How to manage change
Today I want to talk about change, and how to manage change. The only long term constant in the universe, and something I’ve written rather extensively about over the years. Despite my understanding that change is so prevalent overtime, and that embracing it as much as possible generally leads to great improve of self and situation. I still find myself hesitant to it. Even trying to avoid it from time to time.
Why is this?
Plainly put; change is uncomfortable at best, and excruciatingly painful at worse. Yes, change is growth; a challenge. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This is all lovely in theory to someone who is interested in growing and becoming a better version of themselves. But that doesn’t change the fact that enduring the process is rather unenjoyable.
Just the other day I was listening to a podcast talking about why someone would be crazy enough to take the role of president. As for someone who is already rich and powerful the negatives far outweigh the positives. One speaker suggested there had to be one driving positive reason that far outweighed ALL the negatives. So let’s try and find some a few positive aspects of change that can outweigh the negatives. In hopes of better embracing what is inevitable.
Today I have a few stories to share today with you. to help you understand why embracing change is so necessary, how brutal and sudden change can be at time, and finally how facing change head on can immensely benefit you.
The successful accept change
Years ago for a short time I had the opportunity to work for an aggressively successful and growing start up company. They grew exponentially while I was there. They continued to do so after I left and went on to sell for 9 figures. During that time I worked directly under one of the founders on the sales team. He worked 7 days around the clock, expecting similar resolve from us. He was also willing to mentor, provide support and guidance to whomever showed the interested.
One quote I remember him sharing with me over a lunch one day, was “that which separates the successful from the unsuccessful, is the success do what they need to, even if they don’t want to”.
At the time, I went through periods of grinding at this job, and putting in 110%. But I was also stuck on the concept of the 4 hour work week and trying to find ways to work less. I wasn’t able to accept I needed to change my mindset and work ethic enough to match this opportunity. Eventually I lost interest, was fed up with being ‘overworked’ and left. If I had changed my mindset and continued with this company, I may have earned myself 5 or 6 figure pay out when the company was acquired by another large company.
The strong manage change
The same manager also shared another story with me throughout my time at that same company that resonates with the topic of change. This tragic story highlights just how sudden and brutal change can be. I believe the lesson to take away from this story is that we often cannot control the change that happens throughout our life. But that we must control how we react to the change, and how we manage ourselves through it.
In his younger years, this manager competed at a high level in a martial art. In an Olympic level trial, prior to a match one of his team mates learned his long term girlfriend had just committed suicide. He learned this the day of his match. The day that would determine a future he had been working towards much of his life. I’m really not sure there is worse news that learning a love one is no longer with us. To most this would completely devastate; debilitating most beyond being able to perform. But this man knew that he could not let events out of his hands take control over him. He pulled himself together and was able to go into the match.
I cannot remember the outcome; whether he won or lost. But I am still in awe at the mental strength of this man to postpone grieving and still perform when he needed to. Some might consider this heartless. But I would disagree. There is a time and place to deal with ones emotions, but the strong and successful aren’t governed by their emotions. They respond to manage change, rather than react to it.
The man had no control over change of such a degree. But he was able to deal with how he responded to the change that was thrust upon him.
The smart benefit from change
Finally, I have a personal and very recent story of how I embraced the discomfort of change to seriously improve my situation. Ultimately benefitting from change. As I approach the end of my first year teaching English in China, I must make a plan for my next contract.
As a Canadian passport holder with years of experience, and a clear complexion. I hold a decent amount of weigh in the job market. I had looked at positions with an international school which is a serious pay increase from my current public position. Almost doubling my salary in some cases. After thinking about it, I came to the conclusion I didn’t want to deal with the discomfort of changing jobs. transferring VISAs and risking moving from a comfortable school to an unknown one seemed scary.
I was about to re-sign for another year with my current company, which included a decent raise. At the last minute an opportunity came across my plate. It was nearly doubling my current salary, in a great part of town and at a Canadian themed international school. I decided to do an interview just for shits. I was offered the job, and after some consideration realized I would be crazy not to take this job and improve my situation because I feared change. There are some discomforts of having to switch my VISA over. And I will have to readjust to a new school. But this switch will expand my network, my skill set as a teacher and allow me to crank up my savings rate even further while being out here.
How can you change your life?
Life is constantly changing, we cannot control it. What we can control is how we react to situations and events as they change. And how we capitalize on the change. The odd time we do have the opportunity to cause the change in our life. Being fearless enough to jump at opportunities can bring all sorts of benefits.
Be cognizant of these realities of life. Always keep an open eye and mind to what might be available for you. Remember you can’t control the weather, but your attitude toward it.
If you’ve got a personal story of how you manage change, I would love to hear it in the comments. If you took a leap for something and changed your situation like I did with my job, please share below.
As always, if you think this message would be of interest to someone you know, please share it!