Saturday, April 5, 2008

Keep the Change

Today I am thinking about change and how our acceptance or struggle with change affects our lives.

When it comes to change, I am of two minds. I am easily bored, so change is often welcome. But I like routine in certain areas of my life, and anything that changes my routine means I might forget things or skip steps.

I like the excitement change can bring - new concepts, new people, new things to learn, new thrills. But I like things that are comfortable and dear - my leather reading chair, my books, a cup of sweet Irish breakfast tea. I want everything to be where I think it belongs, whether it's in my kitchen or my favorite store. And when stores change their floor plans or someone puts the good flatware in with the everyday, it makes me crazy.

Much of our stress comes from change or the anticipation of change - anxiety, sadness, fearfulness, even dread. But there are good stressors, too, linked to change: excitement, anticipation, joy, exhilaration. As negatively as the "bad" stressors affect our health (mental and physical), "good" stressors have an equally positive effect, I believe.

I am thinking about change because this week I changed jobs. I have gone from a comfortable role managing internal communications for a large organization to a new and unfamiliar role as a communications consultant for a major human resources consulting firm. I have so much to learn that I have assigned myself the descriptor "sponge."

There are "bad" effects of this change: I developed many friendships through my previous job and worry that most of them will fade away over time; also, I enjoyed a comfort level working in a familiar industry with known audiences and problems.

But the "good" effects amount to more, I think: New friendships, new challenges, and new opportunities await me; a shorter commute - I didn't realize how much the commute affected me over the past 18 months; and most strikingly, the knowledge that I have been recognized for my experience, knowledge, and abilities by others.

We all know people who fight against change. Some of the ones I know like that are negative, angry, and frustrated. They often live their lives in a reactionary mode - things "happen" to them; they don't affect or control things.

It's so much healthier to recognize change as inevitable, find out how it truly affects you, and then find a way to either accept and work with the change or find alternatives, whether that means a new job, kicking a habit, or opening yourself up to new experiences and relationships.

One of the reasons my husband and I get along so well is that we both face change in a similar fashion. We may mourn, briefly, whatever is passing, but we face and scrutinize change, and frequently embrace it. We both have family members who cannot face change this way, and it's very sad.

Change, then, if you can. Change, when embraced, can mean personal growth and self-fulfillment. If the change you face does not appear to lead in that direction, ask yourself how you, yourself, can change so that you grow and are fulfilled. I hope you come to find change as rewarding as I do.

1 comment:

John Ettorre said...

Connie, thanks for sharing this honest dispatch. It speaks to and for many of us. But I know your peerless people skills will ultimately help you become successful in this new role. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it when next our paths cross.