Change, Stretch and Grow!

Spring has begun and once again CHANGE is occurring, whether we like it or not. And I am sure after the Winter just endured by most….that change is welcomed! Now, wouldn’t it be nice if we held that attitude more often? After all, change is inevitable. We can fight it or embrace it. I have been speaking to and about change so much this past six months, I decided to rerun a past article, with a few tweaks or…changes, lol. It seems like the perfect time to revisit this topic!

Change can seem scary and if we think about it long enough and rationalize it to the ultimate degree….unnecessary. Thinks are fine the way they are now. My response to that would be, “Things are and will be fine for how long?”. Without change there can be very little growth either personally or professionally. Can it happen? Yes. But at a very small, measured pace and purely by circumstances thrown your way. Let’s examine further.

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Change
1. It’s safe.
2. It’s familiar just where I am NOW.
3. It doesn’t stress me out.
4. I know how to “do it”.
5. I am good at it.
6. No extra effort is needed; just put it on auto-pilot.
7. It doesn’t require a lot of thought on my part.
8. I haven’t had any complaints!
9. We’ve been doing good just the way we are now.
10. AND….If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!

Change, Stretch and Grow!

Be honest and ask yourself if any of this ever rings true for you. It certainly has for me throughout my working career and throughout my life as well. Some of us are more open to change than others. That’s just the way we are hard-wired. And some of us like TOO much change. Change just for the sake of change or simply from shear boredom can be even more destructive than no change at all.

It’s a well-known and obvious fact that the speed of change today is at an all-time high for pace and frequency of change. Accept it. It is NOT going away or going to slow down. And while it can be stressful to be caught up in that, much good can come from shifting our viewpoint and trying to become a more active participant in change, both at work and personally. After all, if we don’t we are simply going to be left behind. And when in the business world, if we don’t frequently review, plan and alter our businesses one of our competitors will or has already done so.

I am constantly reminded when I venture out into new territory how much change can be a good thing for us. Exhausting at times. Daunting? No doubt. Scary….you bet! But once we make it through to the other side and look back at where we were and where we are now after having gone through that change process, it feels GREAT! And that process has undoubtedly made us stretch outside our comfort zone, tested our self-imposed limits and helped us grow.

Bear with me as I share a small, short story that prompted me to write this article. It came to light while on a vacation a few years ago in the mountains of Colorado, prior to my move back here. On my second day in Breckenridge I decided to check out a new area for a “little day hike”. On the web site, it appeared to be a reasonable 7-mile hike round trip with great scenery, a well-defined path and probably very few people to encounter. Perfect for me! While I had checked it out on a web site for that area in Summit County, I had NOT printed out the maps or directions. It seemed simple enough. Sooooo…off I went on a supposed recreational hike and then back for a late lunch in the town of Frisco. Well….not exactly!

At the 3 to 3.5 mile mark after some steeper and rockier than expected terrain along a gorgeous river valley I came to the infamous fork in the road. To my recollection, it was just about 1.5 miles more and I would reach the end of the hike I had planned. Just turn right, follow the Gore Range Trail and in about another hour, voila. Then head back down a happy guy. Almost immediately the trail became MUCH steeper, narrower and as time went by a little treacherous in spots. Up and up I went, reading the instructions I had handwritten before heading out. Finally, after one more meadow with more and more altitude gain and a trail that never ends, I stubbornly had to admit it was time to give up. I must be lost. I was!! So, back down I went hoping to be at the bottom in an hour or so. Of course, I ran out of water and food and didn’t have my watch, was in “No Service” on my smart phone, etc. etc. Exhausted, I made my way back finally encountering one local on his way up. When chatting briefly and asking for the time I realized he was the first human being I had seen in well over four hours. Yikes! Six and a half hours from the time I started, I made it back to the parking lot. And right there was a U.S Forestry map and trail write up in black and white on the sign board heading through the gate. I had just gone approximately 12-14 miles round trip, with a supposed altitude gain of probably 2500+ feet and was heading for the base of a 13,300′ peak out in a wilderness area designated for 3 to 4-day backpack trips. No wonder I was wiped out! BUT…I learned a lot in the process.

I learned once again that my own limits and capabilities are much greater than I thought they were, both physically and mentally. I certainly had to tap into both to get through that experience with nothing more than a big blister on my foot. I was reminded that all of us are capable of more if a challenge is put in front of us, expected or not. It served as a great reminder that even the best laid plans sometimes go off track and we need to be flexible, sometimes steely in our determination, slow down and think a new plan or path through rationally and unemotionally to get on the correct path and reach our ultimate goal. And that we are capable of SO much more than we think we are actually. Once through it, I felt more empowered, like I had really accomplished something I really had no idea I could or would. And it made me immediately start to think of other ways to feel that same thing and that same flush of success in the process, both professionally and personally. I hope you decide to stretch your limits and grow, too. Color outside the lines. Take some chances. But have an outcome in mind. In other words, don’t be afraid to CHANGE, STRETCH and GROW in the process.

It’s worth it!

Dave G