The Lessons of Change
Mrs. Change has taught me soooooo many lessons throughout my lifetime. It’s as if she strategically dropped breadcrumbs along my journey, knowing I would one day reflect and realize there was a use for each one. The lessons were always in plain sight, however blocked by fear, anxiousness, doubt and the unknown. Whether it was the change of being a mom 3-months earlier than expected, or the change of my father passing after 36 years of being an instrumental vessel in my life, or the change of a smaller company acquiring the well-known business I supported for over 17 years, the lessons I clutch tightly are the foundations that have built my consultancy.
My passion of partnering with an individual or a team helps me to step them through the disruption that change has brought to their normal. Facilitating the discussions that free their minds to think clearly and confidently, to then be in a space of open navigation, prompts them to leave lessons of breadcrumbs for those who follow. The intersection of the change and their personal transition is what drives my commitment to live this work!
I would LOVE to learn, through your comments, what is your largest lesson from change? As for me, I will share five of the breadcrumbs that I consistently hold onto during my change journeys:
Lesson 1: Articulate change clearly.
Change is hard at first. When the first domino of change falls and all others are in the perfect line to follow suit, it becomes difficult to articulate your true change statement. This clarity is necessary to create any sustainable actions. Take a pause to articulate your change. After you have done this, breathe! Then dig in and ask yourself why—3 times. Likely you are now at the source of what the true change is. That single domino that stands tall at the forefront is exactly what you want to articulate and what you will create your plans toward. Write it in the form of when, what, and change impact. As a result, you become clear and focused to create the correct plan towards actions and acceptance. For example:
On January 15, 2017, I was laid off from my Vice President position at the company I have worked for 30 years and this has significantly impacted my family’s financial security and lifestyle.
On February 21, 2017, our company was acquired by a significantly smaller company, who is uncommunicative and incomparable by way of benefits, and there is a high threat of a 45-65% employee turnover in the next 6 months.
Lesson 2: Others depend on your success.
Change breeds choices. It is natural to initially be entrenched in how the change affects you alone, despite you being one of many within a family, team or organization. Change is personal and shakes us at our core, therefore oftentimes making us feel and act in isolation. What can you do to assess who truly needs your attention while on your change journey? You have lots of work to do and must be a bit selfish with your time, energy and commitments. It will look and feel different for you, however the promise on the other side of change is well worth the temporary selfishness and attention. Divide a sheet of paper into 3 columns. Write down the names of those who depend on you, what they are dependent upon you for, and if their dependency is associated directly with your change or may result in negative impacts from your change. For those that have a "no" in the third column, consider having a 1:1 conversation with each. You will share that the focus for the next 6 weeks is to embrace and thrive in your own change and would love their support to do so. Their support looks like a difference in how you are currently supporting each of them (which is what you have written in the second column of your sheet of paper). Be clear in your discussion.
Lesson 3: Let go of the old to fully embrace the new.
Change is emotional. Focusing on what you will gain in the change will help you let go of the old way of doing things. Your status quo has served its purpose!! It is time to progress to the unknown, which promises the endless possibilities of all you will become and the impact you will make. Let go and leap to greatness!
Lesson 4: There is strength in seeking help on your journey.
Change allows you to work smarter not harder. Identifying your support system and leaning on them for tangible activities during your transition is a sure sign of strength. Change helps you become vulnerable. The power that comes from not tackling it alone is AMAZING, FREEING, and places you where you should be. Arriving at the renewal stage of transition and finally embracing your change will validate the strength, confidence and conviction that you have always had.
Lesson 5: Nothing changes if your status quo remains the same.
Change is progress. One thing that is constant is change, and she will pack her bags and leave you standing on the sideline of status quo. You are not here for that! To learn, to progress, to grow and to thrive means that you will grab your to-go bag full of breadcrumbs, disrupt the norm, embrace change, and leave lessons along your path to successful change!
Lolita E. Walker is the founder of Walker & Walker Enterprises. She is a mother, process improvement specialist and change management expert. She is the change management consultant who will partner with you, personally stepping through how to free your mind, manage your transitions, and embrace your change through acceptance and renewal. Her change management program results in self-discovery of the strengths that will drive your success, coaching that translates into increased communications with those depending on you, and a sustainable change map that drives clarity, confidence, ownership and action. Learn more about her program by visiting https://www.lolitawalker.com