If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or have looked at the Location page on my website recently, you already know this news item: I’m moving my office! Effective 1/30/12, my office will move to 1006 4th Street, Suite 302, in the old California Fruit Building in downtown Sacramento. It turns out that this a building with some interesting history attached to it – it is the oldest reinforced concrete ‘high rise’ west of the Mississippi, and at the time it was completed in 1914, it was the tallest building in Sacramento (141 feet). My new office will have a shared waiting area on the main part of the 3rd floor, but otherwise it’ll be pretty similar to where I’ve been. The best bet for parking will probably be the Downtown Plaza parking garage across the street. Unfortunately, I’m not able to provide parking validation, but there are plenty of places at Downtown Plaza where it’s available.
With this upcoming move, my thoughts have been on change, how change affects us, and my own experiences with change. For the early part of my life, change was something I disliked. Why? Well, before I went to college, I lived in 9 different homes. (If you add in the number of different places my father lived that I stayed in on weekends, it’s more like 15). For me, change meant a new school and having to make new friends, both of which were difficult for me. My negative view on change definitely was a problem for me in early adulthood – it impacted my willingness to make changes, or to fully embrace them when I did. While I did choose to leave Santa Cruz and go to New England for college, my attitude about the differences had a very negative impact on my ability to embrace and enjoy the college experience – it wasn’t until my last year of college that I was really able to settle in and enjoy the differences, unfortunately. Professionally, in my early jobs I often complained about and resisted change, instead of recognizing that I couldn’t stop it and learning how to make the most of it. The result? A lot of useless stress and conflict.
While change still brings up some anxieties and discomfort for me, I have learned that it can be a good thing, that it’s sometimes necessary and very beneficial, and I’ve developed the ability to see and embrace the positives. I’m feeling more and more excited about my office move as it approaches. Changing location is always a good opportunity to create some new positive rituals or processes, and it’s a good opportunity to ‘clean house’. This helps everything feel clean and refreshed and it tends to be energizing. I’m hoping that energy boost will help me move forward with some of the ideas I’ve been working on for a while, such as “Interconnected,” a bi-weekly call-in show / podcast I’m putting together (more news on that as I get closer to launching it). I’m someone who can be especially prone to get into ruts, so being in a new neighborhood will help me change where I go to lunch, what I do during my breaks, etc.
Physiologically, there’s a good reason we don’t like change. To our brains (specifically, the amygdala), change can be seen as a ‘threat’ – the stability and comfort of our current situation being replaced with unknowns. It takes an assist from the pre-frontal cortex to help us see that there are opportunities that come with the change as well – but sometimes, the stress of change impacts our brain processes in a way that impairs the PFCs ability to help. So, using self-soothing tools such as exercise, meditation, etc. to help manage your anxiety when considering or going through change is very important. That way, you will be better able to recognize the stories you are making up about the changes for what they are – anxiety and history-influenced stories, not facts. Seeing those stories for what they are and recognizing that you have the power to create an alternative story through your actions will help you to use change in a positive way. As you practice that process, you’ll also be doing the work of ‘hard-wiring’ neural shortcuts in your brain which will make it easier and more automatic in the future.
One last tip on change: think about past changes you’ve gone through and the positive things that came from them. Make a note of what you did to help create, support, or embrace those positive things. Often, that process will help you identify things you can do to help make more of your current changes.
I don’t know if I’ll get another blog post done before my move – if not, see you on the other side!