I thought I was “bad at change.”

I had been telling myself this story for my entire adult life.

I needed more advanced notice. I needed time to talk through the change. I needed to ask questions and make sure I understood everything and how all the pieces fit together. I needed to prepare for edge cases.

Change was hard (of course it’s hard!) and it was especially hard on me. I was obviously bad at it. I clung to what was predictable and stable, much like the last fall leaf before the first frost sets in.

When I first became a manager, I thought about change from a slightly different lens. I suddenly had more information and needed to think about how to communicate and guide others through change.

In some ways, this made change easier. Change was something that I could manage and execute. An interior wall of mutual exclusivity began to form in my brain: I was either experiencing change or leading it.

And then I became a mom.

Suddenly, everything was change.

I kept searching for routine and meaning in this new space, but it felt impossible to get my footing just right to feel steady. As soon as I had one thing down, she would change or I would change and the cycle would start all over again.

I began to think of all of the firsts, and how each one also came with a last, each one a hello and the beginning of a goodbye to something that was. The first smile. The last moro reflex. The first baby food. The last nursing session. The first bath. The last time I get to wash her hair.

Motherhood became this interminable cycle of picking up, holding for awhile, and letting go.

In Organization Development, there’s a lot of work around change. The change curve; distinction between change and transition; getting people on board with change; implementing change and supporting transition. All of that work is vitally important. We all live in change.

And.

Coaching is the bridge that connects “I” and “They” so that leaders can find the space to manage and experience change and transition at the same time.

I learned that it wasn’t that I was bad at change. What I was experiencing were anxiety and coping mechanisms to try to control (for) things I couldn’t actually control. It was a learned hyper-vigilance rooted in inconsistent psychological safety and unspoken or unclear expectations.

When I could contextualize my reaction to change, I realized I was actually pretty adept at navigating change. The steadiness I was looking for was inside of me the whole time.

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