Autumn’s distinguishing beauty of
majestic colors inspires reflection and reconciliation for many of us. A year
of hibernation, rebirth and celebration has passed into another cycle of
letting go of the past, taking ownership for our successes and failures, and
establishing new and improved priorities for our future. Each leaf that turns
color and falls gracefully to the ground is a metaphor for the unique change
that is capable in all of us. We each have the opportunity to display our own
vibrant colors through living a life reflective of our honest character and the
values we hold dear. With autumn brings a chill in the air, and an
understanding that preparations must be made to persevere through a season less
bright and less warm. This need to prepare for change is not only initiated by
the onset of each distinctive season, but is a lesson reflective in the understanding
that change is a part of our daily lives.
To ignore change and not embrace,
learn and grow from it will have the same consequences as not preparing for a
frigid winter or a sweltering summer. Change potentially creates discomfort,
and discomfort creates personal challenges. We all know, and have felt, what
leaving our “comfort zone” is like. It forces us to adapt or stand firm, be
more creative and/or innovative in our approach toward a personal or
professional task at hand. However, the onset of change transcends into the real
challenge of revisiting the core values that strengthen your ability to make
the decisions to effectively confront the change. Solidifying, updating and redefining the core values of the
individual or the organization are the initial steps in building a staircase to
overcome the stressors of change.
As the spring and summer brought with it a new beginning and growth, so
each year brings forth the same opportunity for each of us as human beings.
Autumn’s exquisite and colorful display is a celebration of that growth.
However, it also provides an understanding that we cannot eternally hold on to
what was, but embrace another year of what could be. As each leaf falls, as
with each change we confront, believing a new leaf will return in the spring stronger
and healthier is the inspiration to carry on.
Consistency is comfortable although it breeds mediocrity. An
organization, as with an individual, who does not tackle the challenge of
change will ultimately be defeated by the competition, or life, they face.
Letting go of unwanted behaviors and destructive patterns of performance is
also a wonderful benefit to dealing with change. It forces the necessity to
revisit how we do things both in a personal and professional setting. It allows
us to potentially create a more efficient and productive work place, and set us
on a new path of personal growth and discovery. The onset of change also tests
how strong the element of trust is in any environment. Trust is the key element
in one’s desire to feel free to communicate, and change forces communication.
Therefore, change can be a barometer for the degree of trust an organization or
family has by the willingness of those involved with the change to communicate.
From a leadership perspective, change also provides an opportunity to observe another’s true colors. It allows a greater awareness of how those we lead deal with the stress of change, and who of those have the character to embrace the opportunity, or whine about the challenge. Change allows me to know who my future performers and leaders are, and evaluate who may lack the determination and strength of character to handle difficult situations and decisions. A final benefit of change presents an opportunity to develop new skills, hone old ones, and expand your horizon in regard to the greater potential of what you can be. It is satisfying to display the uniqueness of your present colors, but even more to know you have the ability to create a pattern of new colors in the future. As you reflect on the magnitude of nature’s canvas this autumn, celebrate knowing that a new canvas will present itself with the opportunity to paint a more vibrant, substantial and better you.