Change: The Only Constant

Recently one of my textbook assignment readings was on the idea of change in the workplace, and how to manage people who were resistant to change. My textbook described a model of change using an analogy of a traffic light: 30% of people are ultra-resistant to change (red), about 50% of people are open to change but hesitant (yellow), and 20% of people are enthusiastic about change (green) (Porter-Reynolds, 2014, p. 13). (Thought I’d throw in a citation since I’m so used to doing it these days!)

I know myself well enough to know that no one would believe I fall in the “green light” category. I’d like to say I’m at least in the 50% “yellow light” category, but honestly I think I tend to fall into the “red light” category often. In a positive light (please enjoy the unintentional pun), “red” people are critical thinkers, looking for all potential pitfalls in new ideas before jumping on board. In a negative light, “red” people are stuck in their ways, never wanting to try anything new and always have discouraging things to say about new ideas.

While “green light” people probably seem to be the most preferable out of the three, the truth is we really need people of all three types. One type of person is not necessarily better than another, each person brings their own personality and experiences to the mix.

It does mean, however, that if I know I tend to be a “red light” person, that I am careful to not always discourage the “green lights” when they have new ideas. It means I must be sure to affirm others’ ideas even when I am critical of them.

(Side note: I think my husband might be a green light…)

I think anxiety definitely plays into why I’m more of a “red light” – the unknown causes more anxiety than the known. Fear of failure at trying something new is real. It doesn’t mean that I never am willing to change or try something new, but it does mean it wears me out faster than someone who thrives on it.

I’ve been dealing with some change these days – with my ankle being hurt for the past few months, I’ve had to totally change my workout routine. I know this may seem like a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but it has been hard. I LOVED getting up to go running in the early morning, when it was cool and quiet outside. Currently, I’ve been going to the gym and riding the stationary bike, and doing a lot more on the weight machines. I’ve also added swimming into my routine since that’s a good non-weight bearing exercise.

More change: in mid-December I will graduate and get my Masters in Library Science (yay!) For two years now I’ve been in the “grad school zone” and have always had homework and assignments running in the back of my mind – in a few months that will change, and it is indeed a welcome change!

It’s funny how even positive changes can still be stressful. There is actually a scale (the Life Change Index Scale) that shows how stressful certain life transitions are – and things like marriage, pregnancy, and even vacation, are on it! It’s also interesting to note how many of the potentially stressful events start with the word “CHANGE.”

As I think about it, I think the most stressful changes for me are the unexpected ones. If I choose to make a change, that’s usually easier to handle. (Not always easier to do, just to handle.)

What changes are happening in your life right now? How do you fare on the Life Change Index Scale?

Porter-Reynolds, D. (2014). Streamlined library programming: How to improve services and cut costs. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

One thought on “Change: The Only Constant

  1. This was such a nice read this morning. I think change is difficult. I am mostly a yellow, but have green area and red areas. Is that a thing? Thank you for sharing, this is certainly applicable in my life and work.


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