I remember being 25, an Assistant Professor at the time, asked to give a lecture about a topic I had little experience in. It had to do with the practical considerations and psychological implications of undertaking a system-wide redesign within an organization, one that could theoretically pull the rug from under the feet of many employees at one time. Knowing my limitations, I purposed to research the topic to death over the weekend, then fake it the best I could on Monday morning.
I recall thinking that weekend about what that kind of change would really feel like to people in that situation. I remember reading articles all about stress, insecurity and facing unknown in the workplace, really trying to understand the kinds of reactions a major upheaval like that would cause for the people who worked there.
That was actually the first time I really thought about change. Though I hated change and was living a very inflexible life, I had never taken the time to wonder why.
After my research, I remember thinking thank goodness it wasn’t just me. I learned that, for most people, change isn’t exactly a welcome thing. Until that point, it was something I just never knew. What a relief.
I’ve come to understand much more about change over the years. Mostly from my own experiences, but also by observing it in others. Turns out, it’s true what I discovered years before — change is akin to fear. And, though it may be necessary — sometimes even very exciting – the stresses and insecurities that come with changing course towards the unknown are very, very real.
I’ve learned it’s natural how worry accompanies change. When we contemplate a big decision, a life altering switch, or a relatively major transition, we’re prone to worry. Are we making the correct choices? Are we sure we’re following exactly the right path? What if we make a mistake? Can we take the change back if things don’t work out?
I’ve learned there is comfort in knowing. No matter the struggle, no matter how bad, no matter the senselessness of it all, at least we know what is. Change changes all that. At least for a time, there is no knowing. There is no guarantee change will solve something, let alone anything. There is never a promise change won’t make everything worse.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned, however, is that change requires faith. Faith in those guiding us toward that change, faith in the efforts of those supporting and lifting us during the transition, faith in the tools and techniques we’ve selected to help us along, and faith in ourselves to succeed.
I understand this fear of change. I face it regularly. But, friends, there comes a moment when we must rise against our fears and do what is necessary to create the lives we want.
Is there an area of your life you’d like to change? Will you state your intention in the COMMENT box, so my readers and I can offer words of support? Will you stand for the change you’d like to see in your life, and take the steps necessary to move forward?
I am standing for you, too.