Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes…

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As the old saying goes, if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change how you think about it.

Some people love change. I mean, really love it. The fast pace, the uncertainty, the chance to problem solve and break new ground…they really, REALLY love it.

In my experience, these people are few and far between. Most people hate change and just keep on hating it until they get used to the “new world.” Throughout my career, I have experienced change times three. Centralization, and de-centralization a year later. Focus on growth today, but tomorrow we’re going to shrink and focus on what we do best. Today, we are forging a new culture for Company X, but if you wait until next week (or maybe tomorrow), we’ll be right back to the way we’ve always done it.

Real change takes time. Partly because fundamental change takes time to really take hold and be adopted fully. But part of the time it takes to change is really about getting people on board. The group driving the change needs to fully explain the new direction and why a new direction is needed, but individuals also have a responsibility to think differently about change. I think most people – myself included – need to see change as an opportunity…a good thing. And only individuals can change their own mindset.

How do you view change? When you are faced with change, what is your reaction? How could you look at change differently?

We all need to find our way through the maze of change we face. Because nothing endures but change. So when change becomes too much, and we think we can’t do it, we need to learn how to take a different approach…change how we think about.

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Choices

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Life is all about choices.

Some choices are forced upon us. Say you have a disease that can be treated but the cure may be worse than the disease itself. Technically you have a choice, but in situations like this, the choice is often clear.

Some choices are made for us. If the government decides to pay for a new study – say a study of the health damage caused by peanut butter chip cookies – your tax dollars will pay for that, whether you believe peanut butter chip cookies have an inherent health risk or not. True, you have the option to protest or vote differently in the next election, but at the end of the day, somebody will get paid to outlaw peanut butter chip cookies, and you will have another choice to make: remain a law-abiding citizen or go to the black market for peanut butter chips.

Some choices can be strongly influenced by your friends. If your entire group of friends is going to a party, chances are that you will end up going too. Yes, you can absolutely choose not to go, if you are cool with hanging out alone Saturday night, binge-watching “New Girl” on Netflix.

But it’s the choices that you – and you alone – have to make that can be the most challenging. I’m not referring to “Do I wear my black shirt or blue tank top…” or “Should I paint the kitchen yellow or white?” kinds of choices. I’m talking about the bigger ones. The life-altering changes like, “Do I quit my job?” or “Should I leave my wife?” or “Should I have a child?” or “Should I pick up and move cross-country on a whim?”

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to make these decisions. Some people pray for answers, some people draw up lists of pros and cons, some people flip a coin. I personally am a “researcher.” I try to gather as much information as I possibly can, play out all the possible (and sometimes even the improbable) outcomes in my head, get input from those I trust on the topic, then make a considered decision, making what I think is the best choice, based on what I know at that time.

Sometimes I’m right; other times I’m wrong. And still other times – happily few and far between, thanks to a little luck – I’m REALLY wrong. But in the end, the challenge of choice is the price you pay for freedom. I’m glad that I have as many choices in life as I do, and I will live with the consequences, good and bad.