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How would your life be different?

Posted November 22, 2013 • Change,Mindfulness • by Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, Ph.D.

It is a law of nature: the world around us is always changing.

A logical response is…to ACCEPT it. We don’t have to like it, we don’t even have to embrace it with gusto. We just need to accept that in reality, it is happening.

I’ll give you an example. Last week, I was working with the senior team of a global retail company. A few years ago, the company almost went bankrupt. This was largely due to their becoming blind sided by changes in the marketplace that the company’s leaders at the time didn’t predict (and didn’t accept as real, even as the change was happening).

They were so comfortable in their prior success, they couldn’t accept that change was actually coming. Today, the company’s new CEO and senior management team are working furiously to get the company back on track to restore the stability and success they once knew. After reaching the brink of bankruptcy, it became clear: they HAD to accept that change was afoot if they wanted the company to survive.

Now they’re working harder than ever to explore change: what are the current changes in their marketplace? Who are their customers today, and who are their customers likely to be 10 years from now? How can they predict their customers’ future needs and desires? What types of people and skills will they need inside the company in order to meet those future customer needs?

While thankfully the CEO and his team are doing better today, it would have been a whole lot easier for the company’s thousands of employees (and, arguably, their millions of customers around the world) if they had initially accepted and prepared for change.

This begs the question: What would it look like if we could ACCEPT change as it occurs, regardless of whether we like it or not?

If we could say to change, “OK, change, I don’t love you, but I can accept that you are here”?

A good friend said to me the other day, “I’m starting to feel sad now that winter is approaching and it’s getting darker sooner…I miss the long sunny days of summer.”

Now, the change of seasons in the northeastern United States is about as predictable as it gets these days! If there’s one thing we still know to be true, it’s that as November rolls around in the Northeast, the sun is going to go down sooner, it’s going to get colder outside, and the leaves are going to fall from the trees. This friend has lived in the Northeast her whole life, and yet, still she holds out hope: maybe it won’t happen this year…not just YET!

I can relate. I’ve had similar feelings myself. I listened and tried to offer my friend some words of encouragement, and even made some suggestions about how to deal with the low sun ratio this time of year. But on reflection, today my advice to her is to ask the following question:

What would it look like to…go with it?

To accept the change? Not to push against it, not wish things were different, not pretend to be happy about it, but just, simply, to accept what is?

And now I’ll ask you: If you could do this – if you could completely accept what is, right now – how would your work, your team, your organization, your family, your life be different?