“The only constant is change,” someone once said. Yak yak change, yak yak uncomfortable gripe, gripe, and grumble. Why is change so difficult?
Change involves the unknown. Most of us really dislike the unknown. It’s uncomfortable, awkward, and icky. Remember the Boogieman? Sure you do! But, did you ever see the Boogieman? No! He only exists in our fears of the unknown.
Then comes the fear we’ll fail at changing successfully. My gosh, we’ll be a laughing stock. Our culture places such pressure on doing everything perfectly the first time. My goodness, I can still remember my Mom snapping, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”
Along with the perfection stigma comes the fear of what others will think. It creeps slowly into our cranium. There is always the question “what will the neighbors think if we pull the RV up on the lawn permanently?”
To win at the game of change, realize the steps to manage change are fairly simple and are best when applied with a good sense of humor. At the onset of change comes, uh er, well usually CRISIS! We’re backed into a corner and it’s change or die. Wa la! You have mastered the first step of change; the emotional wake-up call.
Step two is even more fun and less annoying to the stomach. Hard work! Ha! How’s that for a kick in the head? Most people like the phase of change, because we are too busy working to realize. . . we’re changing.
Step three. Critical thinking time again. Usually the crisis has now come to a point of decision. Tough choices must be committed to. This is the James Dean point of no return. This is were we decide to make the “move forward, and never look back decision. You buy the house, marry the spouse, get the extra hot chili. During this phase there is often a sense of relief that the decision has been made to commit to change. You might even experience a little glimpse of freeing optimism; the future is now looking brighter.
Whamo, step four is the phase-o-pain. Mr. Spock set the phaser to stun! All of a sudden that sinking uncomfortable feeling is back, deja vu. . .we’re tempted to quit! This is where all the uncomfortableness of change to get in your face. Hang on! This critical
phase is accompanied by feeling like you have been doing everything “right,” but you’re still getting the “wrong” result. Most people bail out right here. Never realizing they’re with an inch of success. Here’s where humor is essential to handle the inevitable set backs. Garrison Keillor says sometimes we need to look reality in the eye and deny it. Laughing at the inevitable frustrations will smooth our journey.
Congratulations, you have made it to step five, you have won the game. Even if your plan did not work our perfectly, fear not, you stuck with the change. Now, ideally the changes are a part of your life. You are in your new job, house, or managed to keep the chili down. Remember too, change can be managed effectively by not taking every set back so seriously. Don’t have a coronary over the small stuff, Heck, don’t have it over big stuff either.
by Jim Pelley
Laughter Works Seminars