Sunday, October 30, 2011

Winds of Change

By Julie Rahm
Obvious to county residents, it is windy here in North Carolina. Allegedly, Chicago is the windy city. However, I think not. It was no mistake two bicycle making brothers from Ohio chose to fly their aircraft here. Orville and Wilber didn’t fly their craft on the banks of Lake Michigan. They came to our Outer Banks at considerable inconvenience. The winds are a mixed blessing. Sometimes, the winds arrive bringing a pleasant change of season. Other times, the wind roars into the county leaving a path of destruction unlike anything in recent history. Regardless, the wind always brings change. I wonder what causes the change in people’s lives. I guess that change is part of life and being human. I see that some county residents deal with change better than others. There are a lot of theories on change acceptance. But generally, the experts think there are four stages of change as they relate to human emotion.

The first stage of change is Denial. My husband, John, gets stuck here a lot. I know because often, the first words out of his mouth are “No way” or “You gotta be kiddin me.” Words like these are evidence of denial. An extreme example was John’s Grandfather. He was stuck in denial when, in 1954, the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team moved to Kansas City and eventually Oakland California. He refused to call the team the Oakland A’s. Until he passed away in 1997, John’s Grandfather always referred to the Oakland A’s as the Philadelphia A’s! Forty-three years is really being stuck in denial! It is important to move out of denial and into the next stage which is Anger and Blame.

Anger and Blame are easy to recognize. This stage of change is charged with emotion. It can be paralyzing and extremely unproductive for the individual. At times, the worst in an individual surfaces causing unintended consequences. Self discipline and self awareness are good remedies to move on to the next stage of change which is Reluctant Acceptance.

Reluctant Acceptance is often characterized by bargaining and compromise. Children are masters of this stage of change. They usually move quickly through Denial and Anger and into Reluctant Acceptance. Most children, as dependents, realize they are not masters of their own destiny and focus their efforts in this stage of change in order to minimize the impact of the impending change. As an example, when children change schools, they attempt to negotiate for return visits, Skype accounts etc. This bargaining is evidence they are through the Denial and Anger.

Commitment is the final stage of change. Commitment is also easy to recognize. John says commitment in the Marine Corps is like the turkey at Thanksgiving, you’re all in!

So, when the winds bring change into your life, remember the four stages of change. When you recognize them in yourself and others, your awareness will lead you to a more productive mindset and a better outcome. Learn more at my website

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