The Wild Ride Of Change

Are you one of those people that runs to grab the front seat on the roller coaster so you can maximize the thrill of the dips and climbs, the wind in your hair and the screams at your back? Me either. In fact, when I was a kid, I thought Mr. Toad had a wild ride.  I had no clue.

The level of change in most of our lives in the past decade has felt  like a roller coaster when I would have opted to go higher via a smooth and steady ride in a climate-controlled gondola.   Even if you have segments of time when you’re not experiencing dramatic peaks and valleys, don’t be lulled into thinking that’s the norm. The ride is far from over, so let’s consider how to make the most of it.

I cringe when I hear the term “embrace change” since change is more like a wild ride than something warm and comforting. The very nature of change is that it ushers in the unfamiliar and thrusts us out of our comfort zone.

It’s said that everything we ever wanted is just outside of our comfort zone. If that’s true, and I think it is, then it serves us well to harness the momentum instead of trying to wrestle things into their old places to maintain the status quo. I don’t think most leaders really want the status quo, which ultimately spells mediocrity, but shifting paradigms and long-held beliefs is an ongoing process. We can make the decision to shift, but walking it out takes daily course corrections. That’s where a compass comes in.

Mastering the art of navigating change successfully could very well become one of the most sought – after skills in the marketplace in the days ahead.

Our youngest daughter, who is in college, was planning a road trip recently and her dad asked if she had a map in her car. She looked at him in puzzlement and said, “dad, no one uses a map anymore. Maps are old-school!”.   A GPS recalculates if you miss a turn and shows where you are in relation to where you need to be. But a compass will work when the satellite can’t get a reading and can be counted on to keep you headed in the right direction, even if you’re not certain of exactly what road you’re on.

Besides having a navigational tool, cultivating an attitude of expectancy is key to a successful journey. Our attitude toward change has much to do with our personality type. I run full force into change with sword drawn, ready for action. One of my partners gets out the calculator, gathers information and ponders long and hard before taking action. Neither one of us have the correct approach. In fact, the ideal is to travel with a team that have all different perspectives that come with different personalities. The one with gutsy boldness and daring has to have someone to catch their tail and haul them back up when they step off the edge of a cliff in the fog.

Change is inevitable, survival is essential, but improvement is optional. Sometimes the whole process is exhausting. It comes in handy that we are more adaptable than we think. Agility is maintained by stretching and change is the way we stretch. You can resist it and it will come anyway. Might as well fasten your seat belt and learn to enjoy the ride.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt.

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