It seems that the one constant we have in the world today is change. The world is moving at such a fast pace, the economy is up and down, and job security seems a thing of the past no matter what your position is with a company.
It is a daily struggle with change as a result of the economy these days, whether it is our company’s future, job stability, personal financial security or investment strategies.
As women, we should be used to change … preparing for our future, starting a home, changing our names with marriage, having babies, juggling family with careers and more. Yet amazingly enough, the challenge of change can still be overwhelming and scary.
But does it have to be stressful? Or can it be exciting and fun? Fearing the unknown that follows change is natural. Learning how to embrace change and look for opportunities is the key to turning that initial fear into excitement.
One of my favorite quotes by Alexander Graham Bell sums up what happens if we don’t approach change with the proper attitude, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
So how do we look past the door that closed?
Change is inevitable
You cannot escape change. You likely did not have a lot of choice in the events that caused the change. However, what happens to you is not as important as how you choose to navigate through the events that will be the determining factor of your future. Your resiliency will not only help you to adapt to change, it can also bring about new opportunities for you.
Also, change triggers more change. A certain momentum will be created by your reaction to change, be it good or bad. You have a choice as to your response that can change your outcome to a better result. Why not use the momentum that follows to your advantage, with enthusiasm in place of a negative reaction?
Enthusiasm is contagious
Your approach to change will determine your attitude and influence the attitudes of peers surrounding you. Your reactions will also affect your friends and your family’s response to the changes in your life. If you have children, your example will be teaching them how to deal with the changes they will inevitably face in their lives.
Ironically, by learning to embrace change and focus on finding the good in every opportunity, you will develop an inner strength that will support you with whatever life throws your way.
I write of embracing change from personal experience. Just like you, I have defining moments in my life, and I’m going to share with you one of the moments I had in which I decided to embrace change.
Have you ever had that moment when you just knew it was time to make a change — it could be in your personal or professional life — but you just feel it way down inside. I am a firm believer in listening to that inner voice, and there have been several times in my life that I have known it was time to make a change — but then comes the fear and anxiety of making the right choice. What should I do? What if I do the wrong thing? Those thoughts, which are completely normal, can create more feelings of stress.
A few years ago I made the decision to change companies. As you know, at that time, many people were out of work, companies were not actively hiring and things were pretty stagnant when it came to finding a great career in any industry including the HVACR industry.
I had a job, it was a good job, but after three years with this company I just did not fit in, I was the outsider in a small family owned business where all of the employees had been there for many years.
My father told me something a long time ago, and that was that you had to love your job if you wanted to be happy. When he told me this, years ago, I thought he was crazy. How can you love your job? It’s work? Looking back, I now know he was right because I love my job, and I love the HVACR industry. But at the time he told me his words of wisdom I did not love my job. I did not feel like part of the team even though I worked there. Something was missing, and I realized I was not being challenged. I have to be learning and growing with the company I am part of.
Having realized I was no longer happy at work and work was becoming a chore, I knew I needed to make a change, but was this the time to be looking for something else? Could I even find something else in the industry? I had only been here three years — how will that look? All of this made me unsure of if I should even begin looking. What if my employer found out? What if I went from a perfectly fine situation to a worse one? The more I thought about it the more I realized nothing was going to happen without action.
So I began to make a plan. I am a big proponent of the pro and con list for decisions. It helps you see your thoughts on paper and see if you are creating un-founded doubt. Regardless of the challenge you are looking at you can always look at both sides to help you evaluate the situation. So I began my list of the current job I had.
Once I had my list, I was able to see that I truly was unhappy and unchallenged, causing feelings of self-doubt. I realized I had to move forward with looking to make that change as uncertain as the industry and economy was. The move ended up being a great thing for me, and I love my job and the company.
Not all changes are self-induced like mine was, but I believe if you break it down, put it on paper and look at it rationally the answer is there.
Patti Ellingson is director of sales for the HVACR Industrial Division at Cooper-Atkins Corp. In this position she develops the business working relationships with wholesale distributors, manufacturer reps and HVACR educational organizations and buying groups, located in Middlefield, Connecticut. She is also the immediate past president of the Women in HVACR. She has an extensive background in sales, business development and marketing within the HVACR industry since 1993. She is active in the HVACR industry as a member of HARDI, Women in HVACR, AHRI, ACCA, and the USGBC. She is focused on the issues of innovative food safety and indoor environmental solutions, indoor air quality and energy efficiency within the industry.