So that we might better experience and live Mackey Advisors’ values, Grace decided we would do an exercise about 1 value a week for the next 10 weeks. To make it even more interesting, each team member had to choose a value and present an interactive lesson about it.
I chose Embracing Innovation and Change. My initial reaction was that these values are as important to me as breathing. Innovation and Change are like the icing that makes the cake worth eating. Yet, as I tried to be really honest with myself, I realized that I have sometimes embraced change and other times resisted it. Change can be scary. It creates new, unknown things. It is hard to feel safe and secure when you are in the midst of a big change.
I started my quest for ideas for my presentation by thinking back to all the things that have become obsolete since I began my professional career, like typewriters, columnar paper, rotary phones and the like. However, my team is mostly under 35 so I wondered whether they would relate to these ideas. So I asked my husband, “If you were presenting on change, what would you do?” He said, “I would talk about the Luddites.”
What is a Luddite? Since I had never heard of this term I quickly got out my ipad and Googled (a new verb) it. I learned that this was a movement against the mechanization of textile factories in 1811. As I read about the Luddites and their quest to keep change from happening in the factories, I was struck by how futile their efforts ultimately were.
The world is ever evolving. We don’t go back, we are always moving forward.
The image that came to me as I read about the Luddites is that change is like a river; if you are one with change, you are float freely down the river at the same speed as the current. You have uncertainty as to the bumps, challenges or opportunities ahead. Alternatively, you can resist change and stand still in the river. Eventually the river of change will wear down anything in the path of the current, just like the economic power of the mechanized looms eventually wore the Luddites down.
In every moment, you have this choice. The choice to resist change and spend your energy on trying to stand firm or swim upstream as the river pushes against you. You’ll tire and eventually be swept away in a rush.
On the other hand, you can become one with change. You can build a raft, get out your life jacket, load the boat with supplies and with those you want to take with you, and embrace the unknown. Then you can float down the river, celebrating the adventure and finding the opportunities around each bend.
The difference between resistance and going with the flow is something I call faith, courage or bravery. Whatever you call it, it comes from within. It is the ability to listen to your inner voice and do what is needed in each moment, whether that is building a raft, gathering resources, learning new things, or taking action.
Are you ready to float down the river of change yet? It not, listen to this song, and see if it strengthens your courage. Embrace innovation and change. Life offers this opportunity in every moment. Climb in, hang on and enjoy the ride.