3 reasons change can be the best thing for you and your career
Change is in the air. Some are excited. Others are anxious. So it’s a perfect time to take a step back and talk about the impact change can have on us.
In the tech industry, we are always talking about change management. As an industry, we have proven over the past decade how technology can revolutionize business and it has become not a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have. However, when you revolutionize business, you are, by definition, changing the ecosystem of your organization – the essentials of how it functions.
But an organization does not function on its own, it can only function with people powering it. And, unfortunately, generally, people do not like major changes to their ecosystems.
But, personally, I have come to love change. And I promise I am not crazy because of that. I do not mean to say I am perfect at embracing it, I don’t think anyone is. But I love how it impacts me and my life and how it pushes me to evolve with it.
The big 3
Whether it is proving this concept to yourself or discussing it with your family, friends or colleagues, here are three reasons I think change is one of the best things that happens to us throughout our lives – as long as we embrace and empower it:
Think about technology. Think about the improvements it has brought to our lives – at work and at home. Change does this. And the change that might seem negative in the moment often presents an opportunity for us to improve.
Even my own moments of deepest grief, truly difficult moments of change we all go through, have opened my eyes to improvements I need to make – whether it is in maintaining relationships, communicating better or being there for those I love. In those moments, I am reminded of room for improvement and those moments, as they say, have made me stronger – and as a result, I’ve improved.
Growing up in a diverse suburb of Cleveland, the history of integration and acceptance in this country was a prioritized topic throughout my childhood education. Looking back at those times in our history, moments of massive change in this country, it was difficult for those used to a certain lifestyle. But think about how much we all improved and continue to improve, as individuals and as a larger, nationwide community.
We have more improvement to make, but only change will bring that improvement to fruition.
We are forever learning. When you think of learning, you may picture a classroom, but that is not the only place where learning takes place in our lifetimes. As I mentioned above, in these moments of change, we can actually learn a lot about ourselves – our behaviors in uncomfortable or crisis-filled moments and our strengths and weaknesses.
We also can observe others during moments of shared change, like colleagues, fellow residents or family members. We can learn from things we did wrong that created negative change and things we did right that created positive change. And if the change is tangible, like a new system at work or piece of technology at home, we can learn about these new things and how we can use them to help improve our work and our lives. (See a pattern here?)
Earlier this year, Cleveland experienced one of its biggest changes in the last few decades. After more than 50 years of losing seasons and almost-championships, a major Cleveland sports team with a hometown hero brought home the ultimate trophy. But we were concerned this would lead the city to dive into a frenzy.
But in those following moments, as I walked the streets of Cleveland hugging strangers and high-fiving local policemen, we all learned how a diverse city could come together peacefully to celebrate. An amazing moment of education to be a part of.
As we learn and improve, we grow – a goal I think we all have in life. We grow as people, as friends, as relatives, as colleagues and as employees. And in shared change experiences, we can grow together – both in parallel and by working together in new ways and all sharing a single experience.
Picture the world 26 years ago. The internet had not yet entered people’s lives the way we know it today and computers were not in every home. They were used at offices for, well, computing.
Now, the internet has become the sun our lives revolve around. We have computers not only in our homes but in our hands, on our wrists and at our fingertips. And more importantly, because of the work of organizations like One Laptop Per Child, computers and the internet are being put in the hands of children in third-world countries to help them connect “to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.”
What amazing growth we as a global community have seen simply because of this change: connectivity. Think about how you have grown over the last two decades simply because of connecting easier with colleagues, friends and family. And think about how this change has empowered the growth of your own career. With technology connecting you to the information, people and processes you need to drive business forward, odds are, you’re more productive than you were even a few short years ago.
Change can be an amazing thing. I am not the first to say that when one door closes, another opens. Even in times of distress or concern for stability of the future, this mindset, forced on us by change, is another door opening. A new perspective. A new opportunity. A time to reflect and question, instead of simply floating in the comfort of the status quo.
Some people dislike change and try to avoid it at all costs. But if we want to improve, learn and grow – if we want our companies and our careers to improve and grow – we need change. So it may be time to change the mindset – we CAN improve, we CAN learn, we CAN grow. Change can be the best thing that happens to us – as long as we open ourselves up to it and allow it to be just that.