I hate to break it to you but you’re getting old.
Ok, ok… me too!
I don’t like to think about it and most people I know are too nice to say anything. Most people except for my kids, that is.
Yes, those babies whose diapers I changed in the wee hours of the night just a few years ago have realized I’m never going to play in the National Hockey League or face Federer on the ATP tour.
Now, they not only remind me of change by how they are growing and acquiring new skills but also by ribbing me about my lack of ability on the ice or the tennis court. What happened to respect for your elders, anyway?
They are my walking and talking reminders about how constant change is, and that’s probably good for me.
It’s probably good to be reminded that we are not the same as we once were; that change is always there despite our intense desire to ignore it
Most of us are guilty of trying to hold on to the way things are for as long as possible, when what we need to do is to keep up with change.
I’ll never forget the first night my wife and I spent in our new house after a long moving day.
It was evening when we finally sat down to reflect on the day’s events. The children were upstairs in their barely-made beds, surrounded by half-opened boxes with clothes pouring out.
Our furniture was tentatively placed in rooms that were loosely defined from a couple of visits and my crudely made floor plan.
We weren’t sure which room we’d put the TV in so we picked one of the rooms on the main floor and I plugged in some wires.
We huddled up on the couch and tried to focus on the show but we couldn’t. We were distracted. Distracted by every new sound we heard through the open window, every voice, every car door, every little breeze, every normally unnoticed sound you notice because it’s the first time you’re hearing it.
Don’t get me wrong…we were filled with the excitement of new. This was what we had wanted to do.
But just hours earlier we had lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes as we closed the door for the last time on a place that, just 9 years earlier, had been the beginning of our biggest adventure together, a place where so much had happened.
It’s funny how you can see history in an empty room. It’s strange how you can touch a door handle and a flood of memories go through you.
And while you can also see the future in an empty room, it doesn’t impact you the same way.
The future seems to be more of a dream. It’s not so clear.
It’s because the past, even though it’s gone, holds the power of being the way things have always been. Or so it seems, because it’s been so long since the last change.
It doesn’t matter whether that’s in our personal life or in our work. The past has power.
So if you’re a leader who needs to help people through change, that is what you’re up against. The past has an incredible hold on most people. Especially if it has been a good past, a great past, a past that has served you well.
My wife and I recently did a small renovation to our home. We even brought in a couple of designer guys to help us out.
It was surprising how emotional it was.
As the old furniture, travel trinkets and cheap art on the walls got given away to family or sold to strangers, I couldn’t help but look at most of it with some degree of affection. Weird, I know. It's only stuff.
But they were items we had bought together when we got our first house. Some items were even from the apartments we lived in before becoming homeowners.
As attached to that stuff as we were, we knew it was time for a change.
It was time a couple years earlier but we couldn’t see it yet. My thanks go out to our friends and family for not mentioning that.
As time went on, we began feeling that much of what we had accumulated didn’t fit who we were and how we wanted to live.
At that point, changing it became a big priority. We spent every spare moment surfing furniture sites on-line. We looked at catalogues and gathered ideas. I know - we really know how to live!
As each new item entered our home, the older pieces still around became much less attractive. Once we had made all our furniture choices, we couldn’t wait for the new stuff to arrive.
But here’s the thing... Even though we orchestrated this change, we weren’t completely sure we were going to love the new as much as the old.
Well, guess what? This doesn’t only happen with furniture. It happens in many other aspects of our lives.
Why? Because change is fraught with fear, but, as experience has taught me, you just have to go for it anyway.
The trick is to know how to give yourself the confidence to make the big move