Time for a little personal reflection on how we adapt to change. Change can rock our foundations, disorientate, and drain us. It can also re-energise, satisfy, and give us hope. Bizarrely we can often experience both at the same time.
Over the last two years I have been passing through some fairly dramatic changes. Some have been imposed upon me like the sudden death of both my parents. Other changes I have initiated, like moving out of a tight and dynamic team of social entrepreneurs to establish my own Leadership Consultancy. Mixed with this has been the decline locally of oil & gas production and how that’s impacted the nation of Scotland and in particular the North East. Launching a new business in a region that’s seen 120,000 job loses has certainly been stretching.
Most of this change began in me about 4 years ago and I described it then as being like a rose bush having its roots loosened. Back then I didn’t know what I would transition into I just knew that change, change, change was in my future. My drive to offer Executive Coaching and Leadership Development comes from a deep inner motivation to bring out the best in senior leaders who carry so much influence. I want to enable leaders to create a peaceful, prosperous and enriching society.
Over this last 2 years I have been surprised by the impact change has had on me. There have been times when I have been energised and known the dynamic highs of breakthrough with clients as they experience greater self-awareness, their confidence soars and they become transformational. Alternatively, there have been periods when I have been running on empty and feeling like I would never recover my mojo.
One model of change that’s help me navigate the change has been the Kubler-Ross Curve. This emerges from the field of grief counselling and although I can relate it to my own experience of bereavement it’s also incredibly relevant to leadership and business development. You too may identify with it.
I had to respond to the shock of my mother’s stroke and my father’s heart attack just eight weeks apart. No preparation for the parting and no opportunity to say goodbye. What surprised me the most as I spent frustrating days clearing the family home and particularly my father’s study was just how physically exhausted I was. In time that energy returned, adjustments were made in family relationships, and although there is still pain there is far more thanksgiving and hope.
As I have been building the Leadership Consultancy I have also been through the curve too. The initial excitement of launching my own company was soon tempered by the recognition that establishing new relationships of trust takes time. It may sound obvious but I’d been in an environment where people were always seeking me out. I’ve had to learn the resilience that comes with the reality that not every contact becomes a client.
I am learning to present myself with more clarity to those who might benefit from my skills and experience. I’m even more committed now to creating safe spaces where I can bring out the best in the leaders I encounter. I am passionate about developing the effectiveness of Senior Leadership Teams and get a real joy out of travelling alongside those who aspire to give of their best.
Strangely those who know me well assumed I would make the transition with ease however to achieve anything worthwhile takes dedication. When work has been thin you have times when you wonder if you will ever get this thing off the ground yet something deep within you tells you that the doors will open in time.
Am I there yet?
I am now climbing the curve as the business takes shape and gets established. I’ve learned about the importance of a clear and compelling vision, the need to be quietly determined and that I need to look after myself so that I can succeed over the long term. I’m building new networks and collaborating with those who share a similar passion and hopefully I can make a contribution to transform the workplace and release some beautiful leadership.
Where are you on the Change Curve? We’d all prefer to skip the tough part however that’s where the learning, the development and the maturing takes place. Wherever you are just now, know that if you keep your eyes on your purpose, affirm who you are, and what you can offer, in time that will be recognised and you will find your place.