As an Organization Development and change consultant some of the most used words in my day-to-day business language are ‘change’, ‘transition’ and ‘experiment’. I am now feeling the impact of those words directly, as I am going through several personal changes myself.
I made some logistical changes, such as moving house over the summer, but I also took an important decision towards changing my life and work style in 2020. All of these changes were self-produced as I was in the ‘driving seat’. I was the one who wanted to sell the house or to give up my current job. Still, this doesn’t mean I don’t feel scared, excited and anxious at the same time.
I remember the last night in our family house before selling it as a sleepless night. I kept ruminating over things : ‘was it really a good decision, why move when you really don’t have to…’. When changes are imposed by others or the environment, you can at least blame them for it, but we (me and my husband) started all this madness proactively.
Let’s face it, complaining feels good at times.
The move itself went fine. I focused on short term actions, like unpacking boxes. That gave me energy to move on from the melancholic moment of saying good-bye to every room from my old house. Despite the initial drama, my kids were extremely easy about it. If you want to know the meaning of the words ‘move with the change’ and ‘experimentation’ just observe a four-year-old.
Considering the tagline of my 2019 book: ‘Dare to dream. You can have it all: family, career and…life’, you would expect that I can make life changes easily.
However good things never come easy. I too feel unsure, emotional and I get that funny knot in my stomach when the changes become real. I comfort myself with the thought that the emotions and fears are what makes us human.
Real empathy for people struggling with the impact of changes comes only after you felt the real pain yourself’
Luckily I built a strong support network of family, friends and mentors. About a month ago I had one of those moments again. I received the mutual agreement employment termination letter. I knew what was in it, but it was the finality of it that made me scared, almost gasping for air.
In a knee jerk reaction I sent apps to three old friends I haven’t spoken to in months. I wrote: ‘Help, I don’t know what to do!!!’. Their call back became my mask of oxygen. I took the advice of one of those three friends and tried not to think about the changes during my vacation . I spent a week climbing the mountains and living the moment in the nature. I felt strong again and ready to continue and that was thanks to the help of those three friends and to my supportive little family.
I was reminded again of the favorite quote of my friend and colleague Vincent Docherty …’to be an effective OD consultant…you must be able to eat your own dog food’, which means to feel the consequence of the advice, theory and models you suggest to your clients.
Wisdom comes from the humility to underestimate yourself and overestimate your conversation partner.
How do you experience personal changes? and Who would you call when you are low in the change ‘curve’ and almost gasping for air?
Looking forward to your comments.