My Lessons in Change

I continually hear that change is hard. I continually hear that “things” need to change, that if we or “things” don’t change we will continue to do what we have always done and will never progress.

learning from experience, evolving your views

I agree with every one of these statements, but at the same time I have experienced a lot of change over the years in my business career and in my personal life. While hard at times, it truly is necessary if we are going to create a better place for our country, for our world, for our continuing desire of peace and a better world for our children. However, this isn’t about what has happened in the past and what is happening in the world today.

I have taken away lessons in change and gained understanding from all the ups and downs. I have learned how to use my experiences by sharing with my grandchildren and the young children in the world to teach them to look at things from a different perspective. Ready for this – look at things from a positive perspective, a perspective that every child in this world can make a difference for the betterment of all and the planet we live in.

Social media has been an amazing tool that will continue to evolve and grow. It has its positive aspects and has a lot of negative aspects. It has challenged a lot of beliefs and has embedded a lot of perceptions and most likely misperceptions. It has helped create community while at the same time divided the nation, divided the world. Yes, change is hard, but it is necessary.

My message and lesson regarding change and specifically change with social media is, while difficult to do, there are two avenues to take. The first is to ignore it and don’t participate in it. The second is to continue to engage but only participate by educating yourself about the real facts. Then, decide what you need and want to do and don’t use social media to exploit your views. Instead, based on knowledge, go out in the world and do something positive. Yes, make changes. Make changes for the better. Stand up for your beliefs but don’t shut out others based on their beliefs. Listen, share, work together. I know, it is hard, but, then again, change is hard.

making a difference, paying it forward

I have been very fortunate in my life and in my career. I have been able to do things, explore opportunities, be part of and experience change. Every opportunity I get, I try my best to embrace the positives of change. The lessons I have learned over the years and the changes I have experienced and have been a part of or even led, continue to drive me. I was raised by two great parents, parents that instilled hard work, parents that taught me to respect others and look for good and help change bad. I had a father who always told me that if I work hard and do my best at everything I do, I will be rewarded for it. It may not be a promotion at work every time, it may not be just about income and it may not be about getting my way every time. The reward will come in knowing you made a difference. A difference in somebody’s life, a difference at work, in my career and in my community.

The lessons I learned over my youth have shaped me into who I am today and how I have handled myself in numerous situations over the years and with embracing change. I have been fortunate in my personal life, finding a wife that is supportive but at the same time is strong, not afraid to challenge things and even willing to challenge me with the purpose of becoming better. She helped me raise an amazing son who I have witnessed grow into a compassionate, caring and supportive person who always looks for the good. With the lessons I tried to instill in him, I have witnessed the growth of a person who supports his family, his wife and three beautiful children. I see his ability to understand how change can be hard but necessary and how it is important to always address it in a positive way. Now that he is an adult, I have witnessed how he has become engaged and involved with the community he lives in to make it a better place for himself, for his family and unselfishly for the community around him. Now, together with his wife, they are raising three children, my grandchildren, to live life to the fullest, embrace the world around them, share experiences and be caring individuals. I am confident that, as they get older, they will instill the values and embrace change to make this world, their community, and the people they touch a better place by being a positive and respectful force of change.

reflecting for the better

Thinking back on my career, I have had the opportunity to learn from a lot of great people, work with great colleagues, see change, be part of change and, at times, deal with unwanted change. There have been ups and downs, but I can truly say that whether I have agreed with my peers, my bosses and my co-workers or not, the one thing I have always prided myself on is stepping back and looking at the positive things I learned from a negative situation.

Over the years, I have worked for a few great companies and a couple that I would classify as “challenged” companies. The difference has been that the great companies always respected their employees, worked as a team, a family. They understood that in order to do good, to grow, to share success with its employees, shareholders and the communities they were part of, they needed to continue to evolve, change and give back, give back to their family of associates and give back to their community. The “challenged” companies were just that - okay where they were at, shortsighted, did not engage with their associates and did not truly engage with their community. Most importantly, while they talked about the need to change, they never really acted upon it.

Again, for me personally, the great thing about this experience are the lessons I learned on how to treat people and how to work with others to get the best out of them. Always believing that everyone has a desire to do their best, but, if that is not true, unfortunately they will find themselves not progressing, not engaging and not accepting change. If there is anything I wish I could get across, it is to not be that person.

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