“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
US artist (1928 – 1987)
Change. Some welcome it, some dread it, and some deny it. But eventually we all must accept it.
Change is the one constant we have in our lives. Business, the economy, shoes, our hairlines etc. all have that one thing in common. It can come in many forms, and is often thrust upon us when we least expect it. Sometimes it is as simple as adjusting the route you take to work every day. Other times it is as large or meaningful enough to require a complete transformation, be it our lives in general or our careers.
Change isn’t always “rainbows and unicorns.” It can be messy, crazy, and even ugly. It can give us the ultimate “life wedgy.” So how do we cope? “One day at a time” as the old cliché goes, and that’s not easy.
So why do some welcome change while others dread or deny it? For some it signifies “the changing of the guard,” or “a new/fresh start” for others it signifies “failure.” At the end of the day it is something that each of us must ask ourselves why we feel the way we do; how we deal with it will often determine how successful we are.
Recognizing and initiating meaningful change can be one of the hardest things a person can do. As I stated before, many view it as failure and will go out of their way to avoid and ignore it. While others will admit something needs to get done, but they will continue to do things as they were. These are the people that believe “denial” is just a river in Egypt. Getting them to recognize the need for change no matter how big or small is like trying to communicate with Broccoli. It ain’t happening folks.
One of the things that I have learned when life tries to hand me that “ultimate wedgy” is “go commando,” and accept what I can and can’t control about it. We can’t control everything in our lives or in a situation, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. However, when we come to grips with the fact that we can’t control everything, change doesn’t seem so bad.
I am currently working with someone, they didn’t hire me, who has yet to truly accept the need to initiate meaningful change in what they’re doing. It is frustrating at best and downright sad at the worst. They have been at this for over a year and still to this day insist they know what works. The sad truth is that it isn’t working and when that is pointed out to them they get defensive and deflect the issue to something else.
There have been 5-6 things identified that need to be addressed. They are in agreement with all of them but their actions with 2 shows just how deep they are in denial. The unfortunate thing is that they recognize that something needs to be done on 1 of those 2 but refuse to accept the recommendations. It is their steadfast belief that working harder on that point will turn it around. The reality is that no matter how much effort is put into it, it won’t “turn around.” The other of the 2 they put very little effort into even though it has been recommended that they focus more on it. Again, when this is pointed out they deny, deny, deny.
So can this really be defined as change? No. This is denial plain and simple.
I have been working with this individual for about 4 months now. They are good people and it saddens me because I want them to succeed. But I can’t get them to recognize the need for meaningful change, they have to recognize it; and at this stage that won’t happen until things have fallen completely apart. Even then, their level of denial is deep enough that they probably won’t recognize it.
So what do you do if you are in my situation? Do you walk away? Do you keep struggling on? Or do you simply watch the “accident happen”? It’s a tough call no matter what you decide.