Change is keeping many of us up at night. It’s everywhere and it’s happening faster and faster in almost every area of our lives. People used to push back against change (just because) but now the pendulum has swung the other way. We change just because we fear turning into a dinosaur if we don’t sign-up for the next big thing before it even makes any sense. We’re changing because we fear getting left behind but we’ve lost the discipline of thinking for ourselves.

We’re letting others define what success looks like for our lives, careers and organizations.

A mentor once told me that you can typically change 3 things about your career – What you do, where you do it and who you do it for / with – said another way, think of this as your role, your residence and your relationship(s). That same mentor went on to share that changing one of those three is pretty doable. Changing two of those three factors is also doable but requires more planning and could impact your circle of influence. Changing all 3 factors at once typically isn’t wise and is probably fairly stressful. Let’s play this out. Think about career transitions you or those close to you have made. Some were successful and some where not. There are some rare individuals who can move across the country or world, change industry or job function and work for or with people they have no history with (and pull it off). But let’s be clear that those are the exception not the rule.

Both people and organizations are struggling with change. I plan to share some humble observations & recommendations over the next few weeks that I hope you find helpful as you navigate changes & choices in your sphere of influence. We’ll “unpack” the thoughts below in the near future. Most of them have implications for both personal and cloud computing / technology perspectives.

  1. A small change with verifiable results may be better than a “moonshot” with seemingly limitless potential.
  2. A small win you can build on is often better than a huge loss you may not recover from.
  3. Small wins help you quantify unforeseen consequences of change.
  4. Change almost always has benefits you expected and pitfalls you didn’t (financial, relational, mental, physical, etc).
  5. The question isn’t how fast you’re changing but how real are the benefits. (We live in a society that values how you supposedly benefited from the “win” more than what you actually learned from the “loss”. )
  6. Focus on the cost of the trip and the “taxation” of residency not just the appeal of the destination.
  7. Individual and Organization maturity mean you value what you can do well over what you can do nowSometimes opportunity has to wait for sustainability to catch up.
  8. Take time to size up what you have before you race to fall in love with what you want. It’s possible to get what you want and lose what you need.

Here are a few thoughts to ponder this week:

Do you have advisors in your corner who will tell you what you need to hear not just what you want to hear? Do they care enough about you to give advice that may bruise the relationship if that means savings you from a mistake you’re headed straight for?

We all need to have advisors and mentors who are aligned with our long-term success not just our current destination.

I hope this series will help you process How much change you can handle in this season and beyond. Give us some feedback in the comments to let us know which topics you want to hear about first (even if we didn’t mention them above).