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January 19, 2017

Choose Life, Choose Change, Make it Happen

Charlie Swift

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I'm tired. Very tired... But much to my surprise, I'm also very happy. If you're turning green with envy, or puce with revulsion, at the prospect of me sharing an unfeasibly upbeat success story, don't worry. My rosy, if sleepy, glow is the result of some painful change over the last few years – and there's more to come.

No, I don't get a kick out of struggle and hardship! Instead, I feel pride at the change that I made happen (including ending a damaging relationship and buying my home). I'm also surprised at how well I adapted, eventually, to change that was unexpected or out of my control (including a bereavement, job loss, and the onset of middle age). And I'm grateful for the lucky breaks that life has given me, too (such as loving and wise friends, and a forward-thinking and supportive new employer).

Riding this roller coaster has taken so much nerve and determination, and produced such terror and excitement, that my veins must be running with adrenalin and cortisol. I really wouldn't mind getting off for a breather... But that's just not going to happen.

The lesson that I've learned is that living life to the full means experiencing, and ideally embracing, change. There's simply no avoiding it. And that might mean tiny, daily adjustments to schedules and plans, occasional adoption of new habits and skills, or once-in-a-lifetime monumental upheavals of identity and purpose. It's simply no use hanging on to everything familiar, whether good or bad – that will only create more pain and exhaustion. Instead, I need to develop a mindset of openness, curiosity and action in place of any lingering apathy, stubbornness or fear. And I must look after myself physically, mentally and emotionally to build my resilience.

I've also realized that organizations and teams can experience the same sense of shock, challenge and fatigue when change hits. But the good news is that they can prepare themselves similarly, too. It's just more complicated to manage with more people involved! You can find out more with the help of our new infographic on Making Change Happen With Kotter's 8-Step Model.

Meanwhile, I wonder... What change have you experienced, or prompted, yourself recently? How did it affect you and how did you manage it? I look forward to your comments in the section below.

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3 comments on “Choose Life, Choose Change, Make it Happen”

  1. What a great read! I've used the "roller coaster" feeling in my discussions lately but I also know that change hasn't just begun, we are simply attempting to move faster, multi-task more profoundly and ending up half-done. Reading this allows for thought of how to reflect on change mentally. Yes, we're busy and change is happening all around us, but STOP and measure what has been completed, what has been improved and how we've grown from that. This is how to view change. Change has always been and will always be around us but we need to view change as a positive to stay in the race. Sometimes the solution is within. Wow!

    1. Thanks Sheryl for that feedback. I also suggest to others (and myself!) to STOP in order to take a few moments to reflect on how far they have come and what they have achieved. Change is constant and when we can be open to all that it brings, rather than resisting it, everything flows so much easier! Love your thought that 'sometimes the solution is within' ... WOW!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Liz - what a great post!
    You said: "It’s simply no use hanging on to everything familiar, whether good or bad"
    One thing that I know for sure is that hanging on to things that are over, done, gone, past tense takes up a lot of mental space. It also takes up mental and physical energy.
    If it's over, let it go...

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