Something that happened more than a few years ago now came to my mind this morning. I once sat across the desk from a big man who owned the small business I was working for and he said to me, “You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about you it’s that you adapt well to change.” It took me back at first. I actually have always HATED change, and loved it a little, but only when it was change by choice, not when it was forced upon me. (I am the most control freakish free spirit you’ll ever meet. 🙂 ) Remembering that conversation got me to thinking….
There’s a funny thing about the definition of change. It only defines the manner in which something is made different in the future from in the past, not necessarily that it is made better or made worse, and you know, nothing in the word’s definition speaks to its inevitability either. Change is certain, right? Nothing stays the same. Some change is just a natural progression. Other change is the result of an interference in the natural progression.
Like all words, change has a connotation and it’s a connotation that is different to everyone. Some people hear those five letters together and feel inspired, feel positive, feel excited about the possibilities. Others hear them and feel uncomfortable, anxious and unsure, generally because they recognize that not all change is good change.
Want to know what it meant to me sitting across the desk from that big man? It meant that he was going to change something and that, as usual in my world, it meant that he was going to change something that specifically impacted ME because he knew that I would easily adapt to it when others, perhaps, wouldn’t. It happened over and over in my work experience in that place and in others. My adaptability meant that when something needed to be made different, I was the one who was removed, rearranged or reassigned. Boy, did I get tired of that change, tired enough that the whole connotation of the word for me became less positive over time. I began to think of my adaptability less as a good trait and more as a vulnerability that was going to perpetually be exploited. It began to feel unfair that I had to change because others wouldn’t be as open to it. I was constantly shifted around and others weren’t being given the opportunity to grow more adaptable. I hated that. I began to rebel against it. I became less flexible and more resistant when people tried to push change on me.
Moral of the story? While change is inevitable, there is a HUGE difference between inspiring it and asserting it or imposing it. Ever try to force someone into change and get frustrated at their resistance? Try to change something that you don’t actually have control over? You can BE the change and INSPIRE change in your world without DICTATING change, and avoiding the dictatorship makes all the difference in how people will react. If it’s true in your world, it’s true in the world.