I can see my wife Tammy smiling about the fact that I’m writing an article about change. Bill Pence and change do not necessarily go together. If you look up change agent in the dictionary my name would not be the first one you would see. But I have changed over the years – I’ve had to. We all have to. We live in a life of constant change – at work, with technology, etc. For example, I used to buy most of my books at the local Barnes and Noble and my music at the local Best Buy. Now, I purchase e-books that are instantly downloaded to my Kindle and digital music that is instantly downloaded to my iPod.
Change can be good or bad and people face change in a variety of ways. Here are three of them:
- People Worry About and Fear Change. In his book Pivot, Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes that people spend more time worrying than thinking constructively. He references a study which revealed that 95 percent of worries are unwarranted, though we don’t know that at the time of course. He states that worry is a total waste of time and will destroy your positive attitude, and it can destroy your life. Some people pray about change, while others become anxious about it. We fear or worry about change regarding jobs, relationships, health, etc. I have certainly worried or feared change. What kind of changes have you worried about recently?
- People Resist Change. As people face change they can resist or oppose change. They like things just as they are today. Can’t you hear them saying, “But we’ve always done it this way!” They would be OK if they still used typewriters, landline phones, and listened to their music on vinyl albums. They wonder why they can’t keep the boss they have a great relationship with and supports them so well. Or why do they have to move…..again? I used to be one who resisted change or was change averse. Would that describe you?
- People Embrace Change. I think the healthiest position on change is to embrace it. A big change for me was the death of my Mom when she was only 60 years old. I was very close to my Mom. I don’t think I would have ever changed departments in the organization I work at halfway through my career if I hadn’t lost my Mom. After that huge loss, a mere job change seemed small. Today, to help me with possible change I try to be proactive and get ahead of the change. In one instance when I thought I might need to reskill to be a Project Manager I sought out a mentor to help me prepare for that possible change (which didn’t happen). In another instance, when faced with a major change that would impact me, I volunteered to be a part of the group that would work out the details of the change (this didn’t happen either). In both instances, I tried to take action that would help me deal with and help to embrace these changes. What do you do to help embrace change?
Change is something that we are all facing. How do you handle change? Do you fear it, worry about it, resist it or embrace it?