A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the beach watching the waves flow in and out. I found the rhythm of the waves calming and comforting. It was a constant ebb and flow that meshed with my heart and was a soothing sound to my ears. I found myself breathing in unison with the rhythm of the waves. In and out, in and out. As I watched the waves, it occurred to me that with its ebb and flow it brought change. Constant change.
Every time the water flowed up onto the shore it brought sand, shells, wood, and other items from the lake onto the shore. Each time the water flowed in, it moved the sand forward, changing the surface of the shoreline. Each time the water flowed back into the lake it took sand, shells, wood, and other items from the shoreline with it. Each time the water flowed back into the lake it forever changed the surface of the shoreline.
As I watched the shoreline change, I thought about the changes in our lives. How we continually change throughout our lives. The changes associated with growing older, from childhood, facing the changes in our bodies, and in developing our minds to when we are in the second half of our lives facing the other side of our changing bodies and our declining minds.
There is a constant that happens every day of our lives and that constant is change. Change in the form of new beginnings and endings, and of opportunities and challenges. Sometimes these changes bring elation, sometimes they bring sadness, and I have to say, for me, that lots of the time change just brings on stress!
Writer Peter Fiske shared in Science Magazine1 that there are four steps to change in our personal and professional lives. They are; denial, resistance, exploration and commitment. Some steps, we go through quickly other steps might take some time to work through. There are entire systems of therapy created around dealing with the changes we face in our lives.
In the business world there are programs, philosophies, and jobs around change, change in systems and change within organizations. These go under the heading of - Change Management. Change management has four core principles: understand change, plan change, implement change and communicate change. These principles and the associated steps are what Henrieta and I share when working with leaders and teams. They sound simple, but there is a lot of depth to each one of them.
As I was sitting on the beach watching the water flow in and out, listening to the sounds of the waves, feeling relaxed and connected with nature, I realized that some of what I was experiencing could be applied during times that I am struggling with change. I can sit and listen to the constant beating of heart. Deeply breathe in and out in a smooth rhythm, and with each breath let my mind flow around my thoughts and feelings. Just as the shoreline changed with each wave, my thoughts and feelings can guide my actions, moving me forward with understanding, acceptance, and clarity.
· Think of a change that affected you recently. How did you react to it?
· What are some of the ways that you deal with change?
1Coping With Change By Peter Fiske Jan. 7, 2000 - https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2000/01/coping-change