The other week I worked with a team that was in the midst of tremendous change. They were past the hard part and smack-dab in the middle of the messy part. The gorgeous part of change seemed light years away for some of the team members. The really optimistic ones thought it was in the distant but conceivable future. Tough times.
We dove right into the mess and discussed how our strengths can both help and hinder change. It was a difficult discussion but it was honest and real. We were touching on the team’s shared nerve ending – it was alive and exposed in the middle of the table as we discussed each person’s struggle.
Change is a sign of growth. We cannot grow – physically, cognitively, emotionally, or spiritually – if we stay the same. As kids, most of us experienced growing pains. I vividly remember the achy-ness, the throbbing dull pain, that plagued me one summer when I was 13 years old. I complained about my aches and pains to my parents but they were mostly dismissive. Growth, they assured me, should not be and cannot be stopped. The pain was just an unpleasant but necessary part of the greater picture – the picture of me developing into the full-grown person I was meant to be.
This perspective is worth remembering as we continue to grow in our adult years. The pain of growth, whether it comes from learning something new, changing our standard operating procedures, or taking a risk of some kind, can be hard. Even when we think we are through the tough times, it can be messy. Should we go back to our old ways? Is this change worth the hassle?
Hang in there. It’s gorgeous at the end. Allow yourself to slip back into your old habits only long enough to realize that you are better for the changes you’ve made whatever they may be: forcing yourself to study for that certification you’ve always wanted, getting up at 5 a.m. to workout a few days a week, or eliminating some unhealthy vice from your diet. You’ll never know just how gorgeous it might be without taking the plunge.