I recently reflected on how things have changed over the last 12 months as a result of the pandemic with fellow business owners. We explored together how things haven’t just changed at the business level, but in the way we use technology, the way we interact and at the basic level of how we do life.
The way you view change, the way you interact with it, determines whether you grow through it or look to retreat to the more familiar. Reflecting on the pandemic, I am struck by just how the notion of familiarity has all but disappeared. It is almost as if some gigantic glacier has moved through the landscape of our lives and changed it forever.
This Chinese proverb helps us think about how we can react to change:
“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.”
What is going to help you grow?
In my experience change has negative and positive effects within it. What will determine whether we are successful in navigating it will be based on what we focus on. What we focus on, we feed on. If we believe something is negative, we look to feed and justify that point of view and vice versa.
The way you view something alters your perspective and enables you to adapt and adjust to what you are facing. Just as a glacier moving through the landscape may erase what is familiar, it also brings a new landscape to look at, and uncovers resources and materials that you didn’t know were there before, hidden as they were by what was familiar.
The ways we work have been changed. These are changes that took place and have been accepted in just a few months because necessity is the mother of invention. Geography no longer has such a bearing for doing business. The only requirement now being whether you have an internet connection.
The change we have experienced in the last year has been forced upon us. I doubt anyone would have wished for it. Never-the-less there have been amazing advancements as a result. Talking with some of my technology friends I found out that digital advancement has made the sort of progress that would normally be seen in 5-10 years take place in just a few months.
When the winds of change come are you going to look for shelter or adjust your sails to take advantage of the different and new places it can take you?
As restrictions ease, I encourage you to look at the progress you have made through what might have seemed to be adverse circumstances. There will be some things that have threatened to knock you off balance, some things that you are no longer able to do, and amazingly things you would never have thought of doing that are now possible.
Choosing to embrace change empowers us to go beyond what we thought was possible. Change is rarely fatal. What is key is the way we look at change and how it affects us. This will decide whether the outcome is growth or retreat.
Starting a new business in the midst of a crisis wouldn’t have been my first choice. It has been challenging. Yet as I wrestle with the challenges I discover things about myself, things I didn’t know I could do, things I needed to deal with in my own thinking.
Change can seem threatening, yet it is also an invitation. An invitation to take a look at what is possible and perhaps why you resist change, to think about what could happen if you stepped into it. An opportunity to take a risk and explore the new landscape along with the treasure and resources it may offer.
The choice is yours.
“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” Abraham Maslow