Who Moved My Cheese? Anticipating, Adapting and Embracing Change

Change is inevitable. But just how do you anticipate, adapt, embrace and enjoy it? Iole Matthews, our Head of Coaching and Consultancy, takes it one step at a time…

Some time ago now, Dr Spencer Johnson wrote Who Moved My Cheese?  It’s a short, light-hearted parable about change. So relevant for today, it follows the physical and emotional journeys of four characters – Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw – as they search, find, lose and must rediscover their favourite food, cheese, in a large, twisting maze.

But what does it teach us? Change is inevitable. Anticipate it. Adapt to it. Learn to embrace it. Enjoy it. In doing these things, your stress will be reduced, and happiness likely increased. You’ll be able to enjoy more success and fulfilment in every part of your life and your work.

We know this, don’t we? But what gets in the way of us getting better at managing and thriving in times of change and uncertainty.  Just how do you anticipate, adapt, embrace and enjoy change?  Let’s take it one step at a time.

  1. Anticipate – everything changes.
    Let go of the fallacy that things will stay the same and that this is even desirable. Trends, politics, culture, language… these are ever-open to new ideas and influences and it makes these aspects of our lives interesting, vital and dynamic. These inevitably impact on our professional and personal lives too. Change keeps us growing, developing and learning.  Remember this, look out for the possibilities.

  2. Adapt – the biggest barrier to change is your own mindset.  
    Neuroscience teaches us so much about unhelpful patterns of thinking, the daily neural pathways our minds ‘walk’ down, because it’s easier, safe and habitual. Just as you set exercise and workout goals for yourself, do the same for your thinking. Think about how you can best leverage your skills, experiences and network to maximize your new role, your new working patterns or the new normal you are encountering. Notice what ‘aches’ and what feels uncomfortable as you reflect on this, and get to work on reframing the negative into more neutral assessments of “what is”.

  3. Embrace – consciously acknowledge the change and development opportunities you encounter. 
    Name them, write about them and spend time with them. It’s easy to miss what’s available to you, overlook the potential of an experience or relationship by being too busy with anxiety and how you might hold back the changes (spoiler alert: you can’t).

  4. Enjoy – this is the hard one. Gratitude thinking can help us here
    Acknowledge 3 things you feel grateful for and want to remember at the close of the day.  Maybe write these in a journal or record a voice memo. If you want to share perhaps it would work for you to note them in a social media post. Whether public or private acknowledgements, keep up the habitual practice and you will begin to see a shift in your mindset and how you approach new challenges. Reflecting on each day enables you to go forward positively and confidently onto the next and whatever is in store tomorrow. And always be curious.