Change is a funny thing. As fervently as we embrace it we seem also to have a natural resistance to it. It’s scary, yet exciting; we need the new yet often cling to the familiar. If each of us possesses this natural love/hate relationship with change, imagine how it impacts the people in our lives.
Change very often makes the people around us uncomfortable. The overweight spouse who embarks on a health overhaul, the needy sibling who begins to take charge of their life, the quiet colleague that becomes bold about contributing ideas and standing up to peers. All of these changes can provoke chaos in the surrounding environment.
While you may be embracing change as growth and forward momentum, those around you may see it as a threat to their position or relationship with you. Ultimately, it’s not your change they are really resisting but how that change will affect them. They respond by trying to defend against the “attack” to protect their own comfort zone.
Those who fear change may unintentionally sabotage your growth. That resistance can sometimes derail your good intentions.
In business, I have personally watched leaders hindered in their growth by the fans that surrounded them. New ideas and behaviors were shot down in an effort to “protect” the leader from making mistakes. The leaders remained stuck in patterns that no longer worked encouraged by loyalists who were afraid that change would leave no room for them.
So, how do you balance the complexity of change without alienating everyone around you?
Acknowledge that not everyone will grab their pom poms and cheer the new you. Change is hard! Be sensitive, but firm in your desire to grow. As I pondered these thoughts on Facebook this week I noted that there are those who may be left behind. I was struck by the very wise words of Kevin Buck which sums it up beautifully:
“As you walk with integrity and a prophetic voice, the community you attract shifts with your transformation.”
Yes, you may lose some people along the way but your transformation will attract new people who will be aligned with who you are and more importantly who you are becoming.
When the resistance is from loved ones, reassure them of their place in your life. People that love you will come around in their own time and in their own way.
The important thing is to be true to yourself and your calling. While our human nature may resist change, without it we will wither and die.
Have you ever encountered resistance to change? How did you handle it?
-Karen D. Swim
© 2009 Empowering Potential LLC.