Change – love it or fear it?

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“Ooooh, let’s go to the new restaurant for a change” says one friend to another.

“Nah, I like the one we normally go to, you know what you’re getting there” replies the friend.

This just about sums up the two pervading attitudes towards change. Some of us love it, relish it, thrive on it and are quite frankly bored without it, whilst others fear it, hate it and find it incredibly stressful.

But here’s the thing: the ONLY two certainties in life are death and change so you may as well get used to it.

As human beings we do like a bit of routine, even the biggest fan of change will like a cup of tea every morning, to start the day and even the change phobic will occasionally rebel against their own inclinations and do the weekly shop at Asda, instead of Sainsbury’s.

So, we all have a bit of moving towards change and moving away from it; it’s just that we all have this in unequal amounts and this balance directly affects our approach to life. If you love change, you will actively seek it, making decisions that result in change. You are less likely to put up with an unsatisfactory job or relationship because you will relish the change that brings, which often outweighs the pain of leaving a job or relationship behind. You will like meeting new people, finding new friends, new experiences and you will experiment with your look, your food and your tastes. The very idea of going to the same place on holiday every year fills you with horror. But this only describes parts of the person who moves towards change because in some parts of their life, they like stability. Very few people are happy changing everything all the time.

Those people who fear change will often put up with very unsatisfactory relationships or careers and will be happier to grumble, moan and simply endure, rather than make changes. Where workplace change occurs, these people will resist, feel stressed and very unhappy indeed. They’re the ones that consultants, like me, are brought in to help in, the management to change.

Here’s the secret to change: find the silver lining. Seek out what it is that the change will do for you, where could it take you, where might it lead and what could it result in for you? You only have two choices when change comes about: accept it or remove yourself from the situation you dislike.

Accepting the change means going with the flow. It means accepting “what is” now. It requires you to open your mind to new possibilities and new ways of thinking. It also requires you to be positive, even about the stuff you really don’t like, about the change. In the darkest moments of the direst situations in life, there is always hope, a glimmer, a slither of light that you can focus on. Focusing on this minute hope, creates more hope and thus changes develop from dumb acceptance to flourishing growth.

If there is no slither of light or hope and you do not want to accept the change (this is your right), then you can remove yourself from the situation that is changing. This may mean resigning, leaving or even fleeing, but if the alternative is abject misery, then take yourself right away. This is a change in itself and will require a readjustment on your part, in which case, you refer to the “accepting” change part of this article and seek out the glimmer of hope in this new situation you find yourself in.

We are very lucky to live in a Western democracy where we have real choice. Our levels of choice are infinitely wider than those of other people, particularly women who live in oppressive regimes, so we ALWAYS have choice. Accepting change is a choice. Even the decision to accept change is a change in itself.

Which way would you prefer to live your life: stuck, powerless and resistant to change, or flexible, empowered and accepting that change is an integral part of life? This is your decision to make and I would urge those of you who are inflexible when it comes to change, to make a decision in 2013 and beyond, to occasionally say,

“Do you know what, I’d love to try that new restaurant because it may be even better than the usual one.”

I can heartily recommend reading, “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson for those of you who are still unconvinced about accepting change with open arms. I can also heartily recommend trying on change, for a change, like a new pair of shoes. They may be slightly uncomfortable at first, but after wearing them for a few weeks they’ll be just as comfortable as the pair of old favourite shoes you had to throw away.

For help with this and other areas of business life, contact Rebecca Bonnington, Leadership Coach, Corporate Trainer and Licensed Trainer of NLP.  www.rebeccainspires.com, rebecca@rebeccainspires.com, 07734 934084

3 Comments on Change – love it or fear it?

  1. Full of common sense and with a smile in it L(). I like the fact that we have been reminded that, as women we do have choice, in our society. it may not be exactly the way it should but we must remember women in the world who are oppressed, and be working to gain better choice for all women, in all societies.

  2. Great article Rebecca. Within my work, once you embark on making the changes, that simple act of setting your intention is often enough to bring huge change. I have discovered also that positive change takes time. Time to settle, so we get used to them, then when we feel our foundations have become firm and we feel confident and grounded, we can go on to make more changes.

  3. I’m not sure that even the most flexible and resilient amongst us actually court major change. A new pair of shoes or cucumber instead of lime in the g and t is one thing but change of job or relationship is a magnitude of difference. Quite often these large changes are forced upon us and it is how we deal with the change that is important. For example, I know two women who were widowed, suddenly and unexpectedly, at a young age. One remained defined as a widow while the other has been able to live a new life. Both were in loving relationships and both suffered great loss and grief but, in my view, one coped with that enforced change better. Whether we court change or have change thrust upon us it is, as you say Rebecca, how we deal with that change that is the key.

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