We get up in the morning and we think to ourselves, what does today hold for me?

Many times, we would say ‘the usual’. Most of us say that we don’t like or are uncomfortable with change. I often wonder, why do we have these negative thoughts around change? If you think about it, nothing is ever the same and nothing is totally predicable in our daily lives and in our work organizations. We live in a state of constant change. We have all heard the phrase ‘change is inevitable. Change is constant’. Think about it for a moment. Already something has changed. Perhaps it was your reflection on the words? Do you usually change what you eat during the day? What a boring week it would be if we ate exactly the same food at exactly the same time each day. It can sometimes be a challenge to decide – especially at a smorgasbord meal! Yet, most of us enjoy the challenge of making the decision of what to eat from that wide variety of foods. We get to chose when to clean up the garden or the house. Both need to be done, but when and by whom? When I was a younger wife and mother, keeping home, sometimes I felt overwhelmed. Making a list often helped. Someone told me, those are all tasks that need to be done, but do they need to be done by you? So I started delegating more. Interesting isn’t it, how life changes. I am not doing the same job I was doing 30 or 40 years ago, or even my career choice. So how did I get trained for the job I am doing now? Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have even dreamed or thought of doing the job I do today. Oh right – the organization didn’t even exist!

In early June, Threads of Life held our in-person staff meeting over the course of three days. We reflected on what each of us were doing when we were 15 years old, what we were doing 15 years ago, and dreamed of what we may be doing 15 years from now. We also shared where Threads of Life was 15 years ago. It was but an infant seed. Interesting – Threads of Life celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with 15 staff (part time and full time). Talk about change.

On a personal level – my oldest, baby, granddaughter graduates to high school this year. How can that be? Growth or change? Or both – depending on how one looks at it and who looks at it? What is your highlight personal moment you reflect on today?

So what got me thinking of the meaning of the word ‘change’ today?  My colleague included this saying in a recent email:

Growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before – you’ve never been this version of you. So give yourself a little grace and breathe through it.”  (Kristin Lohr, projecthappiness.org)

I thought to myself, what is the difference between growth and change? People would say ‘change is uncomfortable’ – but is growth? So I looked it up. Change of course means – a change of direction or something different. So in essence – Threads of Life didn’t change in the past 15 years; we live with growth. Does growth sound more positive to you? The phrase sent to me, caused me to pause and give consideration to the future opportunities that Threads of Life experiences. We started with just one peer support person and over the years more than 60 family members have taken the training and been willing to listen to others. Think of the other programs that have grown over these years. You know them – many of you have participated with one or more. Have the programs changed or have they experienced growth?

We are fortunate to have very dedicated and efficient staff and I am very thankful for all they contribute to support the vision and mission of Threads of Life. When we add a staff member to the current mix of staffing, it always causes some anxiety, I am sure for the new member as well as for those who work with the individual. Imagine coming into an organization where everyone works in separate offices, across the country, in different time zones and wondering how you are to do the job you were hired for. Also imagine other staff trying to support the new individual to ensure they have the tools and understanding of the task in order to be successful. Adding a staff member – is this change or growth? Saying good-bye to a dedicated staff member poses similar challenges. We all are thankful for the skills and efforts the member shared for the growth of Threads of Life, which also allowed personal development for the staff member. We become apprehensive as we think of ourselves and what this vacancy will mean to the organization. Will the opportunity be one of change, or growth, or both?

I am being reflective at this time as we have both of these occurring at Threads of Life: welcoming and providing orientation to a new staff member, and one staff member saying ‘good-bye’. We welcome Emma in her role as content specialist. The good-bye came as a surprise – Kate is leaving after ten years with Threads of Life. I am very thankful to her on so many levels. Not just for her contributions to Threads of Life, but for her friendship to me and to each of us at Threads of Life. We will miss Kate and yet we value her and wish her well in her future endeavours. Her departure also brings both change and growth – change in how some tasks are delegated and growth to ensure that together we are all working towards our vision and mission.

Growth or change? Share your personal reflection on growth and/or change.

Shirley Hickman
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