On the Job

Change: The Universal Language

Last week, Karen and I teamed up to present a session in Atlanta, Georgia. Our session was titled “Change the Game, Don’t Let the Game Change You,” in honor of the great Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. While I’ve been consulting and working with architects and their professional association for almost a year now, I don’t have a background in architecture, and neither does Karen. Sure, we can both appreciate good design, but you definitely don’t want us in charge of designing your building. And while we love to share our experience with change, the most powerful part of the session – and our favorite – is hearing from the attendees themselves.

Karen and I don’t design buildings, and our session attendees don’t teach on the subject of change, and you as the reader don’t have the same background, either. But we do have one thing in common, though: we’ve all experienced change. While the specifics of the changes we’ve had in our personal and professional lives can be vastly different, the emotions that come along with change are usually very familiar: anxiety, excitement, fear, apprehension, curiosity, happiness, relief. While I may not be able to relate to the exact situation of the change happening in your architecture firm, I can definitely relate to feeling nervous about what a change might mean, or being excited about the opportunities it might present for me. And in relating to those common feelings, we find the commonality in our experiences and can learn from each other. That was the coolest part of or session last week – helping the attendees find their common ground and connect with each other. Sure, it was easier since they were in the same industry and they were much more likely to have more similarities in the change they’re experiencing. But it’s powerful knowing you can connect with someone based on a shared experience in emotion. And the cliche about change is true – it’s the only thing that’s constant. We may just as well get comfortable with it and comfortable reaching out to those who can relate. It makes the journey a whole lot easier.

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