Have A Leg Up On Change!

Every couple of years, I experience an uncommon change in my life. Being fitted for a new artificial leg! Few people have walked in my shoe and may feel as though they cannot relate to the prospect of replacing body parts. However, the mindset and motivation needed to succeed in the midst of change is relevant no matter what circumstances you may be experiencing. Regardless of age or occupation, change is inevitable for all of us. How we adapt and respond determines our level of success and contentment.

You cannot avoid the fact that our lives will often be affected by change. It is important that we accept and embrace the certainty that our life and work may be different tomorrow than it is today. Whether it is a getting fitted for a new limb, a career change, or unfamiliar circumstances, we all have the tendency and desire to hang on to the known and avoid the unknown. By adopting the attitude that change is to be expected, we are no longer surprised but anticipate its arrival. Peak performers don’t waste precious time trying to predict change but focus on preparing for it. Legendary Investor Warren Buffett says, “You never know who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out.” Clearly, a lack of anticipation leaves you exposed when change invariably happens!

Focus on the benefits of change, not the discomfort. When I initially slip on a new leg, it can feel awkward. My gait is different, and the first few hours are very uncomfortable. During this time it is easy to start thinking about the “good old leg”. To maintain my resolve, I dwell on the increased agility, better balance, and greater mobility that this change of having the new leg will provide. The most challenging aspect of managing change is the inability to see the possibilities that develop as a result of the change. Keep in mind, there is often a positive outcome to circumstances that initially seem negative. With change, new opportunities emerge. To keep your focus, remember that experiencing fear in the environment of change does not necessarily mean something is wrong. It means something is new.

Former GE CEO Jack Welsh said, “Change before you have to.” Therefore, “We have always done it that way” is no longer a viable leadership philosophy for long-term growth and success. It seems counterintuitive to say that the best time to undertake significant change is when everything is going well, but there is a sound logic to it. Effective change takes time, energy and motivation, so it is easier to discover new possibilities when you have plenty of all three. In my particular case, it is much easier to go through the process of adjusting to a new prosthesis while the old one is still usable. Let me tell you, being forced into immediate change by a broken leg is much more challenging than if you have a spare. Bottom line, if I do not change before I have to, I will become a great example of the phrase, “hop to it.”

Life experience teaches us that we cannot get better while staying the same. Therefore, change provides us a wonderful gift. Due to the velocity of change, we experience less predictability and greater possibilities! By embracing the value of change, we increase our capabilities and find new opportunities to impact the lives of others.

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