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Crossing the chasm of risk while embracing change!

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 15/03/2016 Renate Cunneen

Change seems to strike fear in the hearts of so many of us. Changing our homes, our schedules, our relationships, our jobs, are all things we avoid if we can. For me, the greatest recent change has been to accept a new role with a company that is undergoing extreme change whereas my present company has been like a old cozy worn out cardigan. Everyone loves their old cozy worn out cardigan...darn it's hard to throw that old thing away. It isn't perfect but it's still got a button or two left. At what stage do you finally throw it out?
I started to think about change well over 2 years ago. I worked on a team of 3 whose jobs were very similar in nature. HR at the time restructured and promoted 2 of the 3 of us. I was not one of the three. My mind and heart raced, I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach. My boss told me it was due to my portfolio not having as big of a spend as the other 2 and the fact that I was only 10 months into my role; My contracts were worth about $50MM annually (about $20MM lower than the other two team members portfolio's).
All I could think of was that I managed two businesses with completely different contracts and platforms between the US and Canada which meant; I had double the meetings, double the audit asks, double the invoicing, double the client relationships to navigate, double the contracts to negotiate...double everything in the same amount of time.
I went to my boss; I pleaded my case...more than once. I was not going to let this go. I heard and felt many different things that made me know even way back then (over 2 years ago) that I was 'out.' I felt as though I was not valued, that my work was not recognized, did anyone actually know the scope of my role? I see now that in part this is my own fault. You have to toot your own horn; no one will do it for you. If you pick up extra work ensure it's shared in a weekly update document with your boss, keep a ledger of your accomplishments. No one else is tracking your progress or work load. You, and you alone, are your own best advocate.
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This experience led me to read a book called;Who Moved My Cheese. This book was one of the motivators that aided my decision to leave my present company of 8 years to branch out into a new unknown realm.
In the bookWho Moved My Cheese, cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life - whether it's a good job, a loving relationship, money or spiritual peace of mind. Cheese is what we think will make us happy, and when circumstances take it away, different people deal with change in different ways. The key is to understand how you deal with change and what you will do moving forward.
Here are the key pieces of wisdom I gained from Who Moved My Cheese;
•Anticipate and enjoy change
•Adapt quickly
•Be ready to change quickly, again and again
•The more important your (relationship, job, home) is to you; the more you want to hold on to it
•If you do not change, you risk becoming extinct (i.e. losing your job in a changing organization)
•Ask yourself "what would I do if I weren't afraid?"
•Really smell the cheese often to know if it's getting old - listen to your gut feelings
•Movement in a new direction helps you find new growth
•When you move beyond your fear, you feel free
•Imagining and visualizing yourself in a new job, even before you find it, will lead you there
•Old beliefs do not lead to new experiences
•When you see that you can find and enjoy new experiences you change course
•The quicker you let go of the old the sooner you will find the new
I will tell you that I did get that sought after promotion...however, my cheese was stale by that point and no amount of searching could bring it back. I wanted new cheese.
Today I have learned a valuable lesson; recognize when your cheese has been moved even if it comes back temporarily, is it really what you wanted in the first place and when will it be moved again?
Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.

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