The Emotional Side Of Change

Over my 18 years in professional speaking and training, people have shared with me any number of actions they have taken as a result of my comments or my writing. Some have realized the need to take their current job more seriously and work to get better results. Others have saved a failing marriage or started taking better care of their health. I am humbled by the list, and always hope that people are able to experience more of what life has to offer after an interaction with me.

I have to admit, then, that I was a taken a little off guard when the owner of a business wrote me after a conference where I spoke and said that one of his employees, (who was also at the conference) responded to my presentation by telling him a couple days later that they were leaving the company. They felt that they needed to shift their priorities and leaving the job would help them focus more time on what was important to them. I am thankful that the owner is still speaking to me.

The bedrock foundation of my work has always been that people should live by their values and seek to align what they SAY is important with what they actually DO on a daily basis. I also believe that an employee who consistently sees their job in conflict with living out those values and priorities is not giving 100% at work.

With that in mind, I also belive that people sometimes jump too quickly when they see their job (or a relationship or a difficult situation) in conflict with living out their values. Emotion is a double edged sword and used unwisely can cause us to make decisions we may regret later.

In the situation with this owner and his employee, I certainly don't know the circumstances well enough to make a comment about the validity of their actions. If, however, you or someone you know is contemplating a major change, may I suggest some of the following questions to honestly answer before taking action:

  • What is driving your desire to make this change?
  • What are the pros/cons of making the change? Will the "cons" produce more stress than you currently have?
  • List 3-4 reasons you want to make the change. Now think of 2-3 people you most admire in this world. Would they agree with your reasoning?
  • Who have you talked to for advice/counsel? Just people who agree with you, or people who have differing thoughts and perspectives?
  • It's now 1 year into the future. How will your work/life be better because of the change you made a year ago?

These questions aren't the only ones to ask. But they will at least insure that you aren't acting purely on emotion.