Change. If you’re anything like me, you’re not a huge fan. Whether in business or life, change, for the most part, has a tendency to make me feel uncomfortable, insecure and sometimes just plain worried about what’s going to happen. Am I being too transparent here?
Now, there are some changes that I love and anticipate. The changing season bring the coming of winter and the hope for … snow. I miss you Tahoe! Spring brings the excitement of God’s paint palette being renewed with colors. Am I sounding like a Hallmark card?
And while change is inevitable, it’s not always acceptable—at least by those who resist its potential sting. I think that’s why so many of us struggle with it. We’ve experienced how painful change is and don’t want to feel it again. So when change is in the air, I think you should focus on these few things:
- How comfortable are you? – Comfort, while nice most of the time, can cause us to become complacent. The military has done a considerable amount of studies on muscle memory. Special Forces spend hours a day on a five-second drill of taking a knife away from someone. The moment they take it away, they give it back, and then do it over again. Eventually, the mind no longer needs to focus on the task because the muscles automatically take the knife without the brain needing to process what’s happening. How many things are similar to this in your life?
- How good are things? – When life is good, we hate change. The question is: Are things the best they can be? If not, maybe get a little uncomfortable. If things could be better, what would that look like? What are the steps to make it happen?
- How bad are things? – Sometimes, even when we are stressed to the max, we will stay right there in the middle of it. For some reason, we convince ourselves the pain and discomfort is less than the pain and discomfort of fixing the problem. If you’re here, take some time to sit down and run through the same questions asked above? Then, weigh those against not doing anything at all.
- What can you change for fun? – A friend of mine is actually quite comfortable with little non-fatal changes. I will find a salad I like for lunch, and then I’ll frequent that restaurant day-after-day. She is constantly looking for something new and exciting to try for lunch. Sometimes, you just gotta change it up. Don’t allow yourself to get in a rut. If you find yourself doing the same thing, even though it may not be boring to you, make yourself do something else just for the pure enjoyment of non-stressful conflict. (And the amiables said, “There’s no such thing!”)
Change doesn’t have to come only when you’re stressed, and it doesn’t have to always stress you out. The more you make yourself comfortable with change, the easier it is to do.
Speaking of change, Inc. Magazine asked me to speak on the subject along with Dan Heath, co-author of the best-selling book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, on May 15th here in Nashville. Seating is limited, and I would love for my followers to fill it up! On top of the incredible speakers, it also includes:
- A complimentary breakfast
- An expert discussion geared towards small-business owners
- An extended question-and-answer session
Go to http://clocurto.us/HTcoGX for details and to sign up!
Question: What do you like or not like about change?
84 thoughts on “Change Is Not As Bad As You Think”
One thing I like about change is the opportunity for growth. When you’ve been doing something for a while, it’s easy for you to “go through the motions”. You usually form habits (many times bad ones) and change can help you break out of an unhealthy routine. I’ve experienced this on my job and while serving as a worship leader. It’s good to change things up regularly.
What I dislike most about change is the uncertainty of it. I like familiar settings and familiar people and that’s my comfort zone. My wife and I are considering relocating (not sure where), but the idea both excites me and causes some anxiety. I’ve definitely been thinking a lot about change lately. Great post, Chris!
@DevinDabney I was thinking about what you said about ‘just going through the motions’ and when we settle into ‘going through the motions’ we tend to start to forget diligence, and become slack in what we do.
While some habits are good to have, in general, I’m thinking that the more we allow ourselves to become comfortable inside them, the more at risk we become of loosing our edge.
@DevinDabney Spot on Devin. It would be like never making worship more exciting.
You know what scares me most? Your point about how we can actually learn how to accept the bad situation where we are. That you’ve lived there so freakin long that you figure it’s home. The scary bit: sometimes I bet we don’t even realize we’ve allowed ourselves to numb down to that level. We just live it as normal.
I’m in a season of change for our business, but the interesting and cool thing (I think) is how some of our long time 6+ year clients have been helping us to change and develop as they change and develop. How we served them 6 years ago is no longer valid. We are being asked to redevelop and reinvent how we work in order to continue meeting their needs.
While those changes are stressful – the night before last night I didn’t sleep AT ALL because of how worried I was about an important meeting with a client yesterday. They requested some changes. Scary. But today, and after a great sleep last night THANK GOD! I can totally see how what they are looking for is also helping us to grow up as a company too.
Hope that made some sort of sense. What I like about change: if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.
What I hate about change: fear. It sits on my shoulder like a circus monkey. Ech! Ech! ‘What if this….’ ‘What if that….’
Thanks for the great thought provoking post!
@Aaron Nelson Great response. I particularly liked “if i doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger”. I know this is a season of change for me and that’s a great reminder to me. God has a way of working things out for our good!
@Aaron Nelson That TOTALLY makes sense!!! I understand the fear, and YES, it will stretch your business into a bigger, better business!! So many would have just complained about how they can only do what they can do. Great job Aaron!!
@ChrisLoCurto Thank you Chris, I really appreciate it!
@Aaron Nelson Circus monkey… haha 🙂
@Laura Johnson LOL thanks Laura – made myself laugh too, cus sometimes that’s just how it feels! Funny looking back at those moments AFTER all is said and done…but in the moment….grrrr.
So I love psychology. Understanding why we do stuff is insanely interesting to me. This week I learned of a study on decision making and change. It suggests people prefer changeable decisions over unchangeable decisions. In other words, we don’t prefer to lock ourselves into things because we anticipate we won’t be as happy with the outcome, however, the study showed the exact opposite.
While the study is fascinating for many reasons, knowing we’re wired this way helps me understand where to focus my energy on change situations and that’s on the outcome rather than the thing that’s changing. For someone like me, it makes me want to engage and help shape that outcome, instead of being fearful of the thing that’s changing or the end result. This is key, I think.
Here’s a link to the study. You can read the short abstract but you have to buy the full report. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/82/4/503
@JoelFortner I love it!! Focus on the outcome instead.
@JoelFortner This holds true for marriage as well. If people make a commitment to spend the rest of their lives together, but question if they should have made that decision, they will never have a fulfilling marriage. If it is an unchangeable decision, they stick together and love each other a whole lot more, right?
@Jonathan Henry Dude, a post about this very topic is how I learned of the report! So, yes, exactly right! It’s makes total sense to me.
@Jonathan Henry @JoelFortner completely agree Jonathan – marriage is an all in deal. The ‘should I have done this’ after you’ve already made your promise is NOT a line of thought you should allow to run in your head. Thought police!!!
@JoelFortner The process is always a mess, but the outcome is the reward for patience and trusting your instinct and strengths
@JoelFortner Thanks for the report Joel. I like to read the same.
Counter to my personality, I often enjoy being the harbinger of bad ne… err the agent of change. I see it as a continuous process, starting with energy, direction, and resistance, and completed with vision, communication, and behavior — then repeated again.
What I find fascinating are the first three components (energy, direction, resistance) have infinite parallels to the laws of physics. Most people recognize that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to move an object… but few understand that it also takes an equal amount of energy to keep an object in motion. So, when you’re leading change you’re not really asking people to give more or less energy — you’re asking people to apply the same amount of energy, differently. Where that energy is applied determines the direction, of course. Then people bring up the barriers and areas of resistance along the new direction, while ignoring the fact that barriers and resistance exist along the status quo as well, but they have become acceptable and not as scary. Again, the energy to overcome resistance is the same regardless of the path — the energy is simply applied differently.
The vision, communication, and behavior parts of change are the business areas of the deal. They don’t exist without the physics side (energy), but they also help overcome the negative physics (resistance). A vision paints a clear picture of the direction, while communication speaks to the energy, direction, and resistance and involves others. Ultimately, the environment (the physics side plus the business end) created by change creates a behavioral output. What you put in is eventually what you get out.
@Jonathan Henry Is there a pop quiz later?!?!
I love the realization that you’re expending the energy anyway, you just don’t know it yet. Good stuff!!
@ChrisLoCurto I know nothing of physics other than what is on Wikipedia. My physics teacher in high school let us watch Cops, in which the ending car crashes would be the extent of my physics knowledge: the faster you go, the more you flip.
@Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto You shouldn’t have told us that, Jonathan! We all thought you were a physics professor there for a second! You made my brain hurt! I had to not only LEARN physics for my MRI certification, but I had to UNDERSTAND it as well.
You just gave me a flashback, and not one of the good ones people talk about! ha-ha
@Jonathan Henry I’m stealing it as truth. “One of my commenters, who’s really into physics, once said…”
Man this is great stuff! Love it! I’ll save this comment to my Evernote. Thanks!
@Jonathan Henry Your description of energy reminds, almost word for word, how someone explained forgiveness to me the other day.
Thanks for sharing.
The mind no longer needing to focus on a task, referring to muscle memory, can be good and bad. In the case of the special forces, it is most certainly a good thing. However, when it involves the day to day performance of your job, it may not necessarily be so, as you point out, Chris.
Several years ago, I was an Xray technologist in an operating room. I loved it. The pace, the intensity, the staff. I was comfortable. Too comfortable. I spent nearly 10 years in that job (taking xrays) while friends I graduated with moved into MRI, Cat Scan, Interventional Radiology, management, and so on. In my comfort, the pack went on ahead without me.
It occurred to me one day when I was talking with a surgeon while taking Xrays on a patient. I went into the darkroom to run my films (now I’m REALLY dating myself) and I honestly did not recall what technique I used on the Xrays, if I had actually taken both exposures, or if I used the same film twice, causing a double exposure. The films turned out fine, but I was so complacent that I was doing my job without even generating a single thought about it. I was getting atrophy of the brain.
So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and left a great job after nearly 10 years. Those people were like family to me, but I had to step into the uncomfortable world of change and take on new challenges that I had been avoiding for years. Since that time, I have had many positive advancements in my profession. Getting past that was crucial to positive change.
@skottydog It’s amazing how wired we are to sticking with the familiar! Yours is a great story, thanks for sharing! I’ve often thought about what Chris says about switching up little decisions like what you eat at a restaurant…but even then I’m resistant to it and often revert to getting my “usual”
@Skropp @skottydog Isn’t that true? We love “the usual” because it equals being safe.
@lilykreitinger @Skropp @skottydog I know that it SHOULD be consistent every time. Problem is…I’M consistent every time, missing out on trying something that might be as good or better.
It’s so true Chris! We are so adverse to change! Even when you are stressed and unhappy with aspects of your life, often we STILL choose to stay with the familiar.
This has been a major challenge I have faced in my life. I appreciate the suggestions ad questions you pose brother! I wish I was closer to Nashville so I could come to the Inc. event to hear you speak!
@Skropp I dare say it will be the speaking event of the century. Or….at least that week.
@ChrisLoCurto Well, what’s the difference of a few (99 years and 51 weeks) years anyway?? Naw, I’d give you AT LEAST the event of the following 10 days! Haha
I just found another item to add to my resume: “Change Expert”. Not because I love it, but because I’ve done so much of it. They say that stress is the difference between the ways things are and the way you want them to be. A great result of going through so many personal changes in my life is that they have prepared me for more controlled types of change in my career. Contrary to what my personality type would indicate, I LOVE change at work. If there’s anything new, sign me up, I’m there!
Quick story: I HATE water and have a deep fear of drowning. What does my husband do? Sign me up for 45 minutes of scuba diving lessons. I used up the oxygen tank in 15 minutes and hated every minute of it… and it was just in the swimming pool! Next surprise was going snorkeling in the Molokini crater on our vacation to Maui. It took me 10 minutes to decide to jump in the water, with all the flotation devices I could hoard. Once I let go of the fear, I enjoyed an incredible experience.
People ask me how I deal with so much change in my life with a positive attitude. I don’t. God does. When I face change and fear, I picture God’s hands holding me up like in that volcano crater, showing me the beauty around me. Stillness and sameness equal death. Change can be life-giving if we harness its power.
@lilykreitinger Love your story, Lily! Thanks for sharing it. I agree with what you’re saying. Very often, a change in our life moves us forward, even it turned out to be a wrong move. The point is, as Jonathan mentioned earlier, to keep moving. A wrong decision helps you to avoid the same mistake again down the road, so change is almost always a good thing.
Also, Kathy and I were married in Maui and we cried when we left. We spent 10 days there, and did not want to leave. THAT was change that we didn’t want to go through, for sure!
@skottydog Like, Like Like!
@lilykreitinger @skottydog Love, Love, Love!
@lilykreitinger Thanks for sharing your personal story. By reading such stories I realize that I am not alone in this world.
@lilykreitinger Love this, Lily! That took great strengh to do.
@JoelFortner @lilykreitinger Girl!!! You sucked that tank dry didn’t you?! As a Scuba diver, I can’t imagine the strength it took to get in there with the fear of drowning. You constantly impress me!!
@ChrisLoCurto @JoelFortner I still want to hold on to my fear of drowning and have refused swimming lessons. It’s a childhood trauma, my dork swimming instructor thought “sink or swim” was a good teaching technique…. literally. And wait until you hear the story of me flying an airplane… because of course I’m afraid of heights. My hubby is into “shock therapy”…
@lilykreitinger @ChrisLoCurto @JoelFortner LOL ‘shock therapy’ and water….not a good combo. But it sounds like you’re already doin the work of beating those fears. My kids were afraid of swimming too – and that’s how they beat it. A little at a time. Once experience at a time – and hoarding all the floatation devices in the pool too. But now…none required. It took 3+ years of careful experiments, but now they are water lovers. Keep workin it! At your pace. 🙂
@JoelFortner @lilykreitinger I think Lily is one tough cookie!
Is anyone here going to the event in Nashville? I figure we could make t-shirts that say “I’m with the Blog” and create an otherwise rowdy group of LoCurto groupies to intimidate others in attendance. It would help @ChrisLoCurto get more speaking gigs for sure.
@Jonathan Henry We could dominate the front row and do “the wave” when Chris comes out to speak!
@skottydog @Jonathan Henry That would be AWESOME! I’ll check my calendar and see if I can pull off the 30 hour drive both ways… HA HA Although I don’t know if a row of rowdy groupies doing the wave would be good PR for Chris…
@lilykreitinger I beleive that a vibrant online community is growing up here.
@lilykreitinger Great plan, Lily! How about if I start driving now so I can get the first 30 hours out of the way and swing by to pick you up for the next 30 hours? (I have no idea where you live but am guessing it is about 1/2 way between central California and Nashville.
@cabinart I don’t think it’s exactly half way but if you drive to Nashville via Minneapolis, come and get me 😀
@Jonathan Henry Blessed are people who are based in Nashville (they can attend this event live!!!)
@uma_maheswaran I’m driving from Knoxville, but I’m blessed by a time zone change that makes the drive there bearable. 🙂
@Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto Oh my gosh! I’d love to do this but alas I live too far darn away!
@JoelFortner @Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto @skottydog @cabinart @uma_maheswaran @lilykreitinger YOU GUYS ARE FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!!! I would be on the stage rolling if you guys did that!!!
@ChrisLoCurto @JoelFortner @Jonathan Henry @skottydog @cabinart @uma_maheswaran
Maybe we won’t do it THIS time… but you will have that image in your head when you’re speaking…. *evil chuckle*
@lilykreitinger @ChrisLoCurto @JoelFortner @Jonathan Henry @skottydog @cabinart @uma_maheswaran
Chris is definitely going to have to keep us posted on his speaking engagements… t-shirts and a front row wave 🙂 I’m all in!
@JoelFortner @Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto There’s always Continental, Delta or American Airlines…..Just sayin…..
@Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto I would LOVE just L-O-V-E to do something like that. IT would rock soo much!
@Aaron Nelson @Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto We need to add a line item in the monthly budget, people! We need a blog meet-up!
@lilykreitinger @Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto Do you know how fun that would be?? And cool? I was wondering what it would be like to start a book reading group with the folks on here. What would happen?
I’m saving my pesos to get up there for a 3 day Entreleadership event – as my business starts turning around – I’m going to be there.
@Aaron Nelson @lilykreitinger @ChrisLoCurto Reading a book might be interesting… we could compile our thoughts in a “Tuesdays with LoCurto” series that comes out every week in place of the normally scheduled blog. Would save @ChrisLoCurto a day of work each week, right?
@lilykreitinger @Aaron Nelson @Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto YES!
@Jonathan Henry @ChrisLoCurto Haha, I won’t be in Nashville, but I’d take a shirt!
Deciding to stay with my usual lunch or breakfast fare and favorite ice cream flavor doesn’t strike me a being afraid of change. I just like knowing that what I am going to receive will fall in line with my preferences. Changing my excecise routine is a necessary change to keep me motivated and interested.
Within the context of my professional career a couple categories of fear provide the reason for being resistant to change. Fear of Failure and Success. Change in responsiblities at work tend to focus on being afraid of failing. When projects are completed and successful there is a fear that the work load will increase and my success will lead to too much responsiblity beyond my comfort level. Some of that is grounded in self doubt in my abilities and lack of experience as well as just being comfortable with the status quo.
Wanting to be more confident in my leadership and decision making is going to require a change. Most the likely the change will be finally putting into practice what I am learning instead of thinking about it.
Trying to improve myself in this area of my life will require me to become uncomfortable. Doing what I have always done and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.
@rickjweber GREAT points! The small decisions I don’t think necessarily mean you’re afraid to change…but for someone like me, getting in the practice of making those tiny changes would probably help me work up to the bigger changes I SHOULD make! Haha
Excellent definition of insanity – to just keep doing it the same way – resist the change – and expect things to be better!
Chris! To be frank, I am not comfortable at all changes. But, I realize that it is important to embrace changes in order to succeed in this world today. How do we handle change? Are we in srtiving mentality or in thriving mentality? That’s decides our success.
@uma_maheswaran I think that’s the thing. You don’t have to comfortable, you just have to be accepting. Good stuff Uma!
@ChrisLoCurto @uma_maheswaran Right – uncomfortable but accepting!
@uma_maheswaran There’s something to be said for being straight up about how you feel about change! Thanks for your honesty! Glad to know I’m not the only one 🙂
Chris, I’m so excited you’re the speaker in Nashville!!! I haven’t read Switch, but I loved Made to Stick.
@Holly Hall And of course you’re going to be here, right? 😉 Glad to have you back on the blog girl!!
I think preparing for change is almost more anxiety-causing than the change itself. Change is a great way to grow!
@mondster Isn’t that the truth. I do freak out more on the front side. So hey, did you like Tuesday’s post?
@mondster It’s amazing how our minds freak us out and make the change seem ten times bigger and more scary than it probably actually is!
@mondster You are right – change may be the ONLY way to grow – to get out of our comfort zone and learn new things –
I love variety! Perhaps if we substitute this word for the scary unknown of the dreaded C word, then it will look like a happier situation full of opportunity.
The biggest downside to change for me is the length of time it takes to learn the new situations. When I began oil painting, my work went from Wow in pencil to Just-Keep-Trying-Pat-Pat-on-the-Head. Felt like a big fat waste of time for several years.
@cabinart Wow….I like calling it variety as well. It doesn’t feel as threatening. 🙂
@cabinart Man, I wish I had a little more of your view on cha–I mean variety! Haha.
Okay, I’m a weirdo: I LOVE change
Change gives us the opportunity to learn, to grow as a person, to help others, and deepen our knowledge of and walk with God. And those things… that’s what life’s all about!
@Laura Johnson I like that – good perspective on change.
Now, I was just talking this over with my boss… and no, I’m not talking about things like changing jobs every year 🙂
I have noticed that when i talk to certain people that i tend to change the tone or sound of my voice to better match theirs. i have no idea why i do it, or if its even noticeable to the other person, but i was just wondering if this is a normal thing and if not if there is any information on the topic.
We make a real production of it, popping popcorn or making some fun movie snack, snuggling in our bed, and we always choose kid-friendly movies to watch (though some are probably still not that great). We always watch it with the kids and talk about anything that comes up as a result. It is one of my favorite traditions. Anything in moderation, right?
I know you already got the answer, but that Dollar Tree can be sweet. Everything is a dollar. You know what a pain it is to spend money on cleaning products? $1 for the same stuff.
I don’t like change – The older I get – the more I don’t like it. BUT change is inevitable. And if we don’t make certain changes, shifts, adjustments – then our business (or life) can become stale, stagnate, dying. So, even though I’m not a fan of change – I’m willing to do it.
I like the idea of becoming “comfortable with change”. Now THAT’s an idea!
And congrats on speaking for Inc.!