As this New Year gets off to a busy start, I stop to reflect on my change and how to manage that change. The years have taught me a valuable lesson: the way you manage bad change has a direct correlation on how you manage good change. It’s taken many mistakes and shortcomings, but I finally have the confidence and faith to know that regardless of good or bad, change will come and GOD always has my back.
However, there is another facet of change that I continue to struggle with. Although I pride myself on the art of discernment, it is difficult at times to have empathy toward other peoples’ inability to effectively manage their own change. If only I could drop into the heads of others, these two characteristics that help in managing change well – adaptability and flexibility. A former boss once told me that to succeed in business, one should be like a willow tree. Ebb and flow in the stiffest winds but never fall over. Thus many times in life, when change has kicked me in the teeth or made my heart skip a beat, I learned to adapt to the blow of the breeze by bending forward and backward, yet never to fall down or rise too high that I miss the true blessing of the change.
Unfortunately my ability to deal with change does not always translate well to others around me. I’ve found co-workers can have trouble managing their change and subsequently somehow assume that this should be my problem. No matter how I try to stay neutral, people seem to flock to me looking for a sympathetic ear, or perhaps someone who will substantiate their lack of adaptability and flexibility. Hence I often find myself at a crossroads. Do I exhaust my energy and time trying to “fix” what is often their inability to manage their change? Or do I show myself to be a person of few words and even less compassion for their perceived troubles?
Managing other peoples’ change can be exhausting. I recently spent the better part of my afternoon “talking someone off the edge” because they were not willing to accept the fact that they did not control every situation, or have the power to convince their boss they were right and the boss wrong. It’s crazy to think that people will fight to the death over something they cannot control, but when it comes to the real issue, they retreat to the shoulder of others in hopes of gaining relief. For me, finding the balance where I can be passionate without loosing my mind and going off on someone for the sheer ignorance of their actions is a prayer that I pray often, seeking direction.
I still have a way to go; too much of my time is spent in other peoples’ stuff. But to my defense, I have learned to ONLY give one conversation to the task of managing other people’s change. It helps to end the discussion with a clear understanding that this would be the final talk on the subject, and I always give others the reality of two choices: deal with it or remove yourself from the situation!
While I try not to be cold-hearted and distant, I have to set boundaries in order to maintain sanity to manage my own change well. So to end on a high note, if you find yourself in a similar situation, take it from me. Be flexible and adaptable, but don’t bend too much! If you do, you might just find yourself unable to manage your change or anyone else’s…the common thread, Flexible and Adaptable.
The New Year has arrived…and you can’t change that!!!