Picture yourself as a parent dropping off your toddler at school for the first time . . .
You stand there, fighting back tears as you watch your bundle of joy disappear through the door. You feel powerless, wondering if the incredible bond you had shared would survive your little one’s first taste of independence.
While few visualize their current level of achievement as a ‘bundle of joy’, dealing with separation and growth from change can take a similar emotional toll on even the most resilient and talented performers.
It’s human nature to wrestle with feelings of contentment and security, accepting your current situation as a milder and more tentative form of happiness.
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past 18 months, it’s that change doesn’t wait for tomorrow. And neither should you.
Change Never Sleeps
Bill Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman of Marriott International, has often stated that “Change is to a business what oxygen is to life: in a word, essential.”
Many of us struggle with channeling a “grow or be gone” mentality into our personal development or career progression. Our pace defers to an instinctive need for sense of place and belonging, the promise of tomorrow structured comfortably within a development plan that extends years, even decades, into the future.
The reality is that change never sleeps. It will surface opportunities without the courtesy of even a moment’s notice, challenging you to re-evaluate what matters most, and to adjust your best laid plans accordingly.
Trust me, I know . . . TSHAMRELL arose from great change. The pandemic represented an unexpected opportunity to either pursue my ultimate dreams and aspirations or hold onto a tenuous future with an organization that may or may not have welcomed me in return.
My decision to embrace today and risk an uncertain tomorrow is grounded in applicable experience, optimism, and self-confidence . . . three important factors to consider when faced with an opportunity for change.
There have also been life-lessons to share that might help you on your personal journey . . .
Swimming is Swimming (Even in the Deep End)
The Trifecta of Change (experience, optimism, self-confidence) represents awareness, not deterrence. It is the collective influence of the three that should be used to justify your next step.
Think back to the first time you jumped into the deep end of a pool. Chances are you had just learned how to swim, didn’t have a ton of self-confidence, and the thought of being in water over your head sent your optimism back to the kiddie pool.
But there was enough value left in the qualities of all three to push through that emotional barrier. After you jumped in, you realized swimming is swimming . . . whether you could touch the bottom or not.
The key is to keep improving over time, building confidence through practical experience, and extending optimism beyond your immediate circle to influence future growth.
Think In Small Bites
A spirit of optimism reflects a deep trust in yourself, while continuing to promote trust in others.
What becomes critical is identifying opportunities to track and measure progress. Hope and positivity can fall prey to pessimism and despair, exposing you to unhealthy levels of negativity and fear.
Thinking in small bites or manageable steps allows you to celebrate the process of accomplishment. Recognizing incremental victories bridges the gap between origination and destination, while building emotional momentum capable of generating perpetual positive thinking.
Impulse vs Impulsiveness
Transformative change relies on impulse, an internal drive that pushes “go” and doesn’t let up. Please ensure your reasons for change are rooted in this desire, and not a reflection of an ulterior motive. For example:
I was chatting with a client who is considering branching off and beginning his own firm. A stellar performer with his current firm for almost a decade, his next step up the ladder would involve extensive travel. This doesn’t fit with what he values most: spending time with his family, especially two incredibly adorable young daughters.
When asked how starting a firm fit into his ultimate plan, his response didn’t reflect a life-long dream, an existing client list, or a passionate investment in building something from the ground up.
It was basically an option to avoid infringing on time he could spend with his family.
We then listed aspects he considered key engagers within his current role, followed by obstacles to engagement. The only obstacle was the potential need for travel.
Turns out he was acting on impulse but was also being impulsive, the difference being a follow-up commitment to exploring the pragmatic elements involved with a change. His final direction is still to be determined. At least now we know his direction will align with a genuine desire.
Examine Over Reflect
There is an intuitive reason for change, a purpose for charging out of your comfort zone to create a new, exciting reality. The last thing you want to do is create a mirror image of what once was.
Be cautious of saboteurs . . . emotional connections tethered to the past or a previous path to success.
Instead, examine elements from your experience that carry value moving forward. Your best strategy is to embrace change, not fear it. Remain in the moment, ready to apply learning you glean from incremental experience to maintain consistent growth and achievement
Rely on the cumulative value from your Trifecta of Change: Experience, Optimism, and Self-Confidence.
And when you realize you’re in the deep end, just remember swimming is swimming . . . whether you can touch the bottom or not.