If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes …

As we go about our Life each day, most of us will at some point come across situations that require us to accept change – whether in our job, in our health, in our relationships with family or friends, in our finances … or in almost any other aspect of Life one could imagine.

There’s an old saying that suggests the only thing constant in Life is change … and if ever there was a time in the history of humanity when this adage was true, it’s now. In previous articles, we’ve acknowledged how today’s ever-evolving technology seems to have quickened the pace of Life – whether through inter-personal communications, or in advancements in safety, medicine, or science … change is the name of the game.

And If We Don’t Like It?

But what happens when change doesn’t really improve the game itself? Or what if we just don’t want the change that confronts us? What do we do then? Well, most of the time, we don’t have a lot of choice in the matter – we’re merely along for the ride. Change visits in spite of us, although sometimes even because of us.

I’ve noticed there seems to be two basic ways to manage change. One is ‘resistance’ … the kind with white knuckles and clenched teeth. This scenario represents change as something to reluctantly face, something inevitable and possibly even somewhat painful. But this particular perspective on change can be exhausting because (let’s be honest) with this attitude, we’re not really embracing the change facing us. Instead, we may tolerate it, endure it, even suffer it or bear it … but we do not embrace it.

If You Refuse, Do You Really Lose?

The problem with this strategy is that it is ineffective at best, and at worst can engender a resentment that could even become something more onerous. Adopting a resistance approach will almost always set us up to fail, or at least make us miserable through an inner monologue that fixates on “These changes are terrible and will make it impossible for me to succeed. I will resist them at every opportunity!” Such people are metaphorically ‘dragged, kicking and screaming’ into their new circumstance. It’s so emotionally draining …

The other way to deal with imminent change is through ‘community.’ Like the name implies, this tactic creates a social network that provides encouragement, support, information and even mentoring, all of which can help us learn to both accept and internalize the change we’re facing. Choosing this approach internalizes our belief in our ability to succeed, embracing a great outcome as if it’s already achieved.

We may have preferred no change, given the choice … but when the status quo is not an option, we must recognize that it’s in our own best interest to position ourselves in such a way as to maximize our benefit. This tactic helps to reframe any potentially negative energy into more positive and productive energy, and leans us toward a more empowering acknowledgement that says “I am worthy of success and I will gladly accept help to make that happen.”

Change Isn’t Always Bad 

So what’s your change management strategy when you find yourself on the threshold of a new beginning? Do you resist and become negative and disruptive? Do you sink into depression, feeling victimized? Perhaps you look for ways to leverage your situation? Are you able to go with the flow and see where it leads? Maybe you reach out for some social community support?

Remember, change isn’t always a bad thing – in fact, it’s often quite stimulating. It opens new doors, closes others, and allows us to turn the page and begin writing anew. Fear is most often what feeds our resistance to change, whereas Faith is most often what urges us onward. If we can only believe that Life is an adventure meant to fill us with diverse experience, we might be more willing to embrace change as exciting – even if we must bid farewell to the secure familiarity of our yesterday.

To quote the brilliant Greek philosopher Plato, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of Life is when adults are afraid of the light.” So … where does this leave you??

and as you consider this, remember to always focus on the Good Things in Life!


Comments

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes … — 16 Comments

  1. This is so wise, “Adopting a resistance approach will almost always set us up to fail, or at least make us miserable through an inner monologue…” A few years ago as a corporate trainer I led a workshop on change management for a local chapter of a national organization. They wanted something more facilitative than training so I purchased a program called, Change, It Happens. They (and me too) loved the model (which is also in a book of the same name I think) because it included a broad approach. Examine personal feelings, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors around the change. Consider the consequences to self and my impact on others. By looking at how either being receptive or resistant to the change was helpful or not, a person could move away from the resistance approach you mention.

    Valuable take aways in a changing world.

    Over from LinkedIn Group

    • Hi, Patricia …

      Corporate trainers get to see a lot of resistance to change and, by necessity, would need to have a grounded approach to rely on. I’m not specifically acquainted with the program you mentioned, but I know there are some very good ones on the market. From what you describe, yours incorporated the most important elements of a successful change management strategy, so I can see why your corporate client embraced it.

      The world is certainly not going to stop changing, so indeed … the sooner we can personally adopt a change mentality, the smoother our Life will go. Once it becomes evident that a particular change is unavoidable, that’s the best time to begin the shift – because it may take some time to emotionally process the impact of the coming days. Easier to say than to do, I know. But far better than getting left behind – because that’s the thing about most kinds of change … it has very little regard for whether you’re receptive or not, it will simply run right over you.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insight.

      Namaste,
      /L.

  2. So many of us fear change. And yet, as you say Lily-Ann it’s a constant part of life. But there’s change and there’s change. Every minute that passes brings change, and we cope with it. We resist change more when it takes us right out of the familiarity of our comfort zones and introduces loss and a sense of lacking control.
    Thanks for the reminder that life is an adventure. Without change, we’d be lacking in experience and I believe, growth and excitement and what an utterly boring world that would be.

    • Hi, Claudia …

      Too right – fear drives resistance, there’s no doubt. And this also intertwines with the sense of experiencing loss and having a lack of control … and this, in turn, points directly to ‘feelings’. When we experience loss, it’s a feeling, right? When we’re not in control, again it’s a feeling – one that leaves us believing we are vulnerable and at someone else’s mercy – which circles back to fear, as in ‘what will happen to me?’ (i.e. without that person/job/asset in my life, [or] with someone else influencing or controlling my future/my present/my experience) …

      It’s all connected, because we fear how it will make us feel, and we feel how much it makes us fear … therefore, change and fear are inextricably linked, in my view. And that’s where the concept of ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ becomes so valuable. The energy some might spend on resistance is more wisely spent on evaluating how to leverage the coming change to our benefit – particularly if the change is unavoidable. We might as well find the advantage and apply it to how we proceed.

      As you point out, this kind of challenge really can be exciting, and the pay-off can be profound … whether physical, psychological or monetary. Change rules the world.

      Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts on this … they are very much in alignment with my own.

      Namaste,
      /L.

  3. This is very appropriate and personal for me right now. I am going through some massive changes personally and find I am not resistant. I was at first, but then I forged ahead and made a plan for myself. I have always been very adaptable and can move through one thing to another without much stress. Probably because in my 20’s and 30’s I physically relocated due to my job promotions (when I was in Corporate America). Being an entrepreneur for the past 15 years, having to deal with what I am being handed now is a bit easier, but still takes all I have to focus and get through it. Bring it on, I say! Nice post.

    • Hi, Laurie …

      I concur that being an entrepreneur certainly demands we raise our tolerance for change – many of us have learned that we must expect to encounter various intensities of change on a semi-regular basis, through the ever-shifting needs of our client base. As a veteran in the entrepreneur space, you have surely developed a resilience that many of us are still striving for. Hopefully, though, through our amazing online community, we can grow to support and encourage each other through the variety of struggles that change often brings.

      I have read quite a few of your articles now and, from what your writing reveals about you, I have no doubt whatsoever that you have all the smarts and tenacity needed to get through your next set of challenges and come out even stronger on the other side of it. Bring it on, indeed!

      Best of luck as you make your way … and thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I appreciate hearing from you …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  4. I’ve lived long enough Lily-Ann to have turned the page from resistance to acceptance as quickly as I recognize that I am not embracing change in a healthy way.

    As part of my daily spiritual practice I have incorporated this affirmation: ” I will embrace all of my experiences with ease and joy instead of resistance and frustration”.

    My goal now is to make the choice that is in my best interest and for my highest good. In so doing I make life less stress filled for myself and others!

    Great post, well written, and easy to digest … thanks for the lesson.

    Light and love,
    Lyndah

    • Hi, Lyndah …

      That’s a great affirmation to include in your daily routine. Resistance to unavoidable change is such a waste of time and energy, and brings hard feelings into the mix – for everyone involved. It’s definitely in our best interest to make only those choices that leverage our position when we face imminent change, and this will end up being for our highest good – and set a good example for those around us.

      I get what you mean about how acceptance tends to come more easily as we mature, because that has been my experience, too. I’m so much more into ‘ease and joy’ rather than ‘resistance and frustration’ … so I’m with you on this approach.

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment. It’s always good to hear from you …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  5. Hi Lily-Ann,
    I don’t think there will ever be enough words for us to read about change. Everyone wrestles with it and studies show even the best of changes are met with resistance initially until we are able to process and make sense of what is happening. I like your words: “Fear is often what feeds our resistance to change, whereas Faith is often what urges us onward.” Thanks for the post!
    Carrie Arnold

    • Hi, Carrie …

      Yes, it’s pretty hard to disagree – change is almost always unsettling, isn’t it? The processing part often includes working through the disappointment of losing something we’re accustomed to. While working in the Government, I was frequently confronted by change – practically around every corner, it seemed. So I had to quickly come to terms with the importance of keeping a more fluid perspective on ‘procedures today vs procedures tomorrow’ … and I will confess that most of my initial resistance came couched in “… seriously?? Why would they do THAT?!!” – not that anyone ever asked for my approval.

      But once we can see whatever our role is to be in the ‘new way’, it should become much easier to embrace the change. Not saying we’ll always like it, but at least if we’re willing to acquiesce, that will create some breathing room to develop our buy-in. And the sooner the buy-in comes, the sooner change-leaders are developed to help colleagues or staff ‘get there’ as well. It’s a process, that’s for sure …

      Thanks, Carrie, for taking the time to read and comment on this article …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  6. Greetings Lily-Ann,

    I do believe change happens because of us as you said. Change is a calling forth from within of something that wants to emerge.
    In the past I would naturally resist change – I think humans tend to do this. Then, I began to have an awareness of an omnipotent presence that had always guided me and taken care of me and this helped me to relax into change a bit more easily.
    Now, change can be trumped by my fear of the dark and the light but I remember that I have community that you spoke of and I have a guiding force beckoning me forward.

    Happy Holidays to you Lily-Ann,

    Dawn Howard Weaver

    • Hello, Dawn …

      It’s very comforting to tune into the connection between ourselves and that omnipotence, isn’t it? Once we learn to trust it and relax into it, we will intuitively know what’s right for us and what to avoid.

      I think that we sometimes have good reason to be wary of the dark … fearing the light, however, is something that I have learned not to do – and like you confirmed, community plays a big part in my ability to rise above that fear. Through my community, I’ve acquired many tools to help me stay grounded and focused in the moment, and for that I’m extremely grateful.

      Thank you for being a part of that community, and for taking the time to comment here. I wish you and yours a blessed “Christmukkah” season!

      Namaste,
      /L.

  7. I love your post Lily-Ann! Yes, building community is a wonderful strategy, even if your immediate community may be your animals, at the time. My strategy is one of acceptance. I often trust that changes are making room for more joy and happiness in my life. Happy Holidays!
    Cheers,
    Erika

    • Hi, Erika …

      Thanks for your kind remarks! Your approach is a great one – and that’s just the exact right attitude for facing change … trusting that it can make room for more joy and happiness. They say that God never closes a door without opening up a window, so if that resonates with you, maybe it can help to add even more strength to your change management strategy.
      My family joyously observes Christmas, and so I thank you for your greetings. I wish the same for you and yours, and hopes for a healthy and prosperous 2014.

      Namaste,
      /L.

  8. I appreciate the post. Like most people I’ve been through a few transitions in my life and I need to go through another one in 2014 to achieve my business goals.

    John Cameron
    Rock Solid Business Coach

    • Hello, John …

      Transitions can be stimulating, as long as we avoid creating roadblocks out of fear and/or stubbornness to sabotage our success. Transitions resistance often does little to ward off the imminent change, but will certainly make it more painful and emotionally trying for the one experiencing it.

      Here’s hoping your next transition delivers you to the success and professional enlightenment that align with your business goals … may 2014 hold great promise for all of us.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment here …

      Namaste,
      /L.

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