The Challenges of Change

“Everything changes and nothing stands still.” – Heraclitus

Change is an energy intensive process. It’s expensive from a time and mental energy perspective. Even the simplest decisions to adjust course require realignment and pause to recenter. It forces us to evaluate the internal status quo. It can ignite feelings of chaos and fear, mostly from leaving behind the current “known.” Things as simple as a new haircut to bigger events like moving across the country or a new relationship status (starting or ending) can all wreak havoc on us. Everything was fine before these things entered our lives; why disrupt it? I was fine!

Acceptance of and processing through change comes more easily to some; for others, any rattling of routine or their “world” causes an imbalance that isn’t always simple to reattain equilibrium. Larger organizations even incorporate change management processes into their business workflow to minimize issues. (I sometimes think I should try incorporating change management into my personal life.)

It’s interesting to see how each person responds to the norm being shaken up, particularly when they are not in control of that norm being moved – especially Chicago weather. Do you look for the potential in a new situation? Or do you reel back and focus on how this affects just your life? There can be an unwillingness of trying something out because you think you won’t like it or adapt to what’s coming down the line… how do you open the eyes of others to see what is possible?

There is always a cost involved in change. If I want to be a better runner, then I must sacrifice my desire to continually lay on my couch and run regardless of my lack of motivation some days. To improve my writing skills, I must set aside that new Netflix release and sit down to formulate thoughts on paper (or screen.)

Change, particularly when it happens in shorter periods of time and when the shift is bigger, can stress us and cause behaviors in us that may not fully reflect who we usually are. It’s during those times I’ve been trying to extend grace to others when I see how they process what’s happening vs. how I am dealing with the same change event.

A favorite phrase at work over the last few years as we’ve gone through transitions is “Change is Sweet.” But it can also be hard. And it can occasionally be frustrating along the way. As long as we recognize that the process is taxing and that we are gracious and flexible with one another along the way, we’ll be just fine.

In It For the Long Haul

I rarely have felt fully prepared for a lot of the big milestones and challenges in my life. Whether it was the transition from school and stepping into “real” life when I graduated college, or giving a best man’s speech at a wedding, or completing a marathon, there was always a moment of pause and hesitancy right before that moment happened wondering how it will go. (I’m still feeling out this whole real life after school thing. I’m not sold on it just yet.)

What I do know, however, is that I work my way through it all on a daily basis.

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Turning Fifteen Again

Greg Macek Junior Year High School

Fifteen can be a good age, as seen in the headline image. (That was me in my junior year yearbook photo, not quite 16 yet.) You’re firmly planted into your teen years, start to have an idea of who you are and a little more confident after being in high school for 2 years, and have a lot of optimism about the future, especially because this is the year you get your driver’s permit.

I find I get nostalgic and reflective in June because it’s that time of year when you graduate high school, college, or if you’re me, you remember when you landed your first – and only – full time job. Today, June 19th, marks my first official full time day at my job. It’s not the first or second time I’ve reminisced about this, nor will it be my last. However, 15 feels like a big milestone for a couple reasons.

1) Years that are divisible by 5 feel more important.

2) Change and opportunity has been a big theme this year personally and professionally, much like the year 2000.

Just like that time of transition from college to “real life” where the world felt full of new opportunities amidst so many unknowns, this year mirrors those characteristics. Seemingly there hasn’t been so much change and possibility all rolled up into one inconveniently undefined package delivered to my door. People who I thought would be around moved on, directions of things I thought would be one way have changed – ultimately in many ways for the better.

The INFP and Idealist in me is internally thriving in the “in-between” phase of the past and the unknown future. I love this space where the opportunity of something fresh and new can be created. However, this doesn’t mean I’m without questions or fear. I also want it to go well, perfectly even however perfect can be defined in these situations. Given how unrealistic that is, I need to forge ahead and do my best.

All of this change processing requires more time alone to figure things out. I remember spending a lot of time at 15 in my bedroom trying to figure out life and everything happening then, journaling my thoughts. I was optimistic then too, even when I was unsure of the “next thing.” Guess some things don’t change.

Welcome to “Career” 15 years old, me. There’s still a lot to figure out; you got this. You still look pretty good too for your age. You should thank your parents for good genes.

The Ache of Inaction

Too tired to care

The longer you’re in a state of inaction, the more difficult it is to get out of it.

Recenly, I’ve learned some lessons that can unfortunately only be learned with time. Over the last few months, I spent way too much sprawled out on my couch consuming too much Netflix.  I should’ve been exercising, reading books, or writing more on this blog.  I started noticing things in myself by the end of the summer both physically and mentally that gave me concern and an impetus to act.

Sitting or laying around for too long caused literal physical aches and soreness. Not only was I not hitting the gym or running outside to keep myself in good shape, my inactivity was discouraging me from even doing minimal stuff some days – and weeks. A similar challenge was affecting me mentally. Ideas that were trying to make their way out onto paper or blog were held back; books that were begging to be read were left on digital and physical bookshelves. Personal growth has been stunted by the amazing power of non-movement. You don’t realize what it can do you to emotionally until you’re snapped out of it and recognize that you’ve been missing out. Inertia is something that should never be underestimated.

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