Thoughts on Change for the New Year

As 2014 comes to a close, I find my world summed up by an overused turn of phrase: "out with old, in with the new" So it seems only appropriate to take a moment to discuss changes and how it relates to your business. 

The are a number of different ways you could look at change. The one I hear expressed most often, in one form or another is that it's scary. Change means that the way things are now will not be this way any longer and they will be something different. It's impossible to know what this new state of things will be like. Will it be better? worse? No one can actually answer that. It can be tempting to try to keep things the same since there is comfort in the expected.

However, I think it's helpful to challenge this idea. No matter how hard you try to keep things the same, they will not stay that way. The world is constantly changing; look at how day turns into night, how the weather shifts, how plants grow. Everything is in a constant state of change. By trying to keep things the same we actually create a sort of dam, an energetic dam, that is bound to fill up and overflow eventually. Sometimes I find myself thinking "change is good" but I think the more accurate statement is "change is." It's always there, it always exists. It's neither good nor bad. It just is. Which means the real challenge is how we deal with change, not whether or not we choose to change. 

It's natural for change to feel scary. That feeling shouldn't go away, because while change is important for growth, it's also important that change come with an appropriate amount of moderation. Change that comes too often feels erratic and can make customers feel uncertain. 

So, how do you know when change is the right option or the wrong option? Going with your gut can be tricky since good change and bad change both feel scary. This is an occasion where putting emotion aside and utilizing logic can be very helpful. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a pro/con list, making sure items on the list are appropriately weighted. (i.e. if the "pro" side has three items and the "con" side has one, but the three things are minor or superficial and the one thing is SUPER important to you, then you need to pay attention to the value of the items, not the quantity of items.)
  • Take a look at a calendar, when was the last time you made a change like this? Try to space changes out, and give more space between major changes, where as minor changes can happen more frequently. 
  • Take a look at what you've done the past year, and your goals for the coming year? How does this play in? (Shifting your goals is a valid option, or maybe this helps you realize the change is not inline with your goals?)
  • Check in with your internal purpose or visioning work you've done. How does this change line up with what you know of yourself and your goals?  

In the end it's good to keep in mind that whatever you decide, you decided right. You've considered your options and took the best possible course of action. Every change you make is another step down the path you're meant to take. (And no path is ever straight, so what ever twist or turn that comes next is just part of the journey.