My cousin recently had two adorable twin daughters. As I admired their pictures on FaceBook, I was struck by the thought that these four-month old girls know more about the process of enacting a successful change than 99% of the adult population.
Birth: it’s a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a life change. And in the process of being born, babies learn these 5 important life lessons that typically elude the rest of us, as we contemplate making changes in our personal and professional lives.
1. You Can’t Remain in the Womb Forever:
The status quo may feel good but it will not last forever.
Sure, the baby gets a free supply of food, a warm place to sleep and a nice mobile home with no rent. But guess what? The lease lasts for only nine months. After that, the baby either moves out or is deported to ‘’baby heaven’’
As adults, we may feel threatened by the prospect of change and may rationalize our reluctance by saying ‘’Ah, well, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’’ ‘’Why should I apply for a better job? I’m getting by with this one’’ ‘’Why do I need a new qualification? I can get by with my Bachelor’s.’’ ‘’Why do we need to automate our processes? The current manual system works fine.’’
Now, I agree that there’s a time and place for contentment but contentment can easily turn to passivity which could lead to stagnation. Your current position may look good now but how about three years down the line?
2. Don’t Fight the Contractions:
Go with the flow. Move with the contractions. Trust the higher power.
Now that the baby has decided to move, she begins to feel suspicious movements around her. The warm cavity in which she has been living safely for the past nine months begins trembling in a most alarming manner. What’s this, an earthquake?
The rest of us know that it’s not an earthquake – it’s a contraction. And it’s Nature’s way of kick-starting and facilitating the movement process.
In our personal lives, God sends you ‘contractions’ too. You lose your job. You miss a promotion. You attend a family gathering and your aunts and uncles start asking you the dreaded questions ‘’So, when are you bringing the lucky young man/woman home?’’
Rather than treat these as unpleasant and intrusive ‘earthquakes’, try seeing them as ‘contractions.’
You lost your job – so what? You hated it, anyway. This might be your chance to make money out of your hobby.
Or you didn’t get the promotion? Bummer! But maybe if you earn that Master’s degree, it will give you an edge and enable you stand out of from your peers next year.
So your mother keeps hounding you to get a boyfriend? Maybe it’s time to spend less time in the office working ‘overtime’ and ‘get out more.’
3. Conquer your fear of pain and forceps:
Now that the baby has left the comfort of the womb and is on her way down the birth canal, I hate to break it to her but there’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is that childbirth is an inherently dangerous and risky activity, subject to many complications. The “natural” mortality rate of childbirth—where nothing is done to avert maternal death—has been estimated at 1,500 deaths per 100,000 births. As of June 2011, about one third of American births have some complications, “many of which are directly related to the mother’s health.” So the bad news is that there’s a significant chance of running into problems, including loss of life.
So it is with every life change. Regardless of your best intentions, there is always a risk of rejection, failure and ridicule. The business you start may fail and leave you bankrupt and in debt. You may apply to the top MBA Programs and get turned down by every single one. Your girl/boyfriend may break your heart and leave you in the lurch.
It’s even worse in the professional world. 60% of projects fail. 3 out of 4 ERP implementations fail and ERP utilization is less than 40%. New products get rejected by the market. New branches make consistent losses.
You need to be aware of this and the antidote. The antidote for failure is ‘’resilience.’’ That’s resistance, but in a positive way. Resist the fear of failure. In Aaliyah’s words ‘’If at first you don’t succeed, try again.’’ Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in spite of the fear.
4. You might be ugly when you are born but your mother will love you:
A mother always loves her child. When the child is ugly, the mother loves from a distance, with one eye open, squinting and asking herself ‘’why me?’’???
So it is with change. The final result may not quite look like you expected. But, hey, it’s your baby! Embrace it and better luck next time.
5. It’s not easy; but it’s worth it.
I’m a firm believer that change is positive. If it’s successful, you grow in confidence and self-esteem. If it fails, you grow in wisdom and experience. Regardless of the outcome, every major life change makes you grow and learn.
What’s your next challenge? A new project? A new software? A new relationship? A new job? Remembering these 5 tips which every new-born baby knows should hold you in good stead:
- Look beyond the status quo
- Go with the flow; move with the contractions
- Complications are real but be resilient
- Accept the end results in good faith
- Positive change is worthwhile!