The stresses – and benefits – of change

I had just returned from a wonderful vacation when I heard the earth-shattering news. My gym, a privately-owned facility ranked among the best workout facilities in the nation, had been purchased by a larger publicly-held corporation.

“Oh no!” I thought. The place I love so much (and spend so much time in) is going to change! My beloved gym is going to lose its personality, sense of community, and possibly even its great classes, instructors, and friendly staff.  It’s going to turn into just another run-of-the-mill mega-gym.

I was genuinely distraught.

Change isn’t always easy, whether it affects work, home, the people you love, or the places you enjoy. Sure, there are situations where it can be exciting, but I was certain this wouldn’t be one of those times!  My fellow gym friends and I were feeling stress, anxiety, resentment, and a host of other emotions.  The gossip was flying. And not always in a good direction.

As the weeks went by, the changeover process began. There were a few staff and policy changes, as well as significant remodeling, new equipment, the addition of some new classes, a badass sound system, and big screen HD televisions. 

Okay, these were pretty awesome.  The gym looked amazing.  I was warming up to the idea.

But then, just when we thought things were settling down, there were more changes. We had to download a special app and reserve our bikes ahead of time for spin class.  

“Oh no!” I thought. Not another app! This is going to be a total pain! I’ll have to plan in advance which classes I want to go to! Ugh!  There would be no more showing up to class spontaneously.  Or – let’s be honest – skipping class at the last minute because I was “too busy” or “wasn’t feeling it.”   (You know what I’m talking about.)

Sigh.

Oh, but there was more.  In class they began posting our names (alongside which bike we were on), revolutions-per-minute (rpm), watts, and other details of our performance − on a big screen in front of the whole class. In real time.

“Oh no!” I thought. Now everyone will know what a wimp I am! How demeaning!

I literally went through all the stages of grief during this transition:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression. And then, finally, acceptance.  I simply got tired of being anxious and agitated. I began following the new procedures and went with the flow. 

It’s been eight months since I first got the news about the buyout. Sure, there have been inconveniences, blips in communication, and changes to adjust to. But, you know what? Overall the transition hasn’t been that bad. In fact, last week it dawned on me how awesome the changes, especially to spin class, have been.  Allow me to recap: 

First, since I have to plan my workouts (aka reserve a bike), they are on my calendar as appointments.  I don’t miss appointments.

Second, since we reserve our bikes anywhere from six days to only a few hours before class, we don’t always get the same bikes we once gravitated to when it was all first-come, first-serve. (Ever been to church where the same people sit in the same pews, Sunday after Sunday for decades – just out of habit? Yeah, class was like that.)  On any given day we’re on different bikes in different parts of the room, seated next to different people. As an intentional networker, I appreciate this! We’re mixing it up. 

Third, now that we can see on the big screen who is on which bike and are varying where we sit, we are doing a better job of learning each other’s names and getting to know one another. Overall, it’s making spin class a much friendlier, social, and happy place. In fact, most class participants are having such a good time visiting before class the instructor has to tell us to get on our bikes so we can get going on time!  And all the performance numbers? Pffft. No one really cares.

Well, whaddaya know? Turns out, change does have its benefits!  And, in this case, the kind that leads people to better connection. 

Wondering now what my problem was. Why did I waste so much time and emotional energy worrying and feeling negative?  Why couldn’t I have been more optimistic about the whole thing? And what other changes will be on my horizon that I can quit worrying about as of now– and actually look forward to?

How about you? Have you ever fretted over an upcoming change – only to discover that it was not only a good thing, but a great thing? And that it brought with it benefits you couldn’t even imagine?  Would love to hear your stories! 

In the meantime, please let me know how I can put my expertise to work to help you or your organization. We can work together to navigate through changes, shift old habits, and encourage friendlier and more productive relationships and connections that lead to success and sales. Contact me at 512-970-8129 or patti[at]intentionalnetworker[dot]com. Let’s have a chat!

 

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