Change Management

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I now consider myself an expert in change.  I can say this because I have moved exactly 19 times.  Places lived include New York, Colorado, California, Hawaii, California, Connecticut, and California.  Yes, I have moved to CA 3 times so far.  My good friends have several pages in their address book with this collection of addresses.  Also, the nature of the restaurant industry is one of constant movement and change – and our family has seen our share of job changes.  While all this experience has been useful, it did not prepare me for the depth of change experienced in the past 3 years as I have been seeking my place in this new chosen career.  Looking through my journal, I found this note, dated August 16, 2013.  To this day it remains on the office wall.

During this career transition

Be open
Aspire
Live in the moment
Be clear
Calibrate
Don’t let emotions rule
Don’t settle
Persevere
Improve, grow
Trust my heart
Have faith
Use your instincts
Be fierce

Change is naturally upsetting, which can have benefits and drawbacks.  There is always a period of hellish raw chaos, but from that comes new ideas, fresh ways of thinking, a stronger sense of self and usually in my case, a new beautiful place to live.

Here are some of my rules for change, whether personal or in the workplace:

  1. Remember:  it’s temporary – things always settle down.
  2. That resentment you are feeling…honor that, then let it go.
  3. Cut yourself and others a little slack – rarely are we at our best or most confident during upheaval.
  4. Create some new rituals in the new environment.  Explore your surroundings.
  5. Label your boxes – literally and metaphorically.  If it’s a change in the workplace, reorganization, a layoff, a promotion, or an office move, it is good to sort out what it is you’ll need in the new situation.   Writing down your ideas at this stage can help clarify your thinking on both what you need to do and how you feel about it.

What are your rules for change?

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The Pusher, The Workbench and 9 Minutes of Inspiration

Lower SaranacThe Pusher

I’ve been pushing, pushing, pushing towards my goals, and for some time now have felt a constant pressure to learn as much as possible, as fast as I can. After the past few years of exploration, schooling and inner work, I’ve found my niche at the intersection of leadership development, organizational effectiveness and coaching, and I want to be an expert, NOW!  To this end I’ve created ambitious goals in my quest to become an expert as quickly as possible.  At times this creates a low-grade panic and feeling of needing to constantly work towards these goals.  As I was talking this over with my brother, he asked me:  “What if you stopped pushing?”  “What if you just accept where you are in your life right now?”

Hmmm.  What if?

So I’ve been thinking about that ever since, and have been trying it on for size in various situations in which I’m trying to effect change.

This does not mean I abandon my objectives.  What I find happening is that when I stop actively pushing so hard towards each goal, there is an opening up of space that allows me to think differently about the problems I’m working on.  There is relief that I can step back.  This step back allows other information to filter in, other doors to reveal themselves, other opinions to be heard and my mind and heart to process the information.  What is in fact happening is that the right solution is brewing and will become clear when it’s good and ready.

The Workbench

I’ve been following Michael Hyatt of late and in one of his blog posts, he spoke about his Blog being his workbench.  I instantly fell in love with that idea because it has given me permission to write and try out my ideas, with less editing/fiddling/finessing.  I have been holding back on growing my blog – need to create a theme! Need to have posts ahead!  Need to plan! Etc!    Much can be built from a workbench, and both the process and the content can be helpful to others NOW.

An idea: Embracing the whole of what life offers means that sometimes we have to live in an uncomfortable place, with unruly emotions, anxiety, or other discomforts that we all prefer to push away; and that are for some reason deemed unacceptable in our culture.  My wise brother has shared with me a book called Radical Acceptance, which I’ve been actively avoiding reading for over a year now, but have finally picked up and begun.

Again…relief.   The takeaway for me in this book again is:  Face what is in your life right now, but without judgment.  Take a pause and look.  Feel what you are feeling, bad or good.   You don’t have to react, just…observe. Then decide what’s next.  When you allow for this pause, your actions are more likely to help you build rather than destroy.  For any of us who are involved with change initiatives at work, or have stepped into new territory in our careers or personal lives this is immensely helpful.  The “startup” phase if naturally uncomfortable; removing judgment and accepting the process can allow some peace and grace as you move through it.

9 Minutes of Inspiration

This Ted Talk by Louie Schwartzberg reminds me of how soothing nature can be and the impact of gratitude on your state of mind.    Having grown up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, one of the most beautiful places in the world, I find myself remembering how powerfully healing our natural world can be.  When you need a pick me up…watch this!  http://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude?language=en

I invite you to share your story…Comments always welcome!

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