ChangeCurrent AffairsPeopleReflectionUncategorizedApril 5, 20220Change Really Has Changed

It’s been almost 6 months since Change From the Inside Out was pub­lished. And it feels very dif­fer­ent than 6 months post-pub­li­ca­tion for my oth­er books.  For one thing, I’m still get­ting asked to write arti­cles and do pod­casts about it (here’s a pod­cast I did recent­ly where I thought the hosts asked great ques­tions); I’m being inter­viewed on two more pod­casts lat­er this week.

Why the inter­est, and why now? 

I believe it’s because change is on every­one’s mind now in a way it nev­er has been before. The pan­dem­ic ripped the lid off our expec­ta­tions about change. Dur­ing the first cou­ple of months of the pan­dem­ic, in the spring of 2020, we all expe­ri­enced so many changes that we would have believed, pre-pan­dem­ic, could nev­er hap­pen. All schools closed. Mil­lions of peo­ple work­ing remote­ly. No live sport­ing events or con­certs. Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple sud­den­ly ill or dying.

And then, as 2020 and 2021 rolled on with no end in sight for the pan­dem­ic, it seemed to cre­ate an envi­ron­ment that allowed oth­er changes to hap­pen. For exam­ple, there were the huge waves of demand for racial jus­tice first cat­alyzed by the George Floyd mur­der but car­ried for­ward by the wider recog­ni­tion of crimes against peo­ple of col­or over­all. In response, many orga­ni­za­tions have increased their focus on cre­at­ing a more diverse work­force and fig­ur­ing out how to estab­lish more equi­table and inclu­sive poli­cies. Big changes (per­haps not big enough, but a step in the right direction…)

And now, as the pan­dem­ic seems to be shift­ing into a long-term “endem­ic” phase, most orga­ni­za­tions are strug­gling with how, and whether, to ask their employ­ees to come back to the office for work.

No won­der we’re all tired…

One thing I learned, when writ­ing about change, is that most of us are wired to see change — espe­cial­ly change imposed on us from out­side — as a threat and a dan­ger. Giv­en that, it’s safe to assume that most of us feel like we’ve been under con­stant threat on some lev­el for the past two years. So, here are three things you can do take care of your­self dur­ing this time of unre­lent­ing change:

  • Lean into some things that feel the same

When every­thing around you seems to be chang­ing at light­ning speed, the most relax­ing and reju­ve­nat­ing thing, some­times, is sim­ply to focus on some­thing that feels famil­iar. This can be as sim­ple as a cozy dish that you’ve always liked to eat, or spend­ing time with an old friend who knows and loves you just as you are. When I feel over­whelmed by change, I love to hang out and cud­dle with my hus­band (so sol­id), or walk in the huge old for­est sur­round­ing our house.

  • Ask your­self, when a change comes: “How can I make this eas­i­er and more rewarding?”

When we’re tired of things chang­ing, our self-talk about the next new thing that comes along tends to be along the lines of, “Oh my god, this is going to be awful — it’s going to be hard, and strange, and I won’t be able to do X any­more.” In oth­er words, we focus on all the ways this new thing is going to be dif­fi­cult, cost­ly, and weird. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, think­ing about it this way just makes it hard­er to do.  So, shift your think­ing about the change: start get­ting curi­ous about what you could do to make it eas­i­er, and how it might actu­al­ly ben­e­fit you.

  • Cut your­self some slack.

Most of us aren’t wired for change — and almost no one is wired for this quan­ti­ty and speed of change. We do need to re-wire our­selves, because I hon­est­ly believe this lev­el of change is now nor­mal. But that does­n’t mean we can’t be nice to our­selves in the process of com­ing to terms with this new real­i­ty. Rather than beat­ing your­self up for feel­ing exhaust­ed and con­fused, acknowl­edge that it’s a legit­i­mate response to the past cou­ple of years. It is tough. AND you can learn to be change-capable.

We’re all in this together…and human beings are remark­ably resilient.



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