Some Changes Feel Bad, Pure and Simple
“Change is an event; it’s neither good nor bad.” As soon as someone tells you that, you know they are full of BS!
Last month we talked about reorgs and how to survive one. But what happens when you are the one who gets laid off, or it’s your parent who needs help with long term care? Change like this doesn’t feel like a neutral event – it feels bad!
Just a couple months ago my 84-year-old mom was completely independent. She now requires full-time care and support.
As somebody whose work focuses on change, this seemed like something I could’ve navigated pretty well. You know, just move things forward while remaining calm, logical, and rational. Except that’s not what played out. Instead, I did most of the same behaviors we see in workplace change.
It started with avoidance and denial: “Well, I have this trip already planned, the client is expecting me, and my mom is stable now, so…”
Then I moved into confusion: “I’m not sure how to navigate this and no one is returning my calls, so…“
And then eventually I moved into pure resistance: “I’m not sure I can handle this” or “I could fly out there but without knowing more about what to do, what difference will it make?”
My shift from denial started with a trusted colleague telling me to just go out there and see my mom. She said it was the most important thing I could do even if I didn’t know what to do. From that my resistance grew even stronger at first, for about two full days.
I’m not proud of this behavior. It reminded me why companies hire us to help them through change. Sometimes you need an objective, neutral, 3rd party to kick you in the ass and tell you just how crazy you are being!
And then my husband called. He’d been helping out, making calls to social workers and care facilities. He said, “I think you have to go out there. I’ve found for a flight for you, shall I book it?”
When the concierge shows up with your luggage packed, it’s way easier to say yes. As I moved through the next two days, a beautiful unlock started to occur. Friends appeared unexpectedly on street corners, where we hugged and cried. Text messages arrived with offers of help.
And then there was THAT video that arrived during a “normal business meeting.” I was meeting with a lovely man at Nike who shared it as we talked about his upcoming offsite. He had no idea about my family situation and yet somehow shared the perfect gift for a difficult time.
Watch THAT video (about 4 min) here.
Within two hours of watching this video there was a breakthrough. People from care facilities started taking my calls. A lovely lady in Indiana gave me a glimmer of hope about how to navigate Medicaid. My oldest brother showed up, both resourceful and collaborative (not his norm, sorry bro, but you know it’s true).
Is my Mom is going to be okay? No, and emphatically, yes! She’s getting the care she needs to support her at this stage in her life. She will not get “better” and she is at her perfect best, too.
I share all this as a reminder that life is a journey, not a destination – dance your way through it. Don’t get caught up in “trying to get somewhere” because there is no “somewhere” out there. Somewhere is here, now. If you show up with an open heart and open mind, you just might dance.
At Positive Disruption we specialize in working with companies to reorganize with outcomes that deliver higher levels of engagement, retention, and momentum for results.