Leaning in to Change in 2022
Way back when, before I was the spiked hot chocolate version of me that I am now, I had the opportunity to work as a car salesperson. Now, there are a lot of things I could tell you about the car business, like the old “take their keys and keep them in the office waiting for the managers offer all day” trick. It was really painful but immensely effective.
I also learned that if you give a customer a lollipop, they’ll buy the car without too much banter. The lollipop lulls them into sweet gooey kids who always wanted a new car. What I didn’t know, when I signed onto the role, was that I’d not only learn just about everything I needed to know about humans, I’d learn a lot of things about me, as well.
Like, I don’t always pay attention to the details. Take for instance the time that I took the would-be customers on a test drive only to discover they were dropping off a bag of drugs and running from the police. Yes, I was still sitting in the backseat talking about the car, when the police lights flashed, and the doors flew open.
I also — and this was an insight I didn’t really expect — don’t like change. OK, OK, I really do like change, but only, and this is very important, if I initiate it. If you and I are going to dinner, I may change the location six times even when we are on the way because inspiration, or a commercial, gave me a better idea. If, however, I am on the way with the target loaded into Google Maps, and you change the location, or heavens forbid, the time, well, I turn into madam cranky pants. A lollipop won’t solve it.
I discovered this while going through a corporate training. When we came to the question about who on the team was the most vibrant, the entire team pointed to me, and I, as if to prove the point, glowed and took a bow. When the trainer asked who was the least likely to accept a policy change everyone again pointed at me. I was flabbergasted.
I loved change. I argued just a bit, but they were heartless and unrelenting, accusing me of being scary when it came to telling me about any changes that had been made while I was out of the building. Are you kidding?! Me? The vibrant one? I had a new haircut, we’d recently moved to a house I liked, we ate at the latest and greatest restaurants that I diligently discovered … oh, yeah … I liked change … that I initiated. Ouch.
I paid attention to that lesson, and have tried to be more open-minded about changes, but really, if I have decided how things are going to go, where we are going to sit, and whether or not we are staying to the end, isn’t it just easier to go along with my plans? Kidding aside, it is by leaning into change — both those that are my idea and those that aren’t — that has provided me with the most growth, the biggest opportunities, and the chance to live a life of wonder and grace. Adapting to change gives me, and the people I coach, strength.
So, here we are, day 9,287 of a pandemic, a pandemic that has rocked my world, and I would assume yours, with changes to just about every facet of our lives. Businesses have closed, events have morphed into new, changed-up versions of what they once were, and casual family dinners often contain the need to change the subject of conversation because no one agrees on what is right and what is wrong in a Covid world.
But in this, especially as we tumble and bumble to 2022, is the opportunity to change.
We can change where we work, how we work, where we go and don’t go, who we listen to, and who we spend our precious time with, because, in a Covid world, we are given, under everything else, the chance to stop, for a moment or a 10-day quarantine, and think about who we are, really, and who we want to be, really, going forward.
This gift of change at times has felt forced upon us and, as I used to do, we’ve fought it so very hard, with temper tantrums and silent treatments. As a result, we’ve spun into miserly, miserable versions of ourselves. In other moments — the moments I hope you will have more of in 2022 — it has been the true gift of change, made with contemplation, insights and joyous discovery of new things that we truly enjoy.
I often ask groups that I am coaching to come up with one true thing we can all agree on, and recently more than one group has said that 2022 won’t be like 2021, nor 2019 for that matter, and I have to agree. It will be a different, because time marches on as does science, and our need as humans to enjoy our world.
We can choose, as I used to, to fight the changes 2022 brings, or we can fire up our pivot points, of which our bodies have many, and pivot with them. We can change into who we want to be, how we want to show up for those around us, and where, as I often do, we want to go to dinner. We are living in a time without rules. OK, there are lots of rules, but as far as who we can and can’t be, well, welcome the opportunity to change! Everything is up for renegotiation right now. It’s a Covid world and, it’s time to stop being stuck.
In 2022, let’s change into new improved versions of ourselves. Let’s lean into things that make us feel safe, things that make us laugh, and things that make us better humans for those around us. Let’s mourn our losses, walk away from our dramas, and live our lives as if they are the only lives we have to live, because, and I’m pretty sure you understand this about now, they are the only lives we have to live, and we can, no matter what, enjoy them.
In 2022, our vacations might be staycations, our dinners out might be on our patio, in the snow, with candles to warm our fingers and a nip of gin to make us grin, but, and this is what I want you to hear, 2022 can be our year, no matter what changes we didn’t want to have thrown at us, because we are the women who read YVW, and we know a thing or two about changing the world. We are strong. We can pivot. And we can, by damn, be whomever we want to be.