Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

Sometimes new is easy.

Sometimes it’s hard.

Think of all the variables. Does it take hard work or does it fall into your lap? Is it something you want? Does it belong to you alone or is it shared with others? If shared, is it a pleasant union? Did it open a new door? Close an old one … that you did or didn’t want closed?

And on and on.

Last week I led a retreat for a team that soon will have a new structure. They know it’s coming. No one – including the director – knows yet what it will be. The unknowns will take weeks to sort out. That will be followed by a new batch of unknowns that can’t be foreseen today.

Because we can’t know what we can’t know. Until we can.

As I thought about what lies ahead for them, I was drawn to one of my favorite passages from  The Practice of Adaptive Leadership:

“You know the adage ‘People resist change.’ It is not really true. People are not stupid. People love change when they know it is a good thing. No one gives back a winning lottery ticket. What people resist is not change per se, but loss. When change involves real or potential loss, people hold on to what they have and resist change. …Adaptive leadership almost always puts you in the business of assessing, managing, distributing, and providing contexts for losses that move people through those losses to a new place.”

Even the change you want can involve loss. With a little distance on it, you gain perspective – which is often hard to claim when you’re in the thick of it.

The thing to remember is that your life already has been ever-changing.

So, recognize that how you frame change, and the new in your life, is always a choice. You don’t have to sugar-coat it. Or turn a lemon into lemonade. Start with accuracy — tell it like it is, plain and simple. Do that long enough and you’ll find you’ve turned reality into an ally instead of an imagined foe.