Altered States (a lighter look at Change)
My dog doesn’t like change. Bumble is a rescue Africanus, surprisingly entitled, sensitive to noises and a disruption of his routine. He takes offense at even small changes like getting his bed-time cookie a bit later than usual due to dinner guests.
I can relate. Peter Senge said: “People don’t resist change; they resist being changed.”
Most of us are experiencing change fatigue. We are “gatvol”. (Expressive Afrikaans word for tired of something).
The world tries to educate us regularly on how we should feel, manage, and respond to change by way of articles, talks, reels, slogans… New buzz words are propping up: change-fit, antifragile, psychological safety, quiet quitting… of course, I have used them all. But in doing research on the impact of change, I found myself becoming more agitated. What is it about forced change that gets our knickers in a knot? The research promotes positivity, goal setting, acceptance… Blah, Blah, Blah…
The realisation dawned on me that maybe it is time to go back to the basics. Maybe the reason we fail when we try and change (individually, teams, and organisations) is not because of change, but because of pre-existing problems.
Instead of blaming change, let’s look in the mirror and ask ourselves some hard questions:
- Why do we have such a reaction to the change?
- Where does it come from?
- What story are we hanging on to?
- What are we scared of?
- Why are we taking it so personally?
- What happens when we “flatline”? (My interpretation of quiet quitting).
None of these questions are easy to reflect on. But maybe, that is the beginning of understanding ourselves better and our knee-jerk reaction to change.
Kelly McGonigal said: “Our negative perception around change is more debilitating than the actual stressor.”
My dog Bumble would recommend, if he could, to go and lie under the bed and wait for the change to pass. If only…