Change is inevitable; one of life’s great certainties.
In fact, I can reflect on a huge number of changes in my life now that I’ve moved into my fourth decade on this planet. Some of those changes are minor (I can’t eat whatever I like and not put on weight like in my early twenties), and some are major (I’m part of running a fundraising campaign that raises millions of dollars annually).
There are also times when change is forced upon us, but often change is very much a choice. I spent a few years working for a software company before I started with my current organisation. I enjoyed my management role, and moved to Australia with the company – they treated me well and were an excellent employer. But as I went along in my role, I realised that I wasn’t suited to what I was doing long-term. Eventually it got to a point where I had stopped being a great employee and was just existing. I found myself disaffected, and would describe the situation as being rather stressful. I had a choice to make: continue being unhappy in my well-paid role or leave behind the environment and colleagues I knew so well, launch out into the unknown and find a job that fitted my drive to make a difference. In the end, I felt compelled to make a change, and I found a role that I love working with young people in a large NGO.
The thing is, change happens when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change. Very few people out there really love change, because it hurts. Certainty flies out the window. Sometimes you’ll lose friends over a change, other times you’ll have to go through a difficult transition to get to where you’re heading. But it all begins with a moment when you say “That’s it, I can’t put it off any longer. I need to make this change.” Throughout history, people have confronted the pain of change – from the end of slavery to the successes of the civil rights movement; change wasn’t always pretty, but it was always necessary. Today society faces many such issues: When will the Catholic church reconcile its failure to act on child sex abuse claims? When will wealthy countries give their fair share to end global poverty? And here in Australia, when will the suffering of children in detention end?
My question for you today is: What do you want to change? What’s that situation that you’ve been putting off facing up to because you know it’ll be tough? Maybe it’s time to face the pain of change to make things right. I remember the moment I sat in tears at my old job thinking about how much I wanted to engage my passion for empowering young people again: That was the moment I made the decision to change. What’s your moment? What’s the point that will push you to take that first step?
Only you can answer that question, and I encourage all of us to consider what we’ve been putting off changing today.