I like to think I embrace change. For the most part I do. But, hanging with my wife at the hospital last week reminded me about a dynamic that inhibits one’s willingness to change.
Uncertainty impacts a willingness to change.
Jenny had been in the hospital for six days. Despite a rocky start, we had gotten comfortable with the nursing team serving her. Rapport had been established. We liked them. They liked us.
It was decided that surgery was required. And, after surgery, we would be transferred to another floor.
Our initial response was, “Please, no!” We were in an uncomfortable place and we had been made comfortable. The prospect of changing made us all uneasy. We asked for reconsideration.
The answer came back: “The different floor will be better prepared to handle your health concerns post surgery. You will need to move.”
So, move we did. They were right. It was better. We developed new attachments. It turned out fine.
I learned a couple of things:
- When I propose change, I need to be aware that I probably am introducing stress or adding stress to an already stressful situation.I can get frustrated when change is resisted. As a proposer of change, I need to stand ready to endure the uneasiness of those changing instead of condemning it. It’s natural to resist.
- When I’m proposing change, I need to be prepared to make the case for change. In this situation, the right care for the right situation was the driving force. We liked where we were. But, the logic of enduring some emotional discomfort to get well won the day. When proposing change, I need to be able to make the case for enduring the discomfort.
- When encountering change, I need to be able to wade through the initial resistance reaction. It’s completely natural. But, when it comes to change, if I only trust the initial emotional response I will miss the opportunity for constructive developments. Change requires patient consideration. It requires a regard for the bigger picture, the longer term and the end game.To be sure, your “gut” and emotions matter when considering change. But, facts matter. Expertise matters.
- When encountering change, I need to consider who’s proposing it, their motives, their experience and their knowledge. In our case, the proposers knew better. We were wise to follow their lead.
I realize I initiate change more than have it proposed to me. I’ll be more thoughtful as a “change agent” in the future.
By the way, my wife is much improved. I’ve received many kind words of concern. We appreciate it more than you can know. We hope to have her home from the hospital soon.