Learning to Deal With Change

Stop for a moment and think to yourself, What makes me truly happy?

For some of us, it’s our lifestyle, or our relationships. For others, it might be financial success or recognition by our peers. No matter what it is that we value, once we’ve gotten it we naturally want to keep it, but like it or not, our situations will change.

Dr. Spencer Johnson explores effective ways of dealing with personal and professional change in his lighthearted yet thought-provoking book, “Who Moved My Cheese?”. Published in 1998, this entertaining best-seller presents an effective set of solutions for achieving success and happiness in an uncertain world.

The Parable

The story begins as group of old friends meet after a high school reunion to discuss the changes in their lives. One of them tells the tale of two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two people, Hem and Haw, who woke up one day to discover that the sustaining supply of cheese they had found in the fictional maze they shared was gone.

As their names suggest, the mice represent creatures of instinct and action. Having observed that the cheese supply had deteriorated over time and was dwindling, they were not surprised to find it gone. So with Sniff providing direction and Scurry in the lead, the team rushed off to search the maze for a new source of cheese.

How do you suppose Hem and Haw reacted?

Burdened with the human baggage of emotion and belief systems, they had grown complacent and entitled and ignored the subtle, yet tell-tale differences in the quality and quantity of the cheese. When their old, familiar cheese was gone, they reacted with shock, anger, sadness and paralyzing fear.

The Writing on the Wall

Unlike the mice, Hem and Haw were divided over how to handle change. Hem resisted change out of fear, but Haw’s fear finally inspired him to act before things got worse. He assessed the situation and wrote down his observations on the walls of the maze as he set out to find new cheese. Maybe Hem would see the messages and decide to follow. Maybe not. Sometimes, for our own good we must walk away from the negativity that holds us back.

The Moral

Change will happen. Expect it and pay attention to your surroundings. Often, small changes will precede larger ones.

When change happens don’t wait to take action. Let go of the old situation and ways of thinking so that you can quickly embrace the new.

Don’t let fear of failure prevent you from moving out of your comfort zone. Instead, look forward to enjoying the new opportunities that change will bring. In the words of Dr. Spencer. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Need help finding your cheese? Contact us at Real Balance Business Consulting for specialty business coaching & mentoring services. You’re passionate about your business. Our passion is helping you make meaningful change to your life.

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