Jun 15, 2012 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

On that day when my life changed, I had a choice. I could resist what was happening, or I could receive change into my life and move forward with it.

Those two words, “resist” or “receive” make the difference in our life experience. Life happens. While we wish it wasn’t so, tragedy happens. Change is the way of things. At each fork in the road, at each
obstacle, or at each two-thousand pound bale of hay that crashes down on top of us, we must choose our response.

I am not the only quadriplegic. I am not the only person with physical limitations or health concerns. I am certainly not the only husband seeking to provide a living for his family. And yet, I know many who face tragedies, big and small, who choose to resist required change.

They survive life, but they do not take it in.They struggle against currents that would truly carry them to new lands. They become bitter. They do not see the value of receiving change, and it makes them angry instead of making them better.

When change comes into our lives, do we ask the question, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” We may wonder if life changing events are a punishment or a sentence. To this quandary, I quote loved comedian, Jack Benny. Upon receiving an award, Jack responded, “I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either!” Change is neither a punishment nor an award. It just is.

The winds of change are constantly blowing. While we cannot see the wind,we can, as captains of our own lives, watch cloud formations and interpret where those changes are taking us.

Clouds are signposts. In our businesses,we must become expert “cloud readers” and anticipate market directions and customer tendencies, to be successful in an ever-changing marketplace.

Companies that watch the signposts, and heed the winds of change, will survive and thrive. It is this adaptability that allows them to respond to market trends, and truly “meet” the consumer, at the customer’s level of interest and need.

Observing thunder clouds heading into the milk industry as the pace of life sped to the pulse of carbonated sodas, Dean Foods responded. Recognizing that the boring, boxy, wax milk carton no longer reflected the choice of the American people, the industry changed it’s package to a more sleek, hip, brightly colored, plastic “Milk Chug”. Reading the clouds and moving with change created unprecedented sales of a once failing commodity.

Be a cloud reader. Anticipate and move with the winds of change, and soar on the wings of innovation and progress.

Isn’t it also a good idea in our personal relationships, to allow others the room to grow and become self-aware, as they test their own wings and learn to fly?

I look at my two little boys. While I love to play basketball with them at their 4-foot Fisher-Price net, one day they will need a longer court, a higher basket and a larger team (and tougher competition than me)!
They will be men.

As their father, while I would love to keep them safe by my side forever, for their success, I need to give them room to change.

I live in Utah, home of “The Greatest Snow On Earth”. Skiers flock here from all over the world to speed down our white-powder mountains. Some years our “Great” snow comes late; which puts us Utahan’s in jeopardy of losing our much-flaunted title! To maintain our good standing, the ski industry helps Mother Nature along by creating its own snow, whether or not there are real nimbostratus clouds on the horizon.

Great leaders not only recognize the need to receive change, and move with it, but they also realize at times they must create change. This requires leaders with vision, tenacity, and courage. Often the changes that great leaders see as necessary and right, are not popular changes among the masses.

And what of your personal life? What are the cloud formations in your life, and which way are the winds of change moving you? Are they blowing you out of your comfort zone?

Are those winds whispering that you are a leader; meant to hasten along necessary changes in your business, your relationships and your community?

Life will change. It is the very nature of life to do this. What we do with change is our choice. How powerful it is to recognize the driving force of change and make it our ally, rather than to stubbornly resist!

My physical body could not resist or fend off the weight of the 2,000 pound hay bale. However, as I have accepted the emotional and physical changes of my new circumstances, and adapted to them, I have
learned to look for hidden possibilities that always exist in new realities.

Receive change into your life and allow it to carry you to heights you never imagined!