[I first published this article in 2007 and it remains one of my most read pieces. I had so much fun writing this and still love reading it. So, I decided to touch it up and republish it. Enjoy!]
Lessons a toy taught me about dealing with change
I love kids’ movies that make it fun for adults to watch. A classic (and one of my favorites) is Walt Disney's Toy Story.
My favorite scene is when Buzz Lightyear and Woody are lost at the gas station. Buzz tries to put things in perspective for Woody by saying, “Sheriff, this is no time to panic.” Woody’s frenzied reply was, “This is a PERFECT time to panic!”
And yes, I totally relate to Woody's reaction (which is why I love this scene!).
How do you deal with change? What do you do when you’re thrust into an undesirable and completely unexpected situation?
Do you, like Woody, tend to blame others or want to curl up in a fetal position, hoping the situation will fix itself? Or do you, like Buzz, try to remain positive and hopeful, searching for solutions, being resourceful and finding help from every available source?
You see, changes in life and in business is inevitable. How you deal with those changes can greatly impact the time it takes to adjust, improve, endure or remedy the situation.
As I observed the differences between Buzz and Woody’s attitudes and reactions to the same situation, it made me think about how to successfully deal with change.
Here's what I came up with.
“This isn't flying, this is falling with style!”
While remaining positive is easier said than done, attitude and perception really are everything.
Think about what you can take away from the experience:
- Have you learned something about yourself or someone else?
- Have you discovered who your real friends are?
- Could your loss mean someone worthy gained something?
In any situation, you can usually find something positive to dwell on, and that will help you get through.
“Wind the frog!”
When unexpected changes arise, it's time to get resourceful and try something new. Take a risk. Look to places or people you normally wouldn’t look to.
Ask around, do research, test-try a new method. Leave no rock unturned and no corner uncovered in search of a solution.
You’ll usually find that the best ideas and solutions are found from the “edge” or at the “fringes” because most people don’t take the time, won’t make the effort or are too fearful to venture out.
“I can't do this without you. I need your help.”
Change can cause feelings of humiliation and fear. Don't let that stop you from reaching out.
And because you're in the thick of things, your situation seems worse that it is. Look for someone who sees your forest for the trees.
Have you ever been in a position to help someone in need? Didn’t it make you feel good? So, why deny someone else the opportunity to feel that good by allowing them to assist you in any way possible?
You've Got This
Remember Buzz and Woody? They didn't stay stuck at the gas station. They finally pulled through together, came up with ingenious solutions and asked for help from the most unlikely of sources. They got home safe and sound!
When you're dealing with a difficult situation, try one or all of these things.
Like Buzz Lightyear and Woody, you might just realize that a difficult situation helped you grow, forge unlikely friendships and that things worked out for the best.
To Infinity and Beyond!