimism and future focus, but my actions and at times my behaviours were counter to this. It hit me about 3 months after a new member of staff joined the team, I heard myself for the first time utter these words…

“We’ve tried that and it didn’t work”….

Stuck

I had become the voice of the ‘NO’s’ in the room, I could see in that moment I had not only quashed the enthusiasm of the new starter, but had firmly fixed myself in the world of…

“This is how we do things round here”….

I was traumatised by this personal action, I had made no consideration for any of the following very real and relevant items:

– Perhaps my timing of when this was first presented as wrong
– Perhaps my delivery of the idea was miss heard and therefore not seen as ‘right for right now’
– Perhaps I hadn’t give enough operational detail or profit evidence

The long and the short of it was I handled that badly and had become ‘status quo’. What I had forgotten was that ‘life is flux’ and with it business is in continual flux. I had forgotten to listen, I had forgotten to try new things. I had become fixed on ‘my point of view’.

I found a great strategy that helped me to get ‘unstuck’

Strategy for Acceptance of Continual Change

The first step is awareness – of unwanted, difficult thoughts, feeling, memories. Moving forward is an act of courage and requires acceptance for the situation and you within it. It’s ok that you feel a lack of security in the new business direction or have mis-trust for your new line manager or can’t see how you fit within the structure. Being internally aware of this is your first step.

The second step is acceptance – of what you feel and think is valid and this will bring you closer to accepting the external environment of change. Accept this is you and this is you with your context. (Although it’s important to note, acceptance is not about accepting a situation, that is defeatist. We want you to accept you and then explore the situation, its possibilities, options etc.)

The third step is action – now take action (be courageous). Don’t simply accept the cards you have been dealt, consider how you order them and play them. In this context, to accept a situation is to take an active role in it, make of it what you can, play with the possibilities – ‘mess with the formula’ until the maths add up. Find ways to create security through connections with, people, ideas, places, goal.

Given this blog has taken more of a personal stories approach I’m keen to hear your refections on the following:

– Personal reactions to change (at different parts of your life)
– The tools you use for dealing with flux
– Stories of when you may have refused to participate in change
– Thoughts on how you press stop/pause change (because its needed)

Someone more intelligent than me once said – You never step in the same river twice… go walk around in your river…