Change management has had an impact on me

Although my passion for change management did not begin until I began studying the theory and models of change management in graduate school, I look back on my life and realize that I have experienced varying degrees of it in my professional and personal lives.  As I reflect on various events in my own life, change management has indeed had an impact on me. Managing change touches all of us in some way.

My Professional Life

My entire professional life has been spent in an industry which is very static and slow-moving. It can sometimes be marked by legacy business processes and systems.  Because validity and accuracy are so critical to the end user, implementing any change can be very difficult. Change sometimes may not happen quickly enough to keep pace with the market.  No matter how minor the change, the industry is extremely risk-averse.  In addition, some organizations have employees with a great deal of longevity. Their current employer is the sole one of their adult working lives.

Throughout my career, I have frequently heard clichés which for me is like someone running their fingernails down a whiteboard. That is, “We do it this way because it has always been done this way.” Or,  “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”  At various stages of my career, I have constantly challenged and will continue to challenge that premise. As to me, it is nothing but fear of the unknown and change.  If people just do some brainstorming and proper planning, change can happen and will be for the better. But everyone has to serve as a change agent, be an active participant, and be willing to accept any adverse consequences.  I have called and will continue to call taking risks as simply the price of doing business in any industry.

Personal and Family Life

Even as a child, change management touched my life in many respects.  One way was academically as I excelled through each grade level.  Constantly learning new things and being challenged by new or more complex subject matter.  Also, during my childhood, the loss of my grandparents was a huge change to the family dynamic. On both my father’s and mother’s sides of the family, my grandparents served as the nucleus. They were the central gathering place for my immediate family, my aunts, uncles and cousins.  Looking back, it amazes me how much their loss changed the family dynamic.

College was a significant change to manage since I had to learn how to balance my time. This was because of the variety and pace of my class schedule as well as the significantly larger workload.  In addition, I had to balance my studies with social events and extracurricular activities.  I also had new tasks which I had to be responsible for since I lived away from home.

The sudden loss of my father in my early twenties was one of the most significant and impactful changes in my life.  As I had to adjust to his passing and cope emotionally, I also had to be there in support of my immediate members in one of the most difficult times of our lives.

My Hobbies

As an avid reader, I continue to be in awe at how much every book I read changes and shapes me intellectually.  With each book, I learn more in general and about myself, as well as fueling my passion for lifelong learning.

In my admiration and passion for collecting antiques, I often browse through antique shops, admiring different pieces.  As I look around at an item, I wonder who owned it, what type of lives they led, where they were from and if they even have current, living relatives.  I also look at each piece and am amazed by the purpose of the item; whether it still exists in a more modern version or I ponder on the fact that if it is no longer made or used, why that is the case.  With some artefacts, I often think about the great impact technology has had on peoples’ lifestyles over the decades, changing the way people perform tasks, streamlining business processes and providing convenience to our lives on a personal level.

One of the periods I have always been interested in is WWII and the post-WWII years.  I have read extensively and watched documentaries about those years.  As a result, I look at the landscape of Europe and how every day of peoples’ lives during that time and even after the war was an exercise in change management, socially, financially, and politically.  I also look at other greatly impacted nations as well, like the United States and Japan, in addition to the entire world and how those years and their events shaped the climate of the entire world.

20 Transformative Experiences: How They Reshape Your Brain and Life

What follows are some life experiences, activities and situations which can create internal change.

1. Embarking on Solo Travel

Solo travel challenges comfort zones, fostering independence and resilience. It rewires the brain to adapt to new environments, enhancing problem-solving skills.

2. Learning a New Language

Acquiring a new language boosts cognitive functions and brain plasticity. It sharpens memory and enhances multitasking abilities.

3. Experiencing Parenthood

Parenthood profoundly alters the brain, increasing emotional intelligence and empathy. It strengthens neural pathways related to nurturing and bonding.

4. Surviving a Traumatic Event

Trauma can rewire the brain, affecting emotional processing and stress responses. It often leads to a heightened sense of awareness and resilience.

5. Practicing Meditation Regularly

Meditation strengthens the brain’s neural networks related to focus and calmness. It reduces stress and enhances emotional regulation.

6. Overcoming Addiction

Recovery from addiction remodels the brain, particularly in areas controlling willpower and decision-making. It fosters a sense of self-control and determination.

7. Engaging in Competitive Sports

Competitive sports enhance brain functions like strategic thinking and concentration. They also improve stress management and discipline.

8. Pursuing Higher Education

Higher education expands knowledge and cognitive skills. It stimulates critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

9. Experiencing Love and Heartbreak

Love and heartbreak profoundly impact emotional processing centres in the brain. They teach resilience and emotional maturity.

10. Starting a Business

Entrepreneurship develops strategic thinking and risk assessment. It enhances creativity and decision-making skills.

11. Volunteering for a Cause

Volunteering boosts emotional well-being and empathy. It strengthens social connections and community involvement.

12. Exploring Creative Arts

Engaging in creative arts enhances neural connectivity. It fosters imagination and emotional expression.

13. Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle improves brain function and mood regulation. It reduces the risk of cognitive decline.

14. Experiencing Grief and Loss

Grief reshapes emotional processing and perspective on life. It fosters empathy and personal growth.

15. Undergoing a Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual experiences can rewire the brain, enhancing mindfulness and compassion. They provide a sense of purpose and connection.

16. Facing a Life-Threatening Illness

This experience can alter perspectives on life and death. It often leads to increased appreciation for life and resilience.

17. Engaging in Extreme Sports

Extreme sports enhance risk assessment and quick decision-making. They boost adrenaline and stress management.

18. Participating in Community Service

Community service strengthens social bonds and empathy. It fosters a sense of belonging and civic responsibility.

19. Experiencing Financial Hardship

Financial struggles can rewire the brain’s approach to problem-solving and resource management. They teach resilience and adaptability.

20. Traveling to New Cultures

Exposure to different cultures enhances open-mindedness and adaptability. It broadens perspectives and fosters cultural empathy.

Each of these experiences fundamentally alters neural pathways, shaping our responses, emotions, and thought processes. They teach invaluable life lessons, fostering growth and resilience. As we navigate these transformative experiences, our brains adapt, ensuring we emerge stronger and more equipped for life’s challenges.

My Current Life

Daily, I continue to learn and grow with any and every change I encounter in my life, no matter how big or small.  How about you?

“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for change.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Marie has worked in the education management industry for 20+ years. She has extensive experience in operations, end to end program management, vendor management and project management of new initiatives. Marie also has product promotion and educational outreach experience. She practices meditation, is a firm believer in lifelong learning and is an avid reader.