What have smashing my phone and replacing a fridge got in common? Change, my dear, it’s all about change
I can see the exact moment the accident happened very clearly in my head, it replays several times, almost in slow motion and, each time it gets worse and worse…NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Let me explain, don’t worry, it’s nothing serious (well, depends on your definition of serious).
So, travel back in time with me to yesterday, when I was rushing to get out of my flat. I had my keys in my right hand, a bag and my phone in the left, and as I tried to lock the door, I realised the catch was caught and so it needed some extra oomph…
Oh dear, I wish I hadn’t done that, for at that exact moment, my phone slipped from my hand and spun precariously through the air before smacking straight down on its glass front. I didn’t need the accompanying ‘kersplunk’ sound to know that all was not right.
Flipping it over, I could see the little chips and a small crack in the screen that were the result of my haste. “Agggh, my poor baby! What am I to do?”
Here’s the thing though, because it’s a high-quality, durable product, it still works absolutely fine. It’s actually only a cosmetic problem (it doesn’t look as shiny and new any more, that’s all)…however try telling that to my brain.
Over the last 24 hours, I keep thinking back to the incident, “what might I have done differently?”, about how ‘terrible’ this feels, about thinking “maybe it’s not that bad”, about “maybe I should buy a new one” and so many other random thoughts. I can’t seem to stop thinking about it; which is ridiculous as it’s only a ruddy phone.
It was exactly the same 2 weeks ago when I had a new fridge delivered (fans of my blog may recall the disruption that little adventure caused me); the new fridge, although 100% brand-new, was actually smaller and of lower quality than my old fridge and I felt like I’d suffered a loss compared to the previous one; that too kept occupying my mind.
It’s really not about the phone or the fridge; it’s about adapting to change. It could almost be anything really, as soon as we experience change, our mind gets obsessed with it. We may go through all the different emotions of a kubler-ross curve or we might dwell on one particular feature, but we all go through it and it takes up our time.
In fact, even knowing about this effect doesn’t stop me being subjected to it. What fascinates me though is just how much the adaptation to change can dull our effectiveness until such a point that we get through to the acceptance phase - in my case this meant that most of my work today has been impacted as my mind keeps going back to that fated moment of dropping my phone.
As a strategist who runs a company that is all about making businesses and individuals more effective, I’m fascinated in this impact on effectiveness.
I can’t necessarily stop the change from happening or my reaction to change but I have developed 5 ways to help me get through the change curve more quickly to get back to my super effective ways.
- I let myself have a period of vocal, excessive venting - best to get it out of the system but that’s it
- I look at what hasn’t changed as much as what has changed - in the case of the phone: it could still make calls, it could still send messages, it could still surf the web, in fact it still worked 100% for all my requirement, not to mention that the back was the same, it hadn’t lost it’s shape or become dangerous to hold….the list goes on
- I ask myself: “If you only had one wish in the world, would you use it on stopping this change happening?” - you’ll be amazed at how much this puts things into persepective
- I unleash my positive creativity and list 3-5 good things about the change - In the case of the phone: I now have a topic for a blog, my phone is now easier to differentiate from others, I now definitely can consider treating myself to a new phone next year, I now believe all the marketing stuff about Samsung phones being indestructible,…
- I mark a date in my diary to celebrate the anniversary of the change - it could be one week, one month, one year (depending on how big the change is). I put that in my diary and then laugh about it when it comes up and realise just how minor it now seems
I use these techniques regularly with teams to unleash their strategic effectiveness (after all adapting to change reduces your focus quotient) and they genuinely work.
Feel free to give these a go and let me know if they work for you. Either way, if anyone wants to but a chipped phone then I may just be open to offers ;)