It’s kind of ironic how little most people enjoy change yet how eagerly they anticipate the new year and the new beginnings it often holds. But if you think about it most of us do enjoy new things, such as new food in our fridges (rather than moldy or nonexistent), new clothes (rather than those with holes or worn out or completely outdated), new haircuts (so our hair isn’t dragging on the floor), new articles to read and TV to watch (rather than rewatching/rereading all the time), new gifts each birthday and Christmas, and new children for the next generations.
So why have we accepted that some things need to be new or replenished, but we don’t have that same acceptance or openness in other areas of our lives? What can we do to see beginnings and new things as healthy and welcome parts of our lives?
I think one way to help ease the challenge of changes is to exert some control and keep consistent some areas of your life in some ways. Maybe it’s making time to read a book every day. Maybe it’s always having a box or bag in the closet or frozen meal in the freezer of go-to foods for comfort or stressful days. Maybe it’s getting up at a point in time every morning so that you’re able to prepare before the rest of the world is up and going. Maybe it’s shopping at the same stores each week/month. Maybe it’s coffee or drinks with friends and your partner each week/month without fail.
Another thing that can help is to have a schedule. No, it won’t be perfect and sometimes things will get moved around because of changes or new things, but being able to follow it most of the time means that you’ll have some peace knowing what’s coming. It also can give you an opportunity to schedule in “change time”, and be able to work through some of the changes that come your way without feeling all the pressures of the rest of your life.
You know you can’t control everything and that there will be changes in life, and if there are too many changes it can feel like you’re out of control or floundering through life. But with a more open attitude, some go-to’s that remain consistent in your life and a schedule to help you manage your life and the changes that happen, maybe the changes and new things won’t seem as intimidating. How do you manage and navigate your changes and new beginnings?
This week one of the big conversations in the business world has been the revelation that Google+ had “a security hole highlighted the challenge of keeping its small number of users safe” which was discovered back in March. As a result of the security issue, and possibly also as well the fact that it wasn’t ever as popular as other social networks, Google plans to close the network. For some it isn’t a big surprise, and some probably don’t really remember anything about Google+, let alone used it.
But today I don’t want to discuss social networks that aren’t used or the fact that many aren’t surprised it’s closing, I want to talk about something else that we’ve talked about already this year and will talk about more over the next few years and that’s dealing with big changes that affect your business. For some Google+ was just another marketing opportunity, but some had invested quite a bit in it and are really upset that it’s closing. Other businesses are seriously being affected by disruptive businesses who are coming in and upending an industry, one of the most discussed examples being the ride-share companies (i.e. Uber, Lyft etc.) totally changing how the industry (taxis) has historically run. What do you do when things end or change?
This is why you have to be consistently updating your own business, aware of and considering ways you can innovate or transform what you offer, and not rely on one product or service or marketing tool. I don’t recommend trying every option or implementing every innovation or trying to market through every resource, but I strongly advise against only being locked into one option. Yes, there are companies who will survive through the end or change, for instance there are still some companies that sell records and record players (1880’s-1980’s were their prime years), but those companies are few and far between because there’s just not enough demand to sustain many companies.
What can you do to prepare your company for the eventual transformation of your industry and how you do business?
Recently a client I’ve worked with for a long time has rehired an ex employee. While that’s not really a common place activity, it does happen from time to time, and I certainly understand why the client would rehire that individual based on the current employees they have and what that employee used to do for them. As I was chatting briefly with this employee this past week, they brought up some of the things that we had talked about in the past, things that most of the current employees don’t know about. It took me a minute to adjust to talking about those things with them and I didn’t feel totally comfortable with the conversation. Maybe this is something that you can identify with from experiences you’ve had when you’ve reconnected with someone you haven’t seen in several years.
As I was doing some work today my mind meandered through that conversation and those feelings again. I got to thinking about the conversation and thinking back to those conversations years ago and thinking back to the person I was then and the person I am now. They were right, I have grown and changed in the passing years, but it really hadn’t hit me how much until we were having that conversation.
As I sit here writing I’m realizing of how many of the things I do have now that I was hoping for then, even if they don’t look quite like I was thinking they would. This is one of the big reasons why it’s important to stop and reflect sometimes. If this conversation hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be taking this trip down memory lane. I’ve talked about the importance of perspective before, and here I’m reminded of it again. Taking time for looking at life with a different perspective, to review what’s gone on in the past, to really take a hard look at the present, all of these are things that not only can help us get clarity on what the future may hold or where we want our lives to go, it can also give us a big sense of accomplishment and even relief that we’re actually making progress with our lives.
As we start this new month I encourage you to sit down and take a trip back in time and do a little reflecting. Consider how far you’ve actually come. Unbury the dreams that you used to have. Discover how far you’ve come. Make adjustments to head in the direction you want to go. Celebrate your life, your path and the people you’ve got traveling this journey with you. Stop for a moment and let the fog clear from around you so that you can see past, present and future clearly. And then make a decision about how you’re going to move into the next stage of this journey called life.
Lately I’ve been hearing people talk about ends: about the end of the summer, the end of a life, the end of a business, the end of a job, the end of cancer treatments, and the end of a part of a journey. Whether we like it or not endings are part of our lives just like change and taxes. It’s almost easier to think about change than it is endings. And if I’m honest I don’t feel like I’m at the end of anything (except maybe my latest book), I feel like I’m in the middle of many journeys, and maybe that’s how you feel.
But whether we like it or not we do need to think about the end of things from time to time, because that’s how life goes, and with as unpredictable as life is, you don’t know how many days, months or years you’ve got. Sometimes things end simply because we can’t juggle all the balls anymore, or because we need to rest. Endings themselves aren’t evil or wrong, but like change we have to be willing to handle them as they come along, and prepare for them the best we can beforehand.
Even if you’re not ready for things to end, or even to sit down and seriously prepare for things to end, it’s important to take time and at least make some minor preparations, like printing out important numbers and last wishes, and taking time to plan even a little what you would do if your life took a big right or left turn. Where would you go? What would you do? Who could you depend on? Do you have the resources to last 6 months or until you can get back on track? What would be the first 3 things you would do when you reach a personal or professional end?
There are many things an end can be, and many things it doesn’t have to be. Like many things in life they’re only as scary and powerful as we allow them to be. Whether you’re facing an end like the end of your life or the end of the life of a loved one, you’re just facing the end of your ability to sleep any hours you wish, or you’re facing the end of working tirelessly on a project, it’s time to face the question of what’s next, and I encourage you to choose an amazing next step to your life’s journey.
With the Royal Wedding there’s been a lot of talk about changes and that a new era is beginning. I’m all for necessary changes, and I think of all the kingdoms/rulers/presidencies of the world, the Royal Family has managed to navigate the world and lead their country pretty well through the many different ages that they’ve been in charge in England. Parents too have lots of changes to navigate, babies have far different needs than teenagers, so parents are very familiar with the concept of change through the ages. As I was thinking about changes the thing that popped into my head was the phrase that adults say to kids (and other adults) from time to time: “yes, but that was different.”
It’s not an easy lesson for kids to learn (or parents to teach), that different rules apply to different situations, different times and different people, let alone that things could easily have changed between the last situation that was similar and the current one that’s being discussed with the child. It’s an important lesson to learn because it helps children learn to deal with change, to adapt, to plan ahead and to consider all the options and opinions, skills that will serve them well when they’re adults.
It’s really a two-fold lesson though, because it’s a reminder to not judge everyone or every situation the same, and that while you can lean back on past lessons, you have to be open to things being different, even if they look similar. Yes, the Royal Family could easily have said that they wouldn’t go in that direction and Prince Harry had to choose someone more in line with what was expected or tradition. And I can’t say that there isn’t another woman somewhere around the world that would also be a great match for him, but I think that the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex are well suited and can do more to help the world, and the Royal Family move, in a very healthy and prepared direction for the future.
The good news is that even if you’re an adult there’s still time to work on learning life’s lessons and adapting to changes. You don’t make one decision in life that says you’ll never ever learn lessons or never change, you can make a new decision each day on how you’re going to live your life and what you want your future to look like. Don’t let “different” hold you back or scare you, be willing to embrace all that life gifts you.
If you’re subscribed to some of my newsletters you know that I’m working on making some changes. Why? Because I realized that I do a lot of writing, and wanted to give my newsletter subscribers something different than what I do on the blogs. Even if the newsletter writings tend to be shorter than the blogs, it’s still paragraph form writing. Don’t get me wrong, I still love writing and that’s not going to stop anytime soon, but I wanted to offer something different.
The interesting thing about this process of deciding what else I could share about, is that I realized I wanted to do something different too. That yes, the change is meant to benefit my subscribers most, but it’s good for my creative muscles to be doing some different things. It turns out I also look forward to doing the newsletters more, which means not only better insights, but also newsletters that take less time to put together in some cases because I’m more motivated and inspired.
So why am I sharing all this? Because sometimes changes can be good! It’s OK to admit you need a change as the business owner, to encourage your customers to choose the ways they want to work with you that work best for them, and to change the things you offer even if they’re not outdated (yet). It’s partly about being innovative, partly about staying ahead of the competition, and partly about keeping your customers engaged.
Sometimes change is necessary (Facebook data anyone?!) but other times change is just part of who we are and the growing process that each and every one of us go through personally and professionally. There’s nothing wrong with it and it can even be the motivation, inspiration and energizing. Is there change you’ve been debating in your business? If so I encourage you to take steps to make those changes before the end of the week.
As we enter this new month I’m thinking about our new topic of the month and about the whole month of fresh opportunities that lies in front of us. Lots of times we hear that we should be making changes or doing things differently, or we personally feel frustrated or stuck where we’re at and feel we should maybe be doing something different, or we see what’s going on in the world around us and think that we should be doing something different because everyone else is doing something different. It’s healthy to make changes when changes need to be made and it’s good to take some time to experiment and try new things too. But sometimes I think we make changes for the wrong reason or don’t make the right changes.
One important step to take when you’re considering changes is to consider what change options you’ve got, including which are truly feasible and which are either not a good fit for you or not possible at this point of your life. The other thing that I don’t think we take enough time to consider is why we’re considering the change and what we hope to get from the change(s). Asking these questions, especially the second, may show you that the changes you were considering won’t really get you to what you really want. And knowing how much most of us love making changes and going through the change process, why would we bother making changes that won’t get us what we want?
So instead of just saying that you feel like you need to make changes or focusing on the issue, ask yourself first what you’re really wanting, what’s missing or what would help you feel more fulfilled. Once you know what the end game is, you’ll be more prepared to consider what changes really could and should be made, and you’ll be more motivated to work through those changes and get to your goal.
In thinking about Daylight Savings Time that the US adjusted to this past weekend I thought we might talk about the idea of it being time to make changes. I never can quite remember which way the clocks are supposed to go when they switch, I’m very thankful for technology that does it by and large for us now. Sometimes change is like that: we just feel the need to make changes but we’re not really sure which changes to make. So today I thought we’d take a look at some changes you can make if you’re not sure what changes you’re in need of, and until you’re certain of what changes need to be made in your life.
Clean and organize: many of us are blessed to have lots of stuff and lead busy lives, but with lots of stuff and busy lives it doesn’t always leave a lot of time to clean and get organized. Many of us just do the minimal to get by each week and end up one day with a big pile of stuff that needs to be gone through and more dust bunnies than real ones hopping around. Cleaning and organizing is one way to clear out some of the old and make room for the new, a symbolic welcoming of whatever changes your life is bringing.
What you eat: there’s never a bad time to make a decision to eat healthier, and today is no exception. But you don’t just have to change to healthier food, you can choose to change and try new foods and recipes too. There’s nothing wrong with having some go-to foods that you love, but it’s often fun to try new foods and recipes and mix things up a bit. Maybe it will give you the chance to learn a new cooking technique or try an ingredient you’ve always wondered about but never really knew how to put it in a dish, and this would be the chance to do either or both.
Consideration for others: one of the biggest areas of our lives that could use some changes for most of us are the relationships we have and ways that we interact with others. Maybe you’ve gotten in the habit of being on your phone at the dinner table, you think or say really nasty things about the other drivers on the road, you talk with your mouth full, you don’t give your significant other much of your attention, you ignore employees under you or belittle them, or you haven’t made time for making new friends and relationships or learning about other cultures. It’s not about being best friends with everyone but about respect, learning to listen, being open to others being different than you, and doing better at sharing the space we all live in.
What changes are you feeling inspired to make in your life?
The path to success isn’t always an easy one, and sometimes there are things that conspire against people in becoming successful. One of those things for some people is gender. While women have made great strides over the years, many women still struggle to be successful and have difficulty growing into positions that have been traditionally held by men. With this Thursday being International Women’s Day I thought we’d talk about one of the steps that has been key to women having more success: change.
Off and on over the past two months we’ve taken a look at some important steps that can help anyone get to success, and in many cases if you want to be successful there has to be changes made. In many cases what got you to point “A” won’t get you to point “B” let alone point “M.” And the only way that women can lead more companies or be paid better or be more respected or not feel so much pressure based around their gender is change.
There are many reasons why we shy away from change including that it can be difficult, in many ways we like what we’ve got, we’re not sure the changes will really be worth it, and we’re not sure we have the capabilities to change. Change can also be challenging because even if someone wants to change, the changes they want to make will affect others and others don’t necessarily agree with those changes. A prime example is politics, one group wants certain changes to happen because they think they would be very helpful, while the other group definitely doesn’t want to see those changes put into action. What’s one to do?
In the case of personal change the first person to think about is you. As long as the changes you plan to make won’t hurt yourself, your kids or partner or immediate family and friends, then you should go ahead and work on those changes. If the changes you want to make will have an affect others beyond your immediate scope of influence then you have to think about if there will be more wins as a result of the changes or if the future won’t be a better place as a result. In the case of women being able to gain positions of power in companies or getting paid better or being more successful, I would say that in most situations it’s a good thing, especially with regard to the pay aspect because there are more single moms than there are single dads who are trying to care for a family on only one income. As far as success goes, I think anyone should be able to reach whatever level of success they dream of and are capable of achieving. I don’t think we should limit someone’s success based on their culture or gender or if they have a family or not.
Are you so focused on seeing things in only one way that you can’t see the benefits of change, especially when it comes to success? If so I encourage you to open your mind and do some research about the people, both men and women, who are achieving success today throughout the world. You may even learn something that can help you be more successful.
This week I’ve been seeing some limos on the roads and talked with a friend who was looking into limos for her daughter’s prom and it got me thinking about the taxi/limo/Uber/Lyft etc. debate. I do support public transportaion, I think it’s great if we can travel in a way that looks out for the world that we all share. I do personally own a car and like driving. I have taken people to the airport or train station, but really appreciate when they find a ride back from there. I definitly think there are some benefits to having someone else do the driving, especially when you’re not familiar with the area. We’ve talked about the people side of this topic, let’s talk about the business side. Do all of these vehicle businesses provide a service? Yes. Historically is this a financially successful industry? Yes. Has there been competition ever since the wheel was developed and people started giving/getting rides to/from each other? Yes. OK, so we’ve established that this is not only a business category, but really an industry that has been around for quite some time.
Let’s talk about the debate. Yes, I can see the frustration from the side of the taxi/limo businesses because now the competition has greatly increased and they’ve lost a good portion of the control over the employees and the services that are provided. However, and here’s the reason that I don’t really side with the taxi/limo businesses in this discussion, there really hasn’t been anything different done in the industry. The premise is still exactly the same: people are contacting car/van drivers for rides to and from places. The two things that have really changed is that people can now order a ride through an app on their phone and there are a lot more drivers available.
If we look at it from an overall business perspective I would say that the industry as a whole is better off financially and there are more people than ever requesting rides. What the taxi/limo businesses really have to be mad about is the fact that they refused to advance like the world was asking them to and needed them to, and now they’re trying to catch up. I don’t know if they ever will but it’s a good warning to the rest of the industries (and businesses) that haven’t caught up with the advances of technology or the networking that’s available or the way people want more freedom and flexibility in their lives. If you’ve been avoiding some changes or next steps in your business, I encourage you to review those changes or steps over the last few days of this month and be ready to start March strong.