Here’s an old story to contemplate:
A boy from a wealthy family receives a pony for his birthday. The townspeople say, “what a lucky boy.” The Buddhist monk says, “we’ll see.”
The boy suffers a crippling injury while riding the horse. The townspeople say, “what an unlucky boy.” The Buddhist monk says, “we’ll see.”
An invading army attacks the town and conscripts all the men and boys to fight with them, but the boy is not chosen because of his handicap. The townspeople say, “what a lucky boy.”
You get the message.
As tortured Hamlet observed, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” At times, each of us can feel like we’re in a hellacious situation, trapped, confused, scared, frustrated, and these reactions can be particularly acute in times of change. Yet, at the same time, most of us can relate to how we have grown exponentially during our most challenging times. We find hidden capacity within ourselves, untapped reserves of strength. New, amazing people come into our lives. New doors open that we would have passed by otherwise. Whether it’s at home or at work, change can be a springboard for professional development.
That’s why I encourage you to, every so often, take some time to reflect on the power that change has in your life. Need some help getting started? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What changes have I been through that seemed negative at first, but turned out much better than I expected? Situations when were my fears not realized, but instead I emerged stronger and better than before?
- What changes am I facing now that are causing me stress? Even if the change itself is out of my control, what are three specific actions I can take to help me and my team cope with it more proactively, to take charge of what we can, to influence the direction or outcome?
- How can I use the possibility presented by current change challenges to emerge as an even more impactful leader? How can I use my skills at connection and communication to coach people to see unrecognized opportunities? To perceive change as an opportunity versus a threat? To share stories about taking response-ability to respond with resilience and agility?
As Price Pritchett affirms, “change always comes bearing gifts.” Sometimes those gifts are buried deep or concealed in dark corners. But always, every time, those gifts are there for us to find, and treasure, and share.