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Change: Friend or Foe?

Guest blog by Nicolle Germain, MBA.

In the spirit of Halloween next week, much like a horror movie or haunted house, the word “CHANGE” can be a frightening word.

But it is a word not to be feared. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, often the greatest learning experiences come from moments when we are pushed to move outside our comfort zones to “scary”, unknown places.

Humans are innately adaptive. If mankind didn’t embrace change, innovation, and new ideas, then we’d likely be carrying around cavemen clubs still, instead of iPads and Smart Phones.Change: Friend or Foe?

There are many pros to the familiar and avoidance of change, but also cons. Some of the cons may be that we get stuck in a rut, think less creatively, we don’t challenge ourselves to grow and think in new ways, develop new skills, and we can harbour a low self-esteem. The list can go on and on about how avoiding change can be bad for many aspects of your life.

Everyone experiences and embraces change in different ways. Some of us are thrill-seekers, searching out the latest, greatest experience that will push our limits. While others, are more cautious or nervous with the emotions and differences change brings to our lives. There is nothing wrong with either path, but I challenge you on this thought…

When you think back on your life, probably some of the greatest experiences you’ve had would not have occurred without your friend (or foe)  ‘change’. Change is vast, complex, and varies throughout our lives. Some changes are natural life steps (marriage), while others (job changes) are decisions with major learning curves. Some changes take you to new cities, introduce you to new people and may affect more than just yourself. Many changes (health concerns) are out of your control, while some are big and gutsy (starting a business), and others are small and mundane (eating at a new restaurant).

The bottom line, experiencing change takes courage and an open mind. You might not be able to control all the changes in your life, but you can control your attitude and how you let it affect you.

Change can be our friend, here are a few tips that will help you keep an open mind:

  1. Change can be daunting. Break down a change into small bits and pieces so it’s more manageable. Set achievable targets, timelines and hold yourself accountable.
  2. Use your support system. Whether it is a change in your personal or professional life, rely on your network for support, ideas, experience sharing and as a source to bounce ideas off of and to lean on.
  3. As the saying goes…change is inevitable. Embrace change and your outlook towards it will be drastically different. See it as an opportunity, not a threat.
  4. Celebrate the success and enjoy the benefits change offers. You will enjoy the process of change a lot more if you see the many positives it can bring to you.
  5. Look for the learning opportunities in the challenges that present themselves to you! You will be amazed at how you can grow as a person if you see change as a hurdle, not an obstacle.

photo credit: Shannon K via photopin cc

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