One thing in life is certain---change. Things never stay the same. If you are hoping for the status quo, then I’m afraid you will be disappointed. Just think back to how things were five years ago and you will realize that there is so very much that’s already different in a very short time.
I’m sure there are some of you who know people who refused to adapt to the computer age. I still know some “old timers” who want to use word processors or even typewriters instead! Imagine. What is up with that?
Well, when change comes we have several options, some of which are more adaptive than others. Let’s take a look at them.
The first option is to refuse to change or adapt to any new circumstances, just like the person who still uses a word processor. These are generally people who are afraid of change. I also think that underlying that fear is the fear of being inadequate. When change requires new learning, as it often does, some people don’t think they will be able to master the new skills so it is easier to simply renounce the changes than adapt. The problem is that these are the people who are left in the dust.
The second possibility is the slow starter. These people usually start out in one of the first two mentioned roles---either refusing to change or anxiously running around trying to figure out what to do about it. They do not like change any more than the next person and they resist and resist until one day, they realize that the change may actually bring benefits. Once they see that there is a payoff for them, they fairly easily do the necessary things to adapt to the change.
A third possibility is what we see in the over anxious people in our midst. You know who they are. They are the ones who are always making mountains out of molehills and have a nervous energy about them whenever confronted with a novel situation. They imagine all the possible scenarios about what could occur and seem to just go around in circles. They don’t adapt to the change; they just worry themselves sick over it.
The final and most rewarding possibility are the people who understand that change is a part of everything. When we stop evolving, we start eroding. These people welcome change, in fact, they frequently generate it. They realize that change is what makes things happen. Change propels us forward. These people are quick to make the necessary adaptations and suffer the least from the inevitable.
Do you recognize your own character in any of the above descriptions? Have you read Spencer Johnson’s book, Who Moved My Cheese? This book is an excellent description of the four possible characters in the Change Game. In the book, the first character was a little person named Hem. Hem was afraid of change and believed it would make things worse. He avoided it at all costs. The second character was a mouse named, Scurry. Scurry ran around in circles, just attempting to do something, anything. Sometimes he was right, sometimes wrong but he was constantly in motion. The third character was a little person named Haw. Haw was slow to figure things out but eventually he adapted to the change and realized that the change could bring something better. However, the real winner was the mouse, Sniff. Sniff jumped into action early, sniffing out the terrain and making a choice on what to do next. He adapted the quickest.
Which character are you? Who would you like to be? What would you have to give up to be the character you really want to be? Would you like to make a plan right now to implement these changes into your life? It will require a commitment and a good plan.
This is where a coach can be helpful. When you identify an area in your life that requires some attention and you commit to making the necessary adjustments, it’s strange how life gets in the way sometime and we revert back to our previous ways. A coach is someone who can keep you on track and pointed in the direction of your goals. A coach will support your progress and hold you accountable for the goals you set.