Back to better

The turning of a year typically brings a flood of observations about the year past and the year to come. The looks ahead more often than not bring messages of hope and optimism. This time around, both of those seem hard to come by.A look back on 2001 reveals a year of such turmoil it's hard to adequately describe.


The turning of a year typically brings a flood of observations about the year past and the year to come. The looks ahead more often than not bring messages of hope and optimism. This time around, both of those seem hard to come by.

A look back on 2001 reveals a year of such turmoil it's hard to adequately describe. Certainly, the biggest and broadest aspects have been the sour economy, the emergence of terrorism in our own country, and the war in Afghanistan. These events have so captured our attention it's been hard to focus on much else. While returning to business as usual seems inviting and comforting, let's hope that doesn't happen.

The old advice that "if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got" is pretty true. And what we got in 2001 wasn't all that great, was it? So, let's not just go back to the old ways. Let's examine our paradigms in the light of where we are and find better ways of approaching the future.

Right now, it's pretty hard to find much inspiration. On the morning I'm writing this, I opened the paper to be greeted with news of more layoffs, pay freezes, bankruptcies, and other glum happenings.

But I think back now to some research I did several years ago on managing change. I'm sure you've read the same things I did about motivating for change, fear of change, and all that. One of the great motivators of change is fear — fear of failure, fear of job loss, fear of whatever. Another is realization — realizing that the need to change can't be denied or ignored. We have both of those factors at work now.

We as a nation are at one of those rare times in our history when a large percentage of the population has come to the realization that change is needed. And the fear of not changing is greater than the fear of changing.

This is a singular moment to be embraced and nurtured. It is a time to question what we have been doing and how we have been doing it. It is a time to look at values and philosophies. It is a time to think about how our work fits into our lives instead of how our lives fit into our work.

We really should not be discouraged. Out of adversity come strength and progress. The year just ending should be our inspiration for the change and improvement to come.

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