“Its a dogs life” is a phrase that had it’s origin in the 16th century when dogs were expected to guard the home and surrounding community. Their lives were short due to the fact that they slept outside and were fed scraps of food. Life in those days for dogs was not good. It was far from the life of the present day canine friends we know and love. Today’s dogs are house pets. Well fed and groomed they sleep inside, often in our beds with us! They are treated better than they were centuries ago and live longer lives, indicating a big shift which involved embracing change. If someone now states that you have a “dogs life, it conjures up images of breakfast in bed, being pampered, laying around the house all day and in general living a good life. Change is not always a bad thing you see. Sometimes change can be downright necessary and great!
How we adapt to change is a different story. In Darwin’s words, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
To put it in human perspective, change is necessary when people face a discrepancy between what is expected and what is actually happening. This is called disruption. In order to properly adjust to this change, new expectations must be formed to suit the current conditions. It takes time and energy for these adaptations to occur and it is best accomplished when your mind, body and spirit are in alignment. You must Mentally acknowledge the situation and best practice of response. You must deal with the Emotional components of change such as anxiety, despondency, happiness, elation, fear, relief, etc. Physically your body will deal with the effects of stress, which may evidence itself in the form of headaches, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, tiredness, and nausea, to name a few.
For change to be beneficial, the people involved must possess sufficient energy to absorb and incorporate new behaviors and accompanying mindsets. This is referred to as the capacity necessary to absorb the disruption. There must also be resources available to implement the change. When the demand for change exceeds the ability to adapt, overload occurs. It often evidences itself in the form of dysfunctional behaviors. On a personal level this may equate to a breakdown in marital or parent-child relationships.
For an organization, staying relevant in today’s complex, dynamic and innovative marketplace requires new innovative, adaptive behaviors which embrace change. Change is important for any organization if they intend to retain their competitive edge and meet the needs of their steady customer base. To do otherwise would constitute failure. Organizations and people that embrace change, will weather the storms and make it through tough times. Those who are not resilient, will fail in the face of adversity.
Resiliency can be defined by the ability to effectively innovate, adapt and perform through a hardship. When stressed, resilient people and organizations may bounce back stronger instead of being hindered by their own inability to change. There are common characteristics of those that are resilient:
- They tend to be flexible and open to new approaches and ways of dealing with the situation at hand.
- They remain focused and are committed to open lines of communication.
- They foster a proactive climate which offers opportunities to learn and improve.
So before you go grab the proverbial bone, jump on the couch and curl up under the blankets remember one important thing: The days you are most satisfied are not the days you laid around and accomplished nothing. They are the days you rose to the challenge and accomplished great things.
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” -Paulo Coelho
Change is the only constant in life. Embrace it!
Photo credit: Daniela Balzano, multitalented folk artist and mother of two, resides in Guilford, Connecticut. She believes in kindness and compassion, eating chocolate at least once a day, and celebrating life through arts. Her work may be viewed at www.danielabalzano.com