Change is NOT Hard, and I Can Prove It

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“Change is hard.”
“People hate change.”
“Change stresses me out.”


As a professional keynote speaker, I’m on the road a lot. I speak to associations, organizations, and businesses across the country, and everywhere I go I hear people whining about change.

“Things are changing too fast.”
“I don’t adapt to change well.”

None of it’s true, and I can prove it:

  • If I were to turn your 1998 Toyota Camry into a 2012 Mercedes S600 overnight, would you complain that it changed too fast?
  • If I were to pay off your $250,000 mortgage tomorrow, would you have trouble adapting to that change?
  • If I were to instantly transport you to a sunny beach in Maui for an all expenses paid two week vacation, would you bellyache about how change stresses you out?

All of these things are major changes, and I’ll bet you wouldn’t whine about any of them. Because the truth is that it’s not change we fear; it’s uncertainty. So let’s rewrite the beginning of this article, only this time a little more accurately:

“Uncertainty is hard.”
“People hate uncertainty.”
“Uncertainty stresses me out.”

Yep, that I’ll buy.

In the past month, I’ve spoken to two insurance companies, one healthcare provider, and an employee benefits administration firm. What do all of these organizations have in common? Each of them will be greatly affected by whatever happens with the Affordable Care Act, which depends almost entirely on who wins the Presidential election in November, which at this point is completely up in the air. Now that’s uncertainty, and I think it’s safe to say it’s causing a bit of stress in these organizations. But look at what happened a couple of months ago. They were facing the exact same uncertainty–this time about the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. What happened? The Supreme Court ruled, and everybody adjusted.

See, that’s what we do. Once the uncertainty becomes certainty, we adjust. Just like we adjusted to indoor plumbing, income tax, and the Internet. All of which, at one time, did not exist. Yes, it’s true kids—there was once a time when there was no Internet! We called it the Eisenhower administration.

It’s not change that bothers us; it’s uncertainty.

I help leaders get more ideas and better results from their teams. In order for that to happen, something has to change. In fact, that’s why people hire me—because they want something to change.

Think about your own business (or your own life for that matter!). Is there anything that you’d like to change? How about bigger profits, less stress, more satisfaction. These are all changes. And in order for them to happen, something else has to change. Because bigger profits, less stress, and more satisfaction are all results. And in order to change a result, you have to change a cause.

If people really hated change, they’d stop going to therapists and counselors. They’d stop hiring coaches. They’d stop building their businesses. Without change there’d be no no new music, no new discoveries, and the phrase “new and improved!” would forever be banished from the advertiser’s lexicon.

So stop whining about change. We want change, we need change! Without change, there’d be no airplanes, no painless dentistry, and no Axe body spray.

Just like in the Eisenhower administration.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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