my love-hate relationship with change

12 01 2007

i love change.
i hate change.
over the years i’ve found that me and change have a sometimes delightful, sometimes frustrating relationship. 
change is an opportunity for renewal.  it is a time for deep reflection on what i am doing, where i want to be, and reconsideration my methods for getting there.  in the end, it has been my ability to manage and cope with change that has led to some of my greatest achievements.  when i’ve had the chance to lead others through change i’ve loved the experience and from all reports, i’ve made it easier for those i was leading.
but man, change isn’t fun. whether i have a vision of where the change is leading or i’m trying to cope with the ambiguity that results from unplanned change.  No matter how well you manage it or anticipate it, it still causes distress. neurobiologist in fact have found that change actually causes pain in our brains.  that pain in turn causes the amygdala to fire the flight or fight response to threats. even as experienced as I am with change,  i still struggle with sleepless nights, questions of am i doing the right thing, am i missing something, why me, why now?  change shakes us to the core. it confuses us.  it scares us.

i’ve accepted heraclitus’ belief change is all there is.  to cope with it, i know i have to check in with those around me who care about me to make sure i’m in touch with what’s going on and what I want to stay focused on, and most importantly watch myself to see what I can learn about myself in the process.

"In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the
learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that
no longer exists." ~ Eric Hoffer



One response

12 01 2007
Tom Haskins

Great post! Thanks for tieing in so many facets of changing.

I’ve found I make my own experience with change worse by thinking myself into a performance context. Then I’m telling myself “I’m already supposed to know this stuff”, “Mistakes mean I’m not what I say I am”, “There’s no time or slack for me to learn as I go”, “I’d better be on top of my game from the start or expect repercussions”.

When I can think myself into a developmental context, I can jump into that constantly changing river that Heraclitus saw insightfully. Then I’m telling myself “Nobody has this figured out and I’m as good a learner as the others”, “Mistakes mean I’m debugging my mental model and preventing future errors”, “There’s no way to avoid learning as I go”, “I’d better have my head in the game to get to the top of my game sooner, instead of later”.

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