Change is not something that many welcome with open arms, especially if it is unexpected. Lao Tzu, however, so brilliantly pointed out that “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are headed.”
How many times have we balked at a major shift in our lives and then later realized that it was in reality a great thing? This can be applied in the business world as people struggle to adapt to changes or are forced through major organizational initiatives to shift the way that they have typically handled processes and procedures and adopt a new way of doing business.
In our personal lives, overnight changes in relationships, our health, or careers can dramatically affect our direction, but it does not have to affect our success trajectory.
Change is inevitable and how we manage change is the key factor to success in our professional and personal lives. As an organizational change manager, I have seen groups of people reset their direction and build brighter futures for themselves and the organization as a result of unexpected organizational change. How did this happen? Vision.
“Without vision, the people perish,” Proverbs 28:19. When we know where we are going or can at least conceptualize our destination, it’s much easier to get there or at least recognize it when we arrive. Imagine never having been to or having ever seen a picture of a beach or to the ocean and then deciding to head there. Would you even know which direction to go? Would you know what you were looking for?
What happens during sudden life shifts is that we are instantly thrust into a situation wherein we are not quite sure which way to go. Our direction is thrown off and what is familiar to us is thrown off; this causes panic and confusion. When we can pause and visualize where we want and need to go, confusion dissipates.
Organizational change agents understand that clarity of vision helps guide people through the maze of confusion. Vision enables people to navigate away from the familiar and comfortable toward a new future- this requires people to be willing to adapt. A strong leader can help facilitate this process in organizational change, but what about for us on a personal level? Who is our leader? The answer- we are our own leader.
“Destined to become is the person you decide to be,” Ralph Waldo Emerson. We each have a self-motivating spirit within us- a success driver. This driver helps propel us through unfamiliar territory and into the future we dream of. Although life can make us feel defeated at times and less than driven, it is still there- it is a beacon within each of us, wanting to shine light on our intended path.
A leader motivates, encourages and inspires. Who knows you better than you? You know what motivates you, so who is better to kick you into high gear toward achievement than you? It’s not just simply that if life gives you lemons, that you make lemonade, but that you look at the unexpected lemons and realize, although I didn’t plan on having lemonade today, it may end up being great. You then need to plan the steps- visualizing- how to transform what you have in front of you into what you desire.
Remember, although change may sometimes come when we least expect it, it only takes one person to change your life into what you want it to be- and that is you. Embrace shift- it happens- embrace the leader within and shift in your new direction of success. It’s a matter of choice to spend time focusing on where you are or where you want to be.
Jolene Church is currently working on a doctoral dissertation on the effects of critical thinking on organizational leaders. She is a mindfulness practitioner and the co-author of Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset. www.successfulthinkingmindset.com
Jolene holds Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and is a certified master success coach. Jolene's writing is continually inspired by the challenges that her clients are facing. She finds constant inspiration in the world around her and is profoundly honored to be living her purpose helping others turn impossible into possible.