Do you ever wonder how you will be able to deal with even one
more change in your day? Welcome to the new work reality. The
50 years between 1970 and 2020 we will experience change equal
to the last 500 years. Change is not new my friends, it’s the
rate of change that is so challenging.
Change is inevitable in this fast-paced world. Some major
changes in our lives relate to health, jobs, relocation, a new
boss or coworker, death of a loved one, or divorce. Minor
changes could be the weather, your hair- style, new eyeglasses
or contacts. These minor changes may seem insignificant, but
they affect us every day.
British musician and composer John Lennon said, “Life is what
happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” French
novelist Victor Hugo wrote, “The future has several names. For
the weak, it is impossible. For the faint-hearted, it is the
unknown. For the thoughtful and valiant, it is ideal.” And Will
Rogers, noted American author, actor, and down-home philosopher,
said, “Those were great old days! But darn it, any old days are
great old days, even the tough ones. After they are over you can
look back with great memories.” So much change has occurred in
such a relatively short time!
Participants in my workshops sometimes complain when I ask them
to change seats and find new partners for an exercise. They
groan, “Do we have to?” or “I like my space!” These activities
challenge their comfort zones. Yet others thrive on change and
love to be paired with new people. Courageous people face the
fear of change.
Be prepared for change. Flexible people will succeed better. A
classic example of flexibility is in the popular fable, The Oak
And The Reed. A proud oak tree
grew on the banks of a stream. For a hundred years it withstood
the buffeting of the winds. Then one day a violent storm felled
the great oak with a mighty crash into the swollen river and
carried it toward the sea. The oak tree came to rest on the
shore where some reeds were growing. The tree was amazed to see
the reeds standing upright. “How did you manage to weather that
terrible storm?” the Tree asked. “I have stood up against many a
storm, but this one was too strong for me.” “That’s just it,”
replied the Reed. “All these years you have stubbornly pitted
your great strength against the wind. You were too proud to
yield a little. I, on the other hand, knowing my weakness,
didn’t resist. The harder the wind blew, the more I humbled
myself, so here I am!”
Start with a little change at a time. Alter just a few small
habits daily. For example, listen to a new radio station, watch
a new TV program, or read a different newspaper. Go out to lunch
with a new friend or different coworker. Raise your standards
when you want to change. It’s time to modify the limited belief
that you’ve always done it a certain way before, and therefore
you can’t change.
We cannot change a habit by simply talking. We must take
action. If you want your life to improve, you must adjust your
Each time I want to make a change in an aspect of my behavior,
I do the following exercise. I put 10 pennies in my right pocket
in the morning. Each time I notice I am using a new skill or
breaking an old habit, I move a penny to my left pocket. At the
end of the day I count the pennies in each pocket and review the
actions I took to change my habit. This is an easy exercise. The
results are obvious, the rewards uplifting. I stopped using the
expression “you know” by doing this. It works!
The best advice we can give future generations, our children or
coworkers, is to constantly upgrade our skills. Keep your resume
updated and be flexible. When my children were young, I met a
little girl named Susie who was afraid of bearded men. Since she
was starting nursery school her mom took her to meet the mothers
and children in the car pool, to prepare her so she wouldn’t be
afraid. Wouldn’t you know it, on day one, one mother became ill
and sent her husband to pick up the children. He had a full-
grown beard. Even though Susie’s mom tried to prepare her,
change is constant and inevitable, and Susie had to confront her
fear. We must all learn to adapt to change. Susie surely did.
She grew up and married a man with a full beard.
When you find yourself doing well and are satisfied in a
personal or business-related situation, challenge yourself and
ask how you can do better. People lose out when they think they
have achieved their goals and don’t need to improve or prepare.
The next time a change occurs in your department or at home
instead of complaining or looking at it as a negative, look for
the opportunity. It is not always so obvious. It does take
long at times. A wonderful group of health care engineers
shared with me that one of the biggest opportunities in their
department is that increased job tasks have increased their
sense of responsibility especially in the decisions of the
Please share with me any opportunities that have happened to
you at work because of some recent change. I will send you a
motivational gift in return. I look forward to being with you
again. Please remember to enjoy the journey.
E-mail a story describing a time when you prepared your team
for change. Include your snail mail address and I’ll send you
an incentive gift showing my appreciation.
About the Author
Joyce Weiss shows leaders easy ways to boost the bottom line. Be Direct with Respect is a fresh approach to increase morale. She is the author of Full Speed Ahead: Become Driven by Change and
Take the Ride of Your Life! Shift Gears for More Balance, Growth, and Joy Joyce has been quoted in USA TODAY, INC, Chicago Tribune, Selling Power, and other national magazines. Joyce can be reached at
1-800-713-1926, Joyce@Joyceweiss.com or www.Joyceweiss.com. Visit www.tipstobehappy.com for free weekly reports on easy ways to add humor and balance at work and home.