Don’t dash off – Give Change a Chance

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MBA, MASCL

I’d like to start my post with my favorite quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change  you want to see in the world.”  This quote was in our office cafeteria this week.   Change is about the only thing that is guaranteed, together with death and taxes.  It  is timely to talk about this topic as change is again in the air.

Change is a source of fear and anxiety for many people.  It is easy to fall into the trap  of being comfortable in your current situation.  Why change when you can just do  what you’ve been doing for the last four years.  The routine simplifies things, but the  question has to be asked: Is it really good for you?  I’m sure this would be an ages old debate on why keeping with the status quo is good or why change is necessary.  For one, staying as is would render your skills obsolete in a few years.

People react differently to change because of the fear of the unknown.  Some people would dash off and seek greener pasture elsewhere because they don’t believe in the change that is about to happen.   I’ve been in the industry for almost 21 years and it is my experience that grass is always greener on the other side.  Until you cross and see all the brown spots, it often looks nice from afar.  Just like my front lawn, when I’m driving home, I see it from afar and admire how green it is, but as I get closer, I can see brown spots and the smile turns to a frown.

So, what’s my point?  For one, change does give people hope, especially when people are not happy with the past or current situation.  It gives people a chance to dream and imagine what it would be like to see the end state of the change.  Here are some points I’d like to share

  • Give people a chance – It is not fair to judge something without really giving it a try.  You can’t say that something is bad until you live through it and experience it.   Experience is our best teacher.
  • Learning is only possible if you keep an open mind – if we never push ourselves and embrace the change, we will not grow.  Growing is only possible through patience and acceptance that through change new things can be learned that will make you better.
  • Staying the same is not good for you – You can’t expect different results by doing the same thing over and over.  Staying the same means that you’ll be left behind.

 Acknowledging the change is the first step.  Embrace the change and give it a  chance.   Who knows what you will learn from the journey and experience that  you’ll gain along the way.  Remember that everyone deserves a chance.  Just like  when we were first seeking employment.  Imagine if no one gave us a chance, how  could we gain experience?   With change comes opportunities, by keeping an open  mind, you’ll see opportunity and achieve greater things.  Just keep in mind that  change could be slow, therefore patience is really important.  The next time change  happens, don’t think about seeking another opportunity elsewhere.  Listen and give  it a chance – you never know what will happen.

Insight from my Daughter’s School Project

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MBA, MASCL

A month ago, my wife told me that Maddy had a school project to create a new character for the Dr. Seuss family.  The character can be drawn on a piece of paper or be done in 2D or 3D image.   I thought to myself,  Why does the school gives projects that obviously the parent will be doing most of the work on?  It would be a waste of my time.   But I did not want to disappoint my daughter and I went along with it.  I asked her to think of a character that she thinks could belong to the Dr. Seuss family.

No long ago, Maddy developed a fascination for giraffes.   We have a giraffe stuffed toy that says a prayer when you press it, which we bought when our first daughter was born.   Maddy decided that it is hers.  Since then she has collected a few more items with giraffes on them.    When I arrived home the next day, she came to me and told me that she had a character in mind.  She told me that it would be a giraffe named OYZ (pronounce OZZIE).  She declared that I could either draw or make a 2D or 3D character and to let her know when I was ready to work on it.

I spent the next three hours thinking how to create a giraffe character that is worthy to be part of the Dr. Seuss family.  Before I went to bed, I had an idea what to create.   Next day, when I came home I told her to get ready and we gathered our materials and I told her that I needed her help.     As we created the character, I would ask questions like, what would the face look like?  Faith was intrigued with what we were doing and she decided to join the fun.   They would take turns telling me the things they wanted and we would try to create it.    Over the next three days, the three of us worked on the project and enjoyed the sharing of ideas.    Maddy and Faith would paint the giraffes and determine the size of the spot depending on the body parts.   We also added a personal touch by creating a snout using Faith’s old sock.   They initially did not think it was a great idea, but later on liked the outcome.

What did I learn from it?

  • Keep an open mind – I initially jumped to the conclusion that I would do all the work and felt burdened by it.    After stepping back and thinking it through, I was able to come up with a solution to get them involved.
  • Get them involved – Children are creative and we have to believe that is the case.  They see a lot of things and are full of enthusiasm.    If they are involved, they will be more engaged.
  • Have fun doing it – Since we kept it fun, I got more out of it.  I was able to bond with them and spent quality along the way.
  • Sometimes the journey is better than the end itself – learn to go with the flow and not worry too much about every minor detail.   This is very true with everything we do.  Sometimes we sweat the small stuff and it makess it hard for us to move forward because we are too focused on things that are not important.

In the end, it did not turn out to be a project that the parent worked on, but rather a project that everyone collectively participated in and enjoyed doing.    Over the next few weeks, Maddy was proud of her character and she would often compare it to the ones that her classmates brought to school.  She would say mine is still the best.   The fact of the matter is it meant less to me that our character is the best than the experience that we three shared while working on it.    It is something that she will remember for a long long time and to me that is what matters the most.