Change is constant. Change is hard. Change is ____________ (you fill in the blank). There are hundreds of things we can say about change. There are thousands of great quotes on change. And we all know what it is like to experience change. We can hug it or hold it at arms length.
Yesterday, my wife Linda and I enjoyed the “People of the Year” award breakfast that is sponsored by the News-Press, a local media group. It’s a gathering of community leaders to salute and celebrate trailblazers, business leaders, heroes, students, public officials, young leaders and philanthropists who have been catalysts and visionaries in our area. We heard emotion-stirring stories of the accomplishments and dreams of each of the three finalists in eight unique categories. Change-agents, compassion-dispensers, future-makers and mountain-movers. These are the leaders that make our community a breathtaking place to live, work and play.
When my friend Sarah Owen (President and CEO of Southwest Florida Community Foundation) gave her acceptance speech for winning the headliner of the morning, “2015 Person of the Year,” she said something that resonated with me. Actually, it perfectly fit my own experience in 2015. Sarah said this about change: “Change is difficult in the beginning, messy in the middle, but in the end, it’s glorious and gorgeous.” Yes. Exactly. Sarah Owen said it well:
Difficult in the Beginning – The shock, the surprise, the anticipation of change is arduous. It might be a bad medical report, an unplanned pregnancy, a job lay-off, a leadership change, an unexpected expense, or a sudden downturn in business. Disappointment. Denial. Disbelief. Suspicion. Mistrust. Anger. Even rage. It’s always difficult in the beginning.
Messy in the Middle – Sorting through the meaning of next steps, exploring solutions, facing fears, anticipating potential outcomes can be pure shambolic. Chaos, confusion and cluttered thinking can easily prevail. Relationships can be tense as people react in diverse ways to the realities of change or even just the fear of possible change. Comfort zones lose their secure boundaries. It’s messy in the middle.
Glorious in the End – Every time I’ve experienced major change, something good comes out of it in the end. It can be change inside of me, transformation in the people around me, or a whole new life cycle of an organization. Change becomes glorious in the end. My wife, a seasoned instructor of parenting classes and a career-long labor and delivery nurse, puts it this way: “glorious exhaustion.” The hard work of birthing a baby or raising a baby to adulthood brings glorious exhaustion. That’s an endorphin rush at the end of a hard day or a difficult season of life. Change becomes glorious and gorgeous in the end.
Poetry writer, C. JoyBell C. sums it up this way, “We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”
As you navigate change in your life, or better yet, create change, enjoy the journey. And just remember what Robert C. Gallagher said, “Change is inevitable–except from a vending machine.”
QUESTION: Would you share one glorious ending that you’ve received as a result of change? Put it in the comment section below. Thanks!