Change is as good as a rest
My husband recently showed me a clip from the film Jabberwocky – a 70’s British fantasy comedy film, co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Michael Palin. The clip I watched showed a backhanded working practice to which Palin’s character suggested a shortcut, to help improve efficiency. Absolute chaos ensued when a small tiny part of the process was changed and the whole workplace fell into disarray. It’s worth watching the clip – it had me in hysterics!
I mused that many workplaces view change like this – ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – keep on keeping on because it all works as it is and if you try to change it, surely it will all go to pot. I know I have worked in some organisations over the years who have this attitude - they have cumbersome work practices and processes which have been the same way for years and there’s the attitude that if it works, why change it? It’s a case of the old guard has done it the same way for years and when someone new comes in and suggests an alternative way of doing things, they’re shot down in flames and there’s resentment that they even questioned the efficiency of how things are done. I think it’s because many fear change.
95% of our life is spent reacting habitually to our environment – our life is very much a reactive habit and so we get comfortable with the familiar, but as the saying goes ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ – we get lax, we get lazy and perhaps change is the opportunity to examine the status quo. Perhaps the way the organisation operates, or the services/products offered need to renewed and refreshed. New initiatives may mean the old ineffective practices are left behind, which can surely only be a good thing.
Change management is big business. Specialist consultants and coaches are brought into companies to help manage the process. Even if there is an agreement that change needs to happen for progress to be made, there also needs to be an agreement for how this takes place. Buy-in at all levels is required because handled badly, will result in lack of support for implementation of that change. It’s vital everyone understands why the change is needed, how it will work and the part they will play.
As individuals, many of us live our life nicely in our comfort zone, so why would we change it? I saw this evidenced during a Winning Edge course I once ran. At the start of the day, we went around the room and everyone introduced themselves. Everyone gave their name, the nature of their job, expectations of the course, something they love about their life and something they feel they’d like to change or improve. One lady said: ‘I get why this course is helpful for younger people but at my age, I don’t need to change anything. I’m quite happy with my lot thank you very much and so I don’t think this is for me.” Her valid point of view. However, as the day progressed, I could see the cogs whirring. At first, she was a bystander in the small group discussions but gradually, she shared a bit more and it became apparent that whilst she wanted to take a different direction in her life, she feared change and what the outcome might be.
It’s amazing what we can let slip through our fingers because we fear change. Is all change good? Sometimes not but if we close ourselves off to all change, we are also limiting the possible opportunities we might have access to.
I don’t want to spoil the party
During the Winning Edge programme, we talk about the five choice drivers which we employ when making every single choice in life. One of them is our imagination; we will imagine the outcome of our choice and invariably, when it’s a weighty choice we’re making, we will imagine all manner of scenarios with negative consequences.
Think about it. You’re invited to a party. You don’t really venture out much, but you’re persuaded to for a change. The party isn’t for a couple of weeks. And it’s fancy dress. As you near the end of the first week, you start wondering why you accepted the invitation - you’re not sure how many people you’re going to know at the party so will you be left standing on your own like Billy-no-mates. With five days to go, you haven’t thought about your costume. Do you hire, or cobble something together? What’s everyone else wearing? You’re convinced they are hugely resourceful and are all going to look fantastic. The party is now two days away and the hire place doesn’t have anything decent left and you’re not particularly creative, so you give up the ghost on making one. Besides, everyone will probably judge you because their outfits will be much better. Plus, you’re bound to say something stupid or make a faux pas so actually, it’s probably best not to go.
And there you have it, you’ve used your imagination to think of the worst-case scenario and have therefore talked yourself out of going. Potentially, a fabulous party where you might have met some fascinating people, made great connections both personally and maybe even professionally. A missed opportunity because you allowed your imagination to get the better of you.
The only constant in life is change. The earlier we get to grips with this the better. We change schools, love and lose in love, we change schools, we move to a new house, friends move away, friendships change, we change jobs, relationships change, bereavement, redundancy. It all happens and is part of the cycle. Nothing remains the same and if it does, it’s because we’re locking ourselves away from people and situations. It’s all part of the rich tapestry of life and whilst sometimes change knocks us for six at first, or we feel anxious about new circumstances, over time, we can see the gift in many situations and how we build a different life.
Change need not be feared. It can offer us opportunities which we might have never come across. Change can enhance and enrich our life. Change can be good but only if we keep an open mind and accept the possibilities that may lay ahead of us.
Step this way to join the group whereby I will deliver a LIVE on Facebook, to discuss these key points and answer any questions you may have.