Learning to Change


“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”George Bernard Shaw

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”Rumi

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”Wayne W. Dyer

Change is one of life’s most common denominators. Along with Benjamin Franklin’s famous “death and taxes” statement, you could add change to the list of those items in life that are predictable, that are certain.

No matter where you find yourself today, no matter what path you may be on at this moment, one thing stands true: it will change at some point in time.

I’ve spent more than twenty years in Silicon valley, working with start up companies as well as more established, mature organizations. In every instance, change was present. I’d like to share some thoughts with you regarding change as it relates to life and career.

1. Change happens. As previously stated, I can guarantee you that change is coming to your life. Lest you believe that what you are doing today, and how you are doing it, will (or should) never change, let me assure you–it will. Change is inevitable; it is a part of our lives, both as individuals as well as with our organizations.

2. Those who handle change well can thrive.  Think of it as an evolutionary skill.  Adapt and survive, or stay put and don’t survive.  My experience has taught me that if I want to be successful, no matter what the job may be, I need to be able to adapt, to learn, to change.  There’s a proper time and place for consistency, for predictability, for routine–please know that I value these as well, and I understand their place in our lives, as well as within our organizations.  But in addition to those things, the ability to handle change is what allows us the maximum opportunity for success.  It’s not merely having an open mind, but more so the ability to perceive the needs present within change, and determine the best corrective route to address and respond to change–to be responsive.

3.  Get creative quickly.  In my previous couple of roles I was in a traditional office environment–I had an office, and had the ability to close my door for meetings or telephone calls that required my attention or a focused conversation.  In my current role I am in a start up organization–housed in a vintage historic building that was once a movie theater.  It’s an open air seating arrangement, with common areas for collaboration or ad hoc meetings.  Even our CEO doesn’t have an office.  When I first arrived, I’ll admit I was thrown off by the noise and activity levels swirling around me.  Since then, I’ve learned to focus, leaning heavily on my earphones, and I have a seat near a wall and window which affords me a compromise between my new surroundings and my history.  I hardly notice the difference today, but getting to this point required me to adapt, to change.  Not that I don’t miss my offices from time to time (well, okay, I DO miss my plants, and my treasured artwork from my kids on my office walls) but I’m okay with the relatively new environment.  And I’ve learned to use the outdoors for telephone calls, or duck into the local coffee shop below our office to break up the day when needed.

4.  Learn from those around you.  I can’t stress this one enough.  No one fools themselves  more than the person who believes they alone have all the answers.  You really don’t believe you know everything, do you?  The longer I live, the more I realize how much I don’t know.  You need to be ready to learn new concepts, new ideas, from those around you.  I’m in the middle of a very talented group of people, both here and at home!  I learn new things everyday from my colleagues, my boss and my family members, and I’m thankful for the inputs.  I’m responsible for my role, both with the Operations team of my company, as well as husband and father at home, but I can become so much better at whatever I’m doing when I am willing to learn from those around me.  No need to “go it alone” with respect to change.

If you’ve gotten this far through this brief post, I’m going to lose your attention soon.  I understand, and I won’t even take it personally.   Be ready for change.  It’s coming.

“I wanted to change the world.  But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”Aldous Huxley