It was never my plan to become an expert on change. After all who starts out their career thinking, “Oh, yes. Change. Bring it on!”
Most of us like comfort and stability, and knowing that in the morning our keys, our phone, and our eyeglasses are exactly where we left when we went to bed. However, if we pay attention to what happens around us, we’ll see that change is always happening.
The Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus was one of the first to bring the experience of change to our attention. He said, “The only constant in life is change.”
The actual Greek phrase, Panta Rhei, “life is flux,” reminds me of Doc Brown’s “flux capacitor” power unit in his Back To The Future DeLorean time travel machine. Everything is in flux. Everything is moving, changing, adapting, growing or declining … all the time.
Right now, I’m sitting at the airport gate waiting to board my first flight of the day. Change is happening all around me. People at the desk are seeking to change their seat assignment. The man across from me is balancing his checkbook. The young woman next to me telling me about how this is the first time she has ever flown on an airplane. The group behind me is filled with energy as they begin their journey overseas on a church mission trip. Everyone is changing the location of their physical body from one location to another.
All this seems quite normal. I see this in my conversations with people. This is a daily occurrence for me. People tell me about their experience, about what they think and, about why certain kinds of change seem to be so tough for them.
What then are we talking about when we talk about resisting or even hating change? It isn’t the change itself. We are used to it. We love the change of seasons. We love going to bed, sleeping well, and getting up to view a beautiful sunrise. In living every day, we learn to adapt, to flex in the flux, as we continually move through and into new chapters of our lives.
I have come to the conclusion that the greatest change we experience is in our self-perception. It isn’t change itself we resist, but how it affects our sense of well-being.
When I take people through my Impact Day process, I ask a lot of questions about change. We look at milestones where situations change and perception changed. Towards the end of the process, we look back to our starting point. This is a statement that is framed as a question, or an aspiration or a specific goal. After all the conversation, we restate the original statement based on what we’ve learned.
This is often the moment in the transformation of a person’s self-perception. A whole picture emerges. Our perspective becomes integrated. We see ourselves as we may never have before. When we see ourselves as persons of impact, it is a magical moment.
Yes, we are all in transition. It is called life.
Let’s call this the big picture of our life. However, we hardly ever live in the moment of the big picture. Instead, we live in the moment of transition points.
I write about this in my book, Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative To Ignite Change. These are points in time where we cross a threshold from one place to the next. When these transition points are clearly understood, we can make decisions that lead us through the transition into a new place.
Increasingly, I think that these transition points are where we discover ourselves. Real life is happening to us. We must reflect, decide and act to make the most of the situation.
Over the next three months, I’m going to take each of the 12 Transition Points (You can get the list of them by signing up for my monthly newsletter) and delve into the meaning and experience of them.
My experience is that most of us are at more than one transition point. It is okay to be there. It is just not okay to stay there. I want to help you manage the real change moments in your life and work that matter.
Since we are all in transition, I want you to know of some transitions that I am taking on. First, the name of this weblog is changing to Circle of Impact. Makes more sense. I post a new blog post every week on Tuesday. On Monday each week, I’ll post a short video introduction to alert you to what’s coming the next day.
A second change is that I’m going to revive my first weblog which has been dormant for the past couple of years. This weblog is called Leading Questions, and it is where longer form post will be done. I’ll repost some of those that I believe still have currency. I’ll begin to do this in November.
I welcome your thoughts and comments. You can reach me at email@example.com. See you next week. Let’s go make a difference that matters.