“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”
James Belasco and Ralph Stayer in Flight of the Buffalo (1994)
CHANGE. She is an elusive, murky mistress. Many people would say they fear her – but I disagree. Back in 1995 I left the love of my life in California and moved to New York with a just a couple of dollars in my pocket to pursue a career in theatre. For a few weeks, I spent my nights sleeping on my friend Tony’s floor and I spent my days trying to make change happen in my life – thinking back, I don’t believe I was fearful – I was uncomfortable, but I knew that if I was to change, action had to be taken.
Change is not about fear; it’s about how uncomfortable it makes us. That discomfort is what keeps us stagnant and immobilizes every one of us. Discomfort in the pounds we could lose but don’t because it’s easier not to. Discomfort in the volunteer work we’ve wanted to do but have yet to invest the time or effort in. Discomfort in withholding words or thoughts when you should be sharing them. I believe the longer we live, the more we find solace in settling for what feels convenient, and in turn, we hesitate to “stir the pot.”
I’m writing about change this week because some of you know I’ve recently had some major personal and professional shifts in my life; and although they may have been difficult, I am sincerely grateful that they have happened.
As I look back to the events leading up to those changes, I know there are things personally & managerially that I had done to the best of my ability. However, there were certainly other things I could have done much better. In retrospect, it becomes glaringly obvious that I didn’t stir the pot in recent years simply because it was more comfortable not to make the changes that my gut knew had to be made. The amazing and emotionally taxing thing about change is sometimes she catches you off guard, and comes around when you least want or expect her to. You need to make the necessary change happen whether you like it or not.
So in spite of my discomfort, I invite change as my new houseguest and I intend to learn from her. The major challenge? Putting “Could’ve-would’ve-should’ve” behind you, and trying instead to look forward. My personal challenge for the next year will be to not dwell on the distress associated with change but instead to bask in the light of its promise and positivity. I await her with baited breath and eyes wide open, confident that when she arrives she’ll bring something amazing with her.
The Secret Ingredient: Change is good.