These words are written on the wall in the back of my office. It’s a vital rule for anyone in the technology industry to live by. Our field changes so fast; if we aren’t ready to embrace those changes, we’re going to go extinct. But embracing change isn’t just for the tech industry. We could all stand to be better about facing change rather than resisting it.
That’s Your Story
Years ago, I read “Who Would You Be Without Your Story?” by Byron Katie. In this book, she shares an encounter she had with a man who was dying of brain cancer. This man was miserable. He’d lost an eye, his wife was unhappy, and his kids had stopped coming to visit him. When Katie sat down with him, all he did was complain. Finally, she asked, “If you could rewrite your story, what would you say?”
“I have a short timespan on Earth, so I better make the most of it,” he replied. “The people I’m leaving behind will miss me, so I would be more optimistic and less ungrateful. I’d hope that the cancer would go away. My wife would be happier, and my kids would see me more.”
“What’s stopping you?” Katie asked.
This story really stuck with me. We have the power to change so much in our lives. Our mental strength to overcome hardships is incredible. But often, we don’t use that power because the idea of changing is scary. Change is unfamiliar, and it means a different story. Many people don’t know who they would be without their current story, so they resist change.
Face Your Fears
Resisting change comes from a place of fear. Fear is a selfish emotion. When we act on selfish emotions, we fall into destructive behaviors that hurt ourselves and those around us. In order to avoid selfish emotions, there are three cardinal rules I live my life by:
• Never complain
• Never blame
• Never explain
Complaining about your situation, blaming others, or explaining and making excuses doesn’t do anyone any good. They’re all reactions based on fear.
I want to be clear that when I say I “never explain,” it doesn’t mean I leave out important information. If my son needs help with something or a client wants to know why we recommend a certain system, I’m going to explain it to them. However, if I’m late for an important meeting, I’m not going to say, “Oh traffic was terrible, and my car wouldn’t start.” I’ll apologize for the delay and move on. When you explain, it should always be to find an answer, not to defend yourself.
Tug of War
I wasn’t always so open about embracing change. To be completely honest, it was a skill I had to develop when going through my divorce. That was a tough time. Anyone who’s been through a rough divorce knows how every day feels like a battle. It’s scary, so you dig your heels in and refuse to budge. Eventually, I realized I didn’t want to be fearful, and I didn’t want to keep fighting.
You can’t have a game of tug of war if one person refuses to pull the rope back. When you let go, you’re free to move on. I did the divorce equivalent of letting go of the rope. I’m not going to claim that everything was sunshine and daisies after that, but today, my life is great. I have a good relationship with my kids, and I learned how to embrace change instead of letting it scare me.
Embracing change isn’t as easy as saying, “I’m cool with change now!” You have to commit to putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and letting go of the familiar. Things will always change, whether we want them to or not. The question is, will we change with them for the better?
Thanks for reading,
Randy Sklar, CEO
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