Inevitably, things change.
The organisation you joined, the team you committed to, members of your family, your local community, your surroundings… are all subject to constant change.
Sometimes the changes enhance the things you like most, accentuating the positives.
Often the change is unwelcome. Little changes combine to create a big change. Eventually you realise that what you have is not what you had in mind, not what you signed up for.
When big change creeps up on you, your options are simple but limited: re-commit, accept it, or take control and commit elsewhere.
You can avoid the shock of big change by becoming more aware of the many small changes around you. Look in the mirror too, it’s not just external change you need to accept. By adapting to the small changes as they happen you will increase your level of control.
Give yourself plenty of opportunity to re-commit, to re-negotiate the contract, on your terms.
Some elements of your routine are good. They are personal, provide efficiency, remove thought from mundane tasks and eliminate the noise from your day, allowing attention to be turned to matters of significance.
Other elements rely on the cooperation of others. Over time, your world starts to impinge on the lives of others. Your personal boundaries expand. What is common becomes owned. No longer shared, but yours by right.
Other people do this too… my seat on the train, my parking space, my time on the running machine… mine, mine, mine.
Eventually, elements of your routine will clash. Through ignorance, bloody-mindedness, or honest mistake. Something will have to give. If you’re not prepared, it could get messy.
Be aware of what you have. What’s yours. What’s borrowed. Be grateful for what other’s allow you. Never consider it a right.
Be willing to share.
Build flexibility in to your routine. Be prepared for change. Don’t let mundane things throw you off your game or dampen your mood.
Have you ever noticed how taking some time away can help to embed changes you’ve made in your life?
The act of leaving, having a distraction and returning, seems to be a trigger that helps cement changes big or small. Whether it’s a short trip, an exotic vacation, or even a long weekend away from the office, they can all be effective.
You leave a “new house” and return to your “home”. Leave a “new job” and return to “work”. Leave something strange, and return to something more normal.
Is this a tool that you could use to help manage change in your life?
Change is hard for everyone. It requires you to dig deep. The effort required to stick with it is draining.
Get away. Take a break. Breathe. Come back with a new perspective.
People wake up one day and realise that the organisation they’re working for, or the job they’re doing is not what it used to be, not what they signed up for.
Over time things have changed. Creeping change.
A series of small events that individually meant little, were easy to come to terms with. Together they have resulted in “Big” change. It’s impossible to identify the precise time when the small changes became a “Big”, but they did.
Some people continue, oblivious to the changes, happy to do what they need to do to get by. For others, however, this realisation can create a personal crisis.
It may be necessary to engineer “an event”, on a personal level, to come to terms with the situation. For some this may be as simple as taking a break, some time away. For others, it may require more… a real change… of role, or job, or location… to regain control.
When small change becomes “Big”, it’s easy to be caught off guard. Even the most self aware, reflective of individuals can feel cheated. How will you respond?
Driving to work today, I encountered the tail end of some overnight roadworks and a huge number of irate drivers.
A lane had been closed (two lanes into one) and the traffic diverted. According to the sign post on the approach this was still the case.
The traffic was all over the place… some people were taking advantage of the new, improved road system. Others were trying to squeeze into the single lane as directed on the approach.
The work had been successfully completed. Confusion and frustration reigned. All because someone forgot to change the sign post.
Have you changed anything recently? Have you updated all the signs?
How many things do you a certain way, day after day, without question? Your route to the class, lunch selection, the processes you follow at work… routine.
Over time we lose sight of why we do certain things, or why we do them in a particular way. Sometimes it’s of our own making… we get comfortable, lazy, form habits. Other times, we inherit behaviours from our family, friends or work colleagues. We become inefficient, out of touch. We are not investing our time and energy on the right things.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. To forget that things change around us and that we need to adapt to avoid being left behind.
Think about what you do. Then go one step further and really think about why you do it.
You may find some things are reinforced; you reaffirm your commitment and proceed with confidence, a renewed vigour.
Others you may struggle to justify. Their underlying rationale is lost in the annals of time. You do it because that’s what you do.
Change something. Select a different sandwich. Take a different route. Re-design the process.
This doesn’t have to be a lonely task. It may require a little courage, but you don’t have to do it alone. Share your ideas. Develop them. Validate them with people you trust. Then act.