The word change is a six-letter dirty word for some people. Plain and simple, change isn’t easy for the majority of us because change is an emotional process. We are creatures of habit who like routine and will resist change at the cost of staying stagnant and even left behind. But here is the fact: either change manages us or we manage it. I choose the latter – it gives us the control and allows us the time for planning on how to make change work.
“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.” – James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
Things will always change. It is non-discriminating, relentless, and inevitable. We don’t have a choice about that yet we do have a choice in our reaction towards change. Change can be a transformational growth opportunity if we choose the right attitude towards it. This attitude can help us to be an active contributor rather than a passive observer of changes that affect our lives. This attitude and preparation that goes with it means we can keep pace with change and won’t be left behind.
“Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad–not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life–to keep us moving…to keep us growing…to keep us interested. Imagine life without change. It would be static…boring…dull.” Dr. Dennis O’Grady
Would it help to remove our negative connotations regarding the word change if we used its synonyms? When I plugged “change” into the thesaurus it gave me: transformation, modification, alteration, conversion, variation, adjustment, amendment, difference, and revolution. I liked how these synonyms felt and changed the meaning of the word for me. How about you? Would the use of a replacement word for change help manage your perception of it?
Here is a list of some views that might help our comfort with the copious amounts of change we need to manage in our work and personal lives:
- Change is a fact of life and is here to stay. This understanding may help us to more quickly to embrace rather than immediately reject change.
- Change is predictable – anticipate change so that we can choose our reaction rather than our reaction driving our behavior and actions.
- Emotions are part of the change process. Let yourself have an emotional response. It’s okay to say argh! Changing again!?! Then set emotions aside so that you can ask questions to understand the reasons behind a change.
- Progress creates problems – problems are a natural side effect of the change process. There will be bumps in the road, discomfort, and obstacles which need to be overcome.
- Change provides opportunities – those who are ready will survive and thrive. Those who resist will lag behind.
- Change is a process not an event – the process of change needs to go though many steps before understanding and comfort can be had.
“Any change, even for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” – Arnold Bennett
There is no more change today than there was in the past; today it comes at a much greater speed. We’ve all heard the old adage: the only constant today is change. I’d like to challenge this and ask if change is constant, can it really be called change? What if we changed our mindset to view change as a new reality? Would that help us to stop resisting and start embracing change? What are your thoughts on this? Will this mindset shift or use of the word change’s synonyms help us view change differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts!