How Do You Prepare For Inevitable Change?

When external forces impose a change you don’t like, what do you do? Do you fight and resist it? Do you adapt to it? How about when things aren’t changing. Do you prepare for change? Do you practice how you’ll deal with its arrival? Are you open to all the possibilities change brings?


Note: This post includes an audio version. If you don’t see the audio above, Click here to listen.

A few days ago as I write and a few weeks ago as you read, Apple released OS X Mavericks. I upgraded to the new OS as well as to the new iWork and iLife suites. As you may have heard a few features were removed from the apps in both suites.

Most of the removed features weren’t things I relied on, however, Garageband did remove some podcasting tools that will make producing them a bit more difficult. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to continue using the new Garageband at first, but I accepted the change and found a way to accomplish what I needed to do.

While it took a couple of hours to figure out a new workflow, the new way of doing is hardly difficult and in the end will add a only few minutes extra work for every podcast I produce.

I share my Garageband woes to highlight something obvious. Things change. The tools we use change. Technology changes. Processes change. Business models change. Projects and clients come and go. Change is really the only constant we can rely on in life and the universe. The question isn’t whether or not things will change, but rather how do we deal with the inevitable change in everything.

Embrace Change Instead of Resisting it

Change can be driven by either external or internal forces and like everything else, comes with its own set of pros and cons.

When it’s forced on us from outside it can be difficult, even painful, and we sometimes fight to restore the old order. Even internal change can sometimes feel less like a choice and more something we do out of desperation when life or business isn’t working as we’d like.

On the positive side a change forced on us can open our eyes to things we hadn’t been aware existed or didn’t realize we’d enjoy so much. Internal change can come from somewhere other than desperation and come about simply as a desire to grow and expand beyond comfort zones.

Like it or not, change is always happening and there’s little you can do to prevent it. It’s certainly easier to deal with when you make the decision to change, instead of having it forced on you.

When you embrace change it’s easier to deal with and it places change under your control. You get to direct it when you make decisions about what to change. You can even learn to identify change that’s likely to be forced on you and prepare for its arrival by changing before you have to.

The Rapid Pace of Technological Change

We work in an industry where rapid change is the norm and if you’re going to survive and grow to become a better web designer, you need to adapt and grow with the changes around you. If you don’t embrace change in the industry, the industry will leave you behind.

I’m still amazed when I receive comments on posts where I’ve compared css based layouts and table layouts. I have a hard time seeing how anyone who’s worked with both would choose the latter, but regardless of whether or not you agree, you have to accept the industry has moved on.

Technology for web design and development evolves so from the css based approach, not the table based approached. Responsive design for example is difficult, if not impossible, with a table based layout.

Compare how you design and develop sites now to how you designed and developed them a few years ago. You should see a lot of differences in your process and in the code you write. If you don’t see any difference, you might want to rethink your process.

It’s not just our layouts that should be flexible and adapt in the new responsive landscape. We should be flexible and adapt as well. Change is inevitable. Learn to embrace and direct it.

How to Make Change Work for You

The more difficult changes to deal with are those forced on us without our being able to prepare. They disrupt the familiar and our minds are less focused on what we should do and more on what we no longer can do.

The simple answer to not letting change control you is to not wait for it to happen, but rather direct its course. Be in a constant state of growth and consistently disrupt your own routines and comfort zones.

Don’t wait for change to happen. Embrace that it will happen and train yourself to be open to it. Never get so locked in to one way of thinking or doing that you fail to see the possibilities and opportunities change brings. If you find yourself locked into a single train of thought, force yourself into a new train of thought just for the sake of change.

Summary

Like most people I still fight change at times. You should have seen me cursing out Apple for removing the nice and easy way I exported .mp3 files from Garageband.

However, I’ve learned over the years, that there’s generally more good from change than bad. It might be painful the moment it comes, but it usually leads you to learn new things, see things in a different way, expand who you are, and in general grow to become a better you.

For that good to come you need to embrace the change. Fighting the inevitable does no good. In the long run it’s easier to flow with the river than to waste energy swimming against it.

Some change disrupts the familiar and makes your life more difficult for a time, but if you learn to flow with the inevitable you’ll find new becomes familiar once again. If from time to time you throw yourself into something new just because, you’ll find yourself better able to adapt to those changes inevitably forced on you.

he not busy being born is busy dying
—Bob Dylan

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