Tag: The Future

Topic: How do you handle change?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

I thrive on Change.

I initiate it.

I get bored without it and then if things get too quiet, I initiate it some more.

I guess that makes me a change junkie.

But…I also like routine.  A small amount of routine to balance out all of the changes I create in my life.  Like when the dogs get fed each day;  or the way I like to have a cup of coffee in bed every morning before getting up, but then have to be fully dressed with make-up and jewelry on and bed made, before going back downstairs to start my day.

You know…the OCD kind of routine stuff.

I’m not a maniac or anything.  I’m just a weird kind of change junkie who also happens to like having things orderly around me.

And everything needs to move quickly.

I like my changes to happen fast.

(Clearly, that whole patience thing is not my strong suit)

I think it has to do with the fact that my hair grows really really fast.

I never worry about getting my hair cut (apparently some women absolutely flip out over the idea of cutting their hair!).  But my hair grows freakishly fast.  So when I get bored with my hair style (which happens every few months or so) and decide I need to get a new haircut (as soon as possible) – I just do it.  And if it ends up not being something that I like (which is rare because I have an amazing hair stylist)…I don’t freak out because I know it won’t take more than a few days (ok…maybe a couple of  weeks) before it grows back to where it started, and then I’ll get to change it again.

So I started to try to figure out if someone was a “change agent” or “change adverse” by figuring out if their hair grew quickly or not.  Typically I found that people with fast growing hair would accept and/or initiate change much better than someone whose hair took forever to grow back.

So I labeled it the “Speedy Hair Growth Theory.”

It totally makes sense.  If someone with slow growing hair gets a bad haircut, they’re totally traumatized because they know they’ll have to live with the results of that bad haircut forever…so they extrapolate that feeling into everything else and they become afraid of change!!

It’s brilliant.

Maybe my Speedy Hair Growth Theory is also the reason why I make decisions quickly.

Really quickly.  And most of the time it’s a good thing.  Once in awhile…I can jump a bit too quickly.

But that’s probably why I also get shit done.

You kind of have to like change, and be able to make decisions, in order to get shit done.

And that’s why I liked running my business.  It was in a constant state of change that required a million decisions as our services changed, our people changed, our operational models changed and our level of quality and expertise grew and evolved.

And I knew…if we didn’t change, we wouldn’t grow.  But we did grow.  And the business evolved into an amazing and successful company.  And then it sold.  And I was lucky enough to get the chance to change my life again, starting a whole new chapter in my life.

Initiating more changes as I go…and feeding my change junkie habit.

I approach change with a careful combination of stomachaches, nausea, and panic attacks.

Really, it’s a total party.

So I guess I’ll just say that change is kind of a bitch.

But really?  It’s not the change that’s tough.  Change is good.  Change is natural.

It’s what’s supposed to happen (because when things don’t change it’s just boring… and kind of pathetic).

What’s scary isn’t change itself, it’s The Unknown that gets me.  I hate The Unknown.

When I was a kid, every new experience was met with debilitating anxiety.  Why?  Well, other than the fact that I had (have) an (obvious) anxiety issue, it was because I didn’t know what would happen.

(This is where the stomachaches! and nausea! came into play.)

My mom would always tell me not to worry because, “Really?  What’s the worst that could happen?”

Well, Mother, I COULD DIE.

And my dad would tell me to stop worrying because it would eventually lead to an ulcer.

So not only did I worry about The Unknown, but also about the giant killer ulcer growing in my stomach.

(AWESOME.)

So instead of embracing change, my fight or flight response has been conditioned to kick into full flight mode whenever something new comes along.

But I’ve been trying to let that go.

Because change is good!

Without change I’d still be unemployed and broke.

(Now I’m just broke!)

Without change I wouldn’t be going to grad school in the fall.

(So I’ll be even more broke!)

Without change I wouldn’t be getting married!

(HAPPY FACE!)

I wouldn’t have bangs!

The Unknown is still scary (and I still get panic attacks), but at least I can appreciate it.  At least I can see the good that The Unknown can bring.

(Though if one of you can give me a cheat sheet for grad school, I’d really like that.)

My folks (especially my mom) had some very definite ideas about child rearing.  When my brother and I were young, there was a certain formality to the way things were done; how we were supposed to act; when we woke/ate/went to bed; and even how we were dressed – that was typical of the times.  Not surprisingly…our dad worked long hours in important jobs (of course), and mom ruled the home (and was the primary disciplinarian).

The “strict” nature of it all came in the form of discipline and manners.  My mom was a no nonsense woman when it came to her children behaving properly.  We were NEVER allowed to talk back, or (God Forbid) utter the word “No” to our parents…EVER.

Of course I tried it…once, and ended up with a mouth full of soapy water.   YUK.

From that point on, the threat of “don’t you say that – or use that tone – to me or I’ll wash your mouth out with soap and water” (lips pierced and wagging her finger at me) took on a true and ominous tone to which I would quickly back down (no matter what).

There were a few “spankings” along the way (until I got too big to fit across my mom’s lap and we both realized how silly the whole thing was) and more than a few banishings to my room.  But nothing much more in terms of actual “punishments.”

The worst was when my mom would get so mad at us that she would send us to our rooms and go to the kitchen and begin emptying the dishes (or pots) from the cabinets and begin washing them all by hand, while yelling at the top of her lungs (to nobody in particular) about how wrong/stupid/rotten we were on that particular occasion.

When the ranting began…we knew we had crossed the line.

As we got older, rules began to be placed on our comings and goings, and I started to feel the strict boundaries that my folks would place around me until I left for college.  You know…the regular things like curfews, restrictions on sleepovers, and the differences in “school day” activities vs. “weekend” activities.

The hardest was the curfew.  I HATED having to be home by 11:00 p.m. (on weekends!) all through high school, but I think I hated the “rationale” for the curfew more than the actual time I had to be home.

“Mom…why can’t I just stay out to midnight like everyone else!?!”

“Because I want to go to sleep at 11:00 and I can’t go to bed unless you’re home.”

“Sure you can…I don’t care if you’re up when I get home.”

I CARE”  “So you’ll be home at 11:00.”  “PERIOD.”

REALLY???? Can parents really get away with that?

You bet.  I did.  (More on that later)

I too was a stickler for discipline and manners (I am my mother’s daughter) as I wanted my kids to be polite and well behaved…mostly so that we could all go anywhere or do anything together without me having to worry whether or not the kids would act out (and because that’s how I was raised).

Oh they had their moments of bickering and snitty tones and slacking off around the house.

But I swear…they were amazingly good kids.

And sometimes I think it might have been despite my parenting.

I yelled a lot, especially when they were young.

I took the whole ranting thing I grew up with and raised it to an art form.  And I regret having yelled at them so much.

Because I think I scared them.

But as my kids aged…I think I figured out how to parent with a modicum of strictness (and yelling) mixed in with a healthy dose of humor and love.

But I still think I was pretty strict (mean).

They had curfews ‘til 11:00 on weekends too.  OK…Ally had it all through high school but I’m pretty sure we relaxed the rules when AJ got there (and I’m sure that inconsistency and lack of fairness will come back to bite me again and again…)

But I don’t think it ruined them.

They’re really wonderful people.

I’ve never been grounded.  (Really.)  But I don’t think that’s because my parents were especially lenient on anything – it was because I never did anything worthy of strict punishment.

I just chose to spend an incredible amount of time in my room.  I didn’t go out.  I didn’t run around after hours.  I didn’t lie.

And this didn’t happen because my parents were incredibly strict, either.

I was just a really, really good kid.

(I have sources to back me up on this.)

The truth is, I never had the desire to push their buttons or take advantage.

(Well, I didn’t really have a desire to actively push their buttons.  Like, I never took the car without asking or climbed out of the window in the middle of the night.  I’m sure I annoyed the hell out of them with the tantrums or typical teenage talking-back and bitching about things…)

I think that I would describe my parents as “laid back”.

They were our friends, but also clearly Mom and Dad.

They yelled sometimes, but I don’t look back on any of my childhood and think, damn, there was a lot of yelling.  I think yelling is just a part of every family.  And compared to other families I knew/know?  Our yelling was extremely tame.

They were never afraid to say “no”, but they chose to say “yes” a lot of the time.  And I think that’s the important part: saying “no” isn’t a bad thing.  Saying “no” is necessary, especially when a kid is young.  I see kids who have zero respect for their folks, and I can’t help but think that it has something to do with how much their parents let them get away with, especially when they’re young.

(I’m not saying to go all Tiger Mom on kids, either, but I think that there’s a balance.)

(My parents were pros at finding that balance.)

I had the normal rules that all kids have.  No making a mess in public, no talking back (I actually did break that rule a lot), manners, curfews…

If I ever had royally screwed up or pushed some boundaries or broken a single rule, then I assume my parents would have punished me in a traditional way (no TV, extra chores…).  Nothing too severe, but I doubt they would have let me off the hook.

When it came down to it, I just never, ever wanted to disappoint them.  I don’t know if that’s something that’s just a part of me – as a person – or if they ingrained that in me from the beginning.

(Maybe they hypnotized me as an infant or something…)

Either way, I’m very happy with how my parents raised me.

(I’m not just saying that.)

If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to raise my own kids in a similar manner.

I want to be friends with my kids, but I also don’t want to let them walk all over me.  I know it’s not easy to pull off, but – lucky me – I’ve got some great teachers.

(Seriously, I’m not just saying that.)

(Or, you know, maybe I just got so traumatized that I’ve blocked a bunch of horrible things out… I guess that’s always a possibility.)

I don’t make Resolutions anymore.

I used to. I used to make them in earnest and work really hard at following through on them, but I always peetered out after about, oh like 10 days, and would then feel like an utter failure.

So I stopped.

Because I HATE to fail.

And it was a stupid thing to do to myself.

But I DO like to set goals and accomplish things, so now I wait about 10 days until the resolution hubbub dies down and then I figure out what I want to accomplish for the foreseeable future, and set out to do those things.

But they’re NOT resolutions.

They’re just things I put on the calendar to get done (or get to do).

I’m ALL ABOUT putting things on the calendar.

I’ve come to understand that unless I make a date (plan, commitment, pledge – whatever you want to call it) to do something, the days and weeks and months will pass by aimlessly, and I’ll find that I forgot (avoided, procrastinated) to do whatever I thought I wanted to do.

So I get it on the calendar.

Somehow, if it’s on the calendar, I feel like I have to follow through with it.

Not on the calendar…I don’t go.  But if I put it on the calendar that I’m going to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday of this week…at 9:00 a.m., then I do it.

“Go camping”

When for God’s sake?  On July 14th – cool…we’re goin camping!!!

“Lose 10 pounds”

Really?  By when?…by March 12th – cool…I have 10 weeks to do it, and I swear I can lose that damned 10 pounds (even though I might spend the next 10 weeks gaining it right back).

I guess I’m just organized (anal compulsive).

Or…I have severe memory loss and can’t remember what I want to do unless it’s written down for me in an organized manner…on a daily basis.

So, even though it’s not past the 10 day mark yet…and resolutions are still hot in the air, I have a few things on the calendar for the month.

  • Go to the gym (Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays @ 9:30) for the next 4 weeks.
  • Lose that damn 5 pounds I just put on over the last 4 weeks (going to the gym 3 days a week should get that done!).
  • Resume my dance lessons with Matthew on Tuesday nights.

Whew.

I feel like I’m getting stuff done already!

And since it’s on the calendar (I really put it all on the calendar as I was writing this)…then I know I’ll follow through.

No, because resolutions suck.

Any resolutions I’ve ever made have failed.  Do I want to work out and lose weight?  Hell yes.  Does me resolving to do so actually lead to a lower resting heart rate and baggier clothes?  Nope.

Any January 1st that I’ve made a resolution, I’ve felt like a failure by March February the following Thursday.

The closest I’ve ever come to actually following through on a resolution was last year.  I wanted to read 50 books.  I got to 47.  Even though I read a lot, and came very close to my goal, I still felt like a failure.

Since I’ve never actually followed through on my resolutions, I can only assume that I’m doing it wrong.  So this year, I’m making resolutions that I know I’ll keep and do a damn fine job at:

  • I will pet the dogs.
  • I will wear my seat belt.
  • I will brush my teeth.
  • I will brush my hair.
  • I will drink water on a regular basis.
  • I will eat as many pomegranates as humanly possible.
  • I will take my contacts out before bed.
  • I will take naps.
  • I will wear pajama pants on my days off.
  • I will eat some chocolate.
  • I will try really hard not to sneeze or cough on anyone, but I make no guarantees.
  • I will actually put the new roll of toilet paper on the holder instead of just setting it next to the holder.  Wait… I don’t think I can commit to that.

I’ve already accomplished all most some of these!  Hell, I’ve already accomplished a lot of them todayGo me.

(Note that I’m not putting any qualifiers on these.  If I fall asleep in my contacts one night, I will not consider the year a failure.  I figure this way, there’s no way that 2011 can’t be a success.)

Of course, I’m guessing the year will consist of more accomplishments than just the above (at least I hope so), but I’ll just wait and see (and be excited) when that happens.