I often tell my clients that they can choose to make change painless or hard and my recent experience with a new laptop brought that to life for me! My trusty old laptop was reaching the end of its life and simply couldn’t cope with the demands of all the new software that I’d added over the last few years. Yet I resisted replacing it and found lots of rational explanations as to why I shouldn’t for example, it would cost too much, Windows 8 will be here soon. I sensed a little resistance to change and as we coaches have to practice what we preach I bought a new laptop. If only the story ended here!
As with many changes we make I wanted to have my cake and eat it. I planned to take all the software and settings and data from the old laptop across to the new one. Sadly at this point, I didn’t recognise that change may mean giving something up. So I purchased some software that would copy everything from the old laptop to the new. I then transferred everything across, it took several days and it didn’t quite go to plan… like most change. I found the new laptop now had a mixture of old and new settings and that some things were missing and it was no longer performing quite so well…neither was I!
At that point I experienced the shift we often encounter when we are embarking on a change, I started to look at my old laptop and think it wasn’t so bad; why did I want to replace it. Fortunately I realised that maybe it was time to apply some of the coaching skills I use with my clients.
I asked myself how much did I really need to take from the old laptop, and of course the answer was that all I really needed was my data which was quite straightforward to transfer. I started to come to terms with the idea that I would need to let go of something to really take advantage of the new laptop. At that point I decided to risk restoring the new laptop back to factory settings, and to focus on getting my data and a few key pieces of software installed.
I guess I had made the shift from resisting change to accepting it and everything started to fall into place. The new laptop was running like a Formula One car and I was thrilled!
So what are the key lessons in making a painless change:
- we are programmed to resist change, so challenge your desire for the status quo
- recognise that change may demand giving something up but make sure it’s the bath water not the baby
- be aware of the tendency to start to view the old way of doing things through rose-tinted glasses
- change demands taking some risk, chose what is acceptable for you
- understanding and recognising your emotional reaction to change makes it more likely that you will succeed.
You’ll learn to love the new way of doing things, if not it’s time for another change!