“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~Mary Engelbreit
Change – for some a “four letter word”. Change can create fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It is an emotional experience. Many of us approach change with a negative view, ignoring the positive growth that may come. Change happens every day, all around us. Rule changes, procedural changes – even simple schedule changes – and in order to survive, we must adapt and accept the changes. I think there are a few of us who remember – typewriters! Legal size paper! And of course, the days before efiling (I can still hear the grumbles that echoed when that started). More often than not, once the mindset is adjusted to accept the new change, we wonder why it took so long.
Perhaps the fear of change is really a fear of loss – because even “good ” change brings about loss – the loss of something familiar, the loss of autonomy, the loss of relationships. Having worked in one law office for over 14 years, making a decision to ‘change’ jobs was difficult, challenging and yes, a little scary. But what I discovered was there are other ways of doing things, new insights to be gained and personal growth to be experienced. Viewing change as an opportunity – a chance to evolve and grow – lessens the fear.
Change is all around us. New faces come to JW and with them, new ideas, new ways of looking at things. Our technology changes on practically a daily basis. I remember talking with my mother about 25 years ago and marveling at the changes her father had experienced in his lifetime. He came to America from a tiny village in Ukraine in 1909, in the steerage compartment of a huge ship with his mother and sister to be reunited with his father, who came to America first. When my Grandpa passed away in 1989, he had in his lifetime seen people travel everywhere by ship, then by airplane, to Europe by a jet traveling so fast it could go from New York to London in 3 hours, and a man had even walked on the moon. Computers were becoming a part of everyday life and we were on the verge of the world wide web, leading to globalization in its earliest forms. I thought perhaps change would not occur so quickly in my lifetime. Silly me.
In 1989 facsimile machines were becoming common in law firms. I thought they were horrible and created a false sense of urgency. Little did I know that email was just around the corner and would be much faster. Be sure you don’t click “send” until you have proofread your words and ensured they would not come back to bite you because in a nanosecond, it is out there for the recipient to see. And God forbid you click “reply all” instead of “reply.” When computers first came to our desks, the change was frightening and many fought against it. Soon it became apparent those computers would make our lives so much easier, our production so much faster, and far more accurate.
Change may not always be seen immediately as good, but given time, those changes could provide us with a path to performing our jobs so much better. Who wants to go back to typewriters and mimeographs, carbon paper and erasers? Leave fear behind and embrace change!
Remember, if nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.