First a quote: “Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine.” – Whoopi Goldberg
A large portion of my consulting practice, over the years, has focused on helping people and organizations navigate change more productively and successfully. One of my most frequent observations about human behavior, during times of significant change, is a nearly universal desire for things to go “back to normal.” I see this as a normal human phenomenon for many, if not most, people.
During large scale organizational change initiatives (think mergers, acquisitions, down-sizings, major technology roll-outs, or restructuring initiatives) almost everyone desires an answer to the question, “When will this change be over?” It often seems the prevailing human mindset is, “Let’s get this change over with so that we can all go back to normal.”
Unfortunately, my experience suggests many well-intentioned leaders would be all too willing to answer that question with a specific time frame or date. I agree; people deserve to be informed and even involved in the creation of plans, timetables, milestones, and completion dates of a specific change. I also believe we do people a great disservice when we lead them to believe at some point we’ll be “finished” with change.
If you have read many of my missives over the past year, you will already know that I believe “going back to normal” is entirely the wrong goal.
I believe the world would be a better place if we (all of us) became more focused on “going forward to better.”
When I gaze into my not-so-clear “crystal ball,” I see change in the future as never-ending. If we’re not green, growing, and changing, we’re turning brown, stagnate, dead or dying. This is as true for individuals as it is for communities, companies, and countries. If we’re not growing and changing as fast as the world around us, we’re falling behind.
So, here we are, with more and more news stories about the “light at the end of the tunnel” or “things returning to normal.” Social distancing restrictions are being reduced in more and more places. Gyms and restaurants are allowing more guests. The airlines are returning more of their fleets to full service. Families are getting together and reconnecting in person in larger numbers. And, it seems companies everywhere are revisiting their “work from home,” or perhaps more accurately, their “return to the office” strategies.
Can more and more of us expect a return to normal soon? For me, it depends on your definition of normal. I like Whoopi’s definition: “Normal is nothing more than a setting on your washing machine.” I personally predict the normal, as we knew it a little over a year ago, will never be quite the same.
The following quote seems to apply here:
“No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
Our world is no longer the same world it was in January of 2020. Nor are we the same people. We all have a chance to shape our little corners of the world for the better. I invite you to join me. Let’s not go back to normal, but forward to better!
Are you expecting to return to the office environment in the near future? Expecting other big changes soon?
Here are a few tips for your consideration:
- Click here to read: Back to Office Anxiety? How to keep your fears in check. Forbes; Written by Margie Warrell
- Be the person people are excited to see, not the person they dread. – Visualize yourself back in the office the for the very first time in a very long time. I’m willing to bet that you can name at least one person you dread seeing. Is it possible you’re one of “those people?” Choose differently. Choose to be a person others will be excited to see. Click here to read: Filler or Drainer, Which Are You?
- Feeling Stressed? Focus on What You Control. – Click here to read: Making the Mental Shift, Reducing Stress
- Let’s not go back to normal, but forward to better. Click here to read: Back to Normal is the Wrong Wish!
- Don’t exaggerate the possible negatives of a return to the office. – We often exaggerate the possible negative outcomes of a given change. And, we make that worse by minimizing possible or even probable positive outcomes. Click here to read: Alligators Under My Bed
- Promise yourself to take one day at a time. Click here to read: Just for Today!
- Don’t worry, be happy! – Remember that worry is nothing more than the misuse of your imagination. Click here to read: Don’t worry, be happy!
- You will make ripples today. – The question is, will they be negative or positive? Click here to read: What ripples will you make today?
- Choose your lenses wisely. – We all view the world through our own uniquely customized lenses on life. It is wise to remember our lenses are scratched and imperfect. We also get to decide where we aim our camera. Click here to read: Viewing the World Through Scratched Lenses
- Choose your attitude intentionally – Click here to read: Is Your Attitude Intentional or Accidental?
- Be open to experimenting with change. – Click here to read: Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors!
How will you love, live, or lead differently, or better, this week?
PS: Sorry I missed you last week, I took time to celebrate Easter, family and my Dad’s 93rd birthday! Thanks for all who sent notes of concern. Meant a lot! We are all doing great!
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- “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” — Vincent van Gogh
- “Everyone is normal until you get to know them.” – Dave Sim
- “Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from.” – Jodie Foster
- “If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou