A Deeper Look At Change

This is coming to you, dear readers, after many months of silence from me…. allow me to explain. In mid-January, 2013 I was called to California and spent three weeks in vigil with my 87-year-old mother, until she passed peacefully on Feb 3rd.

When I arrived back in Ontario, it was clear my husband Graydon was not well. Seven months later, almost to the day, he died a difficult death from lung cancer. To say that 2013 was a brutal year for me is a gross understatement. I’m just only now catching my breath and moving into a space where I can reflect and begin to make sense of it all.

Yogi Berra said it best, ‘In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.’ I’m here to say a resounding, ‘AMEN Yogi!’

Now, I love theory: I like quantifying and simplifying concepts that explain how change happens. Over my career, I’ve created several change models myself. Being able to ‘see’ what a particular aspect of human behaviour looks like, in theoretical terms, is helpful when you’re heading into unknown territory; mental maps serve as valuable touch points for the journey. But in practice, when the worst you can imagine is happening, and the news gets tougher every day—when you’re exhausted and the end result is not going to be what you wanted or thought would happen—and there is precious little you can do…models and theories can only take you so far.

In the aftermath of this incredibly difficult and personal change journey I have some fresh insights about the landscape. Today, I want to set aside theory and speak from my heart, and tell you some of the things I’ve learned this past year in hopes that you find them helpful.