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We’re getting a puppy.

Full stop, one of the more visceral and evocative statements I could make at the start of a piece about change. “We’re getting a puppy” – and you may have physically bristled at the idea of inviting such mayhem into my life for no good reason. OR your heart just leaked out a hefty dose of love juju that circulated down to your toes. Either way, you probably actually felt your reaction.

We’ve had two puppies before who each grew into indisputable members of our family. Experience would suggest that there are some grueling nights ahead along with the potential for an expensive health issue or the loss of a legacy piece of furniture or pricey shoe. But even with the worst possible narrative or “did you think about…” I want this. I will lean into it. Not with naivete but with intentional scaffolding for the best possible outcome.

Of course, life is full of change anyway. One of the few certainties we can count on that no matter of will or resistance can stop. It can be quite breathtaking to scan over the past fifty years of my life and note what was in comparison to what now is, especially of late. And yet inside all the change that is out of my control, I am adding in a significant change experience that is absolutely in my control and I wonder why.

In fact, I think the kind of change I am creating is reflective of what is a bit societally endemic at the moment. A need to create something that feels positive for me personally, a construct that will create an optimistic release from the low-frequency anxiety of unsettledness I have carried since March of 2020.

I see a lot of these kinds of decisions, in all parts of my life. Bold and a little raw but justifiably necessary to counteract the feeling of immutability associated with situational circumstances. In other words, we are losing patience and goodwill and have taken matters into our own hands.

The world hasn’t quite settled yet. We haven’t healed in a way that helps us to figure out what we’ve got. And so, we take action. To reconstruct our experience, start fresh, breathe differently, trade in the disquiet of what we know because it’s no longer tolerable.

Someone once told me that a willingness to change is only possible when what you are moving towards is less painful than what you are moving from. Conversely, you will not accept change if change feels more painful than staying the same…even if “the same” has its limitations, at least you know what they are and that feels safer.

We held a Community Meeting at FH Perry Builder last week to talk about the pluses and minuses of change. A choice to name it and feel it and look it squarely in the face. A playful and experiential agenda, we crossed our arms without thinking about it and then felt what it was like to try to cross them the other way. We lined up according to comfort with change and made lists of why change is good and why staying the same also has merit. We explored the balance between the two. And, mostly, we became more aware.

In knowing ourselves and how change sits with us we can feel like we have more choice in the matter. If you know you don’t like change what happens when you’re in a conversation with someone who does? Or if you feel like you’re moving too fast or too slow you have the choice to ask someone who moves the opposite way to help you know the downsides of your pace.  

Since we can’t avoid change, especially in our business, it meant a lot that the team showed up so fully to this conversation. And it has actually stayed with me over the course of the past week. I have found myself questioning my own responsibility to sit in the visceral experience of change—how quickly I want to act to join it or get rid of it instead of just letting it catch its breath. That is my work. But the conversation deepened my respect for the determined courage of big-change choices and softened my care for the same kind of courage it takes to not want to change at all. 

If nothing else, I think we may have all changed a little bit together just by talking about it. And though not as wiggly and rambunctious as a puppy, I’ll take it.

All my best,