Final Step – Dancing With Change

The steps of learning to Dance with Change:

One: Accept that which cannot be changed.

Two: Choose—will you dance or sit this one out?

Three: Determine how much of this new dance you already know.

Four: Determine your role—Lead or Follower?

Five: Focus on learning the new dance.

Six: Start with the frame—it’s everything.

Seven: If you step on anyone’s toes, apologize and keep dancing.

Eight: Find partners who are better at the dance than you and learn from them.

Nine: Once you’ve mastered the steps—practice, practice, practice!

Step Ten: Once you’ve mastered the dance, make it yours!

Step Eleven: Relax and enjoy!!

Once you’ve gone through all the steps, you have earned the right to have fun. Learning anything new can be a struggle.  Getting to the point where you have mastered it is where the fun begins.

No matter what you’ve learned—a new process, computer program, a better style of communication or a way to shave 10 minutes off your daily commute—if you don’t take time to enjoy it, what was the point?

This is where so many of us shortchange ourselves.  If you’re not experiencing a sense of satisfaction at work or at home, it is likely because you are not taking the time to relax and enjoy what you’ve accomplished.

We are a society of “What’s next?” and, although that’s certainly one reason we’ve accomplished so much, it’s also a big contributor to our growing sense of dissatisfaction.  Without taking time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, we live in a world of what’s not done instead of what is and that can only lead to frustration and a foreboding sense that somehow we are “not enough.”

What change have you recently adapted to that is worth celebrating?  Here are some examples to stimulate your party gene:

–  At work or at home did you have a day all planned out only to have it turned upside down by circumstances?  Did you STILL manage to accomplish good things? Then you adapted to a change. Celebrate!

–  Did you go into work with an expectation of a routine, fairly easy day only to have the phones ringing off the hook with customer demands? If you were able to get things accomplished, then you adapted to a change.  Celebrate! –  Did your commute present unexpected challenges?  If you arrived at your destination, even if late, you adapted to a change. Celebrate!

–  Have you, like so many of us, opened up an Internet program only to find the developers have made some more “improvements” (and without consulting you, no less!)?  If you’re still able to successfully use this program, then you adapted to a change. Celebrate!

We adapt to change every day. We are skilled at it.  Whether it’s a change in what our loved ones need or want from us, priorities at work, traffic detours on the way to work or something as simple as opening the refrigerator to discover you’ve run out of eggs, you are adapting as you go.  When you are able to recognize your own talent for adaptation, it becomes much easier to roll with the big changes that take place.   You become someone who responds smoothly to change instead of reacting.

Relax and enjoy! There are few emotions that feel better than satisfaction.  Each time you bask in your accomplishments, no matter their scope, you take one more step toward evolving into a master of change.

Relax and enjoy! Share your victories with others.  I had a wonderful talk with my dear friend Alice last night who lost her daughter to cancer a few years ago.  Our conversation was laced with her sharing some of the small victories she has managed despite her grief. For example, her daughter had always been the one who made a big deal out Alice’s birthday.  Knowing this, Alice made her own arrangements this year to be surrounded by people who know and love her best.  She was still saddened by the absence of her daughter but she adapted by making sure she was encircled with love.

Adapting isn’t always easy. Many changes are ones you would never have asked for if you had a vote. But, like Alice, you can take even the worst of circumstances and feel proud of how you are adapting.

You are the one in charge of how change impacts you. Allow me to suggest, one more time—when you have figured out how to get on the other side of a change—relax and enjoy!

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