Instead of fearing change, focus on its positive aspects
It has been a tough year for so many people, but doesn’t it feel as if things are moving forward again? The financial markets are recovering, housing prices are stabilizing and now we would like nothing better than to get back to conducting business as usual.
The only problem is, that’s not going to happen! The funny thing about change is that once it’s happened, things seldom return back to the good old ways. Changes are for the most part permanent and are replaced by more changes. One of my sayings is: “Change is great when you’re done with it, but never when going through it.”
So what we want to focus on is to find the positive aspects in the change, and believe me, they are there. It certainly didn’t seem so when my mother turned 75 and my brother opened a Pandora’s box by saying the word “moving.” My mother had been complaining about her apartment being too pricey and so my brother suggested a smaller place for half the rent. My mother could have chosen to think that this was an opportunity to reduce her overhead and use the extra money for travel, but instead she chose to focus on a negative interpretation. All she heard was “they are trying to force me to do something I don’t want.”
Change can be threatening. Sometimes so much so that even when we do something that clearly doesn’t work, we continue to do it. Here’s what former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina says about change.
In the case of my mother, she wanted to hold on to a two-bedroom apartment on the third floor without an elevator that was twice as expensive as the ground level one-bedroom my brother had suggested.
We often prefer to accept the pain we’re in because we’re worried about what changing something might look like, even if it could mean a substantial improvement. In my coaching world, that means the pain is not yet great enough because if it was, my clients would do something about it.
So what comes next? Just as my mother will have to make a choice if she wants the apartment or a better lifestyle, you want to look at your business and examine it the same way. What idea, system or methods are you holding on to that haven’t worked for a long time?
How will a change get you to your next thing? In my coaching, I have come to realize that my clients have a very good idea what doesn’t work and once we talk about it, they are more open to changing it. One of my clients, a professional photographer, said she did not want to set up a website for her stock images. Too expensive, she said. Even when she learned it would only cost a few hundreds dollars, incredibly, she came up with another reason. Eventually she realized that fighting an industry standard was a waste of her time. If she wants to make money with her company, that’s what she needs to do.
Take a look at your own situation and find what needs to be replaced. Evaluate systems, work flows, vendors, contracts, assistants, rentals, etc. What doesn’t feel quite right? Where can you improve? Rule of thumb, if it upsets you or costs you more than you get out of it, let it go.
Change is great when you are done it with. Remember to focus on that!
Beate Chelette is a respected career coach, consummate entrepreneur and founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private and digital world. Determined to build a community of women helping each other after selling one of her companies, BeateWorks, to Bill Gates in 2006 for millions of dollars, Beate launched The Women’s Code online course in February 2012.