Trying to frame change as exciting

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 9:42 PM | comments: 0

I am no stranger to writing about change. I think my obsession around thinking about it is largely rooted in the fact that it used to scare the shit out of me in an extreme way. If I go back 14 years, I had a routine and perceived safety, despite my career being kind of stalled. Change was something that could only be negative in my mind. I didn't have the nuts to try anything new, and why bother, because everything was "good."

Divorce wasn't a positive thing, but it was change like I had never experienced. About four years after that, I endeavored in the holy trinity of change: A new job, in a new city, with a new baby. That all went down in the scope of 6 months. If we expand that window out to 11 months, you can include getting married into that mix. Expand the window to 17 months, and then I moved twice. For all of the fear and resistance I had to change, I was largely forced to embrace it, and it turned out that it wasn't so bad.

When it came time to move to Florida, it felt more like a choice not forced upon me. I chose the Seattle move, but it was instigated in part because I had few choices in Cleveland. The difference in my feelings in the first few weeks in both places were markedly different. In Seattle, I felt like I was being brave for my pregnant wife and cautiously optimistic about the future, because I had to. In Florida, it was like, I'm here, I want this, I'll figure it out, and if it isn't right, I can change again. Closing in on six years, we've lived in three places down here, I've had a child that has been changing continuously, and I've worked almost entirely for companies that were growing, and therefore changing rapidly. Change is the normal I have to accommodate, because it's everywhere and it's inevitable.

Knowing how I felt about forced change versus voluntary change, I thought a lot about the outcomes related to both. The uncertainty wasn't really that different, and if I'm being honest, the excitement around the potential opportunity in the change was about the same. So I can't stop Simon from growing up so fast, and I can't stop work from being a growing company (well, I could work for a big established company, but it probably would be less interesting), and I definitely can't stop aging, so I have to figure out how to frame all of that as exciting opportunity.

I feel like there are two steps to that journey around change. The first was accepting it as inevitable, maybe even necessary. Part two is to view it as opportunity. I'm getting there. Nothing is permanent, and maybe the next thing is better than the previous thing. If it's not, we can always find a way to change some more. It's a glass half-full thing.


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