Change is inevitable so what are you going to do about it?

© Jenn Shallvey

© Jenn Shallvey

Change is inevitable.  This is my assumption for this post.  Because change is inevitable we all go through it. All you have to do is look at history and see that nothing stays the same.  Nature doesn’t stay the same. Nothing is constant. The world around us always evolves and changes. Everything is moving at some level. Even your body is not the same as it was one second ago. Nothing is the same now compared to before, there just might be different paces of change.

So what happens when change is something that we can be aware of?  It may be rapid or sudden.  In such change we know and we sense it.  What happens is that people are able to feel it at some level even if they want to be in denial or avoid. For example if you are not consciously aware of change your body is going to pick it up. There is a vibration and you are going to sense it. Another assumption.

For purposes of discussion let’s consider there are two types of people. There are the ones who embrace change that almost are saying ‘put me on this ride because I want to be on this ride’. They are going to be the ones who might say ‘I will be constructive in this change’. They are going to say things like ‘I know I am going to go through some emotions. I know I am going to go through things. But I am going to get help. I am going to work through it.’

And that is one person’s point of view but in my opinion very rare.

The other more common person’s point of of view is the person who is afraid of change. This person is going to avoid it, resist it. And yes there are all kinds of models about how there is resistance to change and how we need to manage it. I am not talking about change from an organisational perspective and running people through a model of change management.  I am really talking about you as a person going through change. Whether it’s your own world or the world around you. There is something that is going to be in your life that is going to affect you and those around you and it’s called change.

So do you embrace change?  Do you actually say ‘I am going to grab the reins and I am going to ride this and let whatever happens to happen but I am going to be part of it.’  Or do you do everything in your power consciously and unconsciously to run away from it, hide, scream, yell, resist or fight back? That is the question.  When you know your tendency, ie what kind of person you are when you encounter change, then you can decide how you want to do something about it.

What if you lean more towards the one who is fearful of change? If you like being the one who resists change and you want to be that person then stay that person. I am not here to ask you to change (ha ha). But I am here to ask you to be aware of your response to change. I am asking you to be the one who is responsible for you.  Take that moment and start with you and ask yourself ‘what is happening with me? What is happening inside of me? How am I? And what am I going to do about it?’

If everybody did that in response to change we would have such a different world. We would have less hysteria and emotional reaction. We would have less people running around following what other people tell them they should think. We would actually have people thinking for themselves - for a change.

And that is the whole point because if you are going to follow what other people say, even what I say, then you are not being you.

So my comment here is really how do you be you in the midst of change? Whether you are a resistor or an activist or even in the middle as someone who wants to ride the change wave does not matter.

So here is another way of looking at this.  Go out and look at your life. Start with something that is easy. Again you don’t have to go into the big stuff that will draw out all the emotions.  Start with something light hearted or small.

For example you put your car in the shop for a service.  You have everything planned. You have appointments and you need your car back the next day. Then the car service mechanic calls you and says they have to keep your car longer. How do you handle that? You have to change -  the way you respond to the situation, your plans,  your way of getting where you go.

Note your response on all levels, especially emotional and mental.

Now reflect on other changes in your life whether past, present or future. Note what is common in your response, your own personal pattern. If you are too close for this type of analysis take the risk and ask someone who knows you well. You might be surprised what you learn.

What I invite you to consider in your reflection are three aspects.

We all handle change differently. What is challenging and stressful for one person is easy and painless for another. This does not discount your own personal experience of change. It just shows you that there can be different responses to the same experience.  Where you are change resistant on a matter your friend might be one who embraces and vice versa.  Empathy is helpful.

We also don’t realise how our experience of change affects others. The more unconscious we are about our own experience the more likely we are to externalise. For example we can often be upset or react about a change. If we don’t process this experience we may project this onto others around us. Our personality is the filter and our behaviour is the display.  Others will see you doing things you may not normally do. Again an opportunity to learn by asking others what they see.

We sit on a spectrum rather than respond in black and white ways.  See the possibility of response as nothing at all to too much. Response then depends on you, your experience, your emotional state and your thoughts about the situation. 

Really it’s up to you. Not in controlling change. No. It is up to you to know you so you can be you when everything else around you is changing. The constant in the sea of uncertainty is your self awareness, if you want go there.