Back to School
As the “hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer” come to an end, you’ll likely be experiencing your own version of the back-to-school energy that so colours this season across North America.
A number of you may have children or students returning to the classroom or university. Others have graduates establishing themselves in the workplace. And, certain readers will be considering what studies are next for you. Either way, I hope you’re entertaining some ideas about how to grow and develop across the fall – including how you can apply your special talents to positively changing a situation at (and/or outside of) work…
Continuous Improvement Is a Mindset
Taking our cue from nature, She inherently knows not to stay in one state for any length of time, but rather to continuously unfold. May I suggest how critical it is in business to follow Her lead?
For, I’m sure your workplace represents the “new normal” of trying to keep ahead of (or at least apace with) hyper-speed operating conditions plus super-intense customer and marketplace expectations. Ongoing upheaval is the daily name of the game. In such an aggressive climate, it would be extremely easy to see ourselves as victims – tossed around on the raging seas without so much as an oar to direct the ship.
As a result, a “woe-is-me” mindset is very understandable when faced with constant revolution. All I’m asking is: Can we agree it wouldn’t eventually be an influential stance? What if, instead, you were to choose a proactive frame of mind where you seek out opportunities to tweak, enhance or even dramatically alter some aspect of how you navigate your day? This could involve process improvement or shifting your roles and responsibilities. How would such an upbeat attitude affect your sense of control? I’d have to suspect positively! In so doing, you’re seizing the reins of power over your work.
The Top Ten List
Yes, the active decision to take charge of every part of your life is really a way of being. But it needs to be a way you adopt. You must consciously determine whether you want to feel like “they” are forever doing it “to you” or whether you want to own your career. Like it or not, you’re in command of the cards you play.
You get to choose, for you’re responsible for your life. In that sense, I encourage you to consider this month’s Top Ten list as my challenge to possibly one of more of your thoughts or opinions about change and what is called in customer-driven quality circles “continuous improvement”:
- You choose your perspective (about change or any subject) at every moment – whether you do this deliberately or by default.
- Decide for yourself if upheaval is to be feared or relished; it’s up to you.
- Resolve whether change needs to feel painful or whether it teaches you lessons that make you stronger.
- Change is continuous; it never ends.
- Change is neither good nor bad; it just is.
- Allow that resistance is a (first) very natural and human response. It’s OK to experience your feelings when stressed (and any time, actually).
- Grant yourself permission to not always enjoy being moved out of comfort zones.
- Recognize that every change (even a beneficial one) costs somebody something.
- Everyone has their own speed for coming to terms with new situations.
- Allow for the endings and losses which change produces – for failure to do so will negatively lengthen moving through your difficult emotions.
In promoting a productive attitude toward upheaval in business (and life), my hope is you will reframe your reality by choosing to see change as natural and constant. Rather than be overwhelmed, how about holding it as a chance to grow and renew?
What if absence of change was a sign of stagnation? Back to today’s and tomorrow’s workplace, I’m sure you see how negativity like “It’s not my problem” or “Everybody else can change, but I don’t have to” won’t get you very far.
For today, let me leave you with these inspirations from great leaders:
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” (John F. Kennedy)
“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” (Sir Winston Churchill)
“There are those who look at things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” (Robert Kennedy)