Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Life is full of changes. Some of them include everything we love, and others lead to a great sense of fear and uncertainty. Opportunities come and go, and we never realize how each may impact our lives based on our decision to take it or leave it.
This weekend, I finished listening to The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch as Ron and I drove to and from San Diego. As long as the 2-hour drive felt, the audio book made the time go by very quickly. Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, given only a few months of good health left to live. He was also scheduled to give a "Last Lecture" speech (even if he weren't dying) just a few months after. Clearly, after much deliberation, he decided to continue on with the speech and without knowing, impacted so many lived beyond those in the audience at Carnegie Mellon that day.
Randy talked about life, family, love, his children, his wife, childhood dreams, making the ask, handwritten notes, dying and all sorts of real life topics most average conversations do not include. He was probably one of the bravest souls who knew his life was coming to an end. HIs family and close friends were about to experience one of the biggest changes in their lives, so Randy did everything he could to make sure they were all going to be okay without them. If you haven't read or listened to the book yet, my advice is to find some time and make it happen. I have both the hard copy book and audio version and am happy to lend to you. Randy Pausch, a complete stranger, has impacted my life and inspired me to embrace change, no matter how scared I may be.
On the other hand, there are some things that never change (and here I use the word "never" lightly). Sometimes that is good, but I can also name a handful of times when change is scary but absolutely necessary. The reason why I like to travel is because I often times find myself falling into a routine, which I very truly dislike. Monday through Friday, go to work with occasional dinners with friends or lunches with colleagues. Then Saturday and Sunday is "catch-up-on-everything-you-haven't-done" days which truly feel like they are less than 24-hours each. I travel for the change of scenery. I travel to see what is out there. I travel so that I can expose myself to bigger dreams while humbling myself as I see how much I have compared to lots of other folks in the world.
I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to travel. Whether it is to another neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles or across the world into a completely different culture, the exposure to what's out there is truly exciting to me. I truly believe that folks who do not like traveling really haven't traveled enough. Humans have a natural sense of curiosity. We want to explore, learn and even get nosy about what is going on out there, and if it is something we like, how we can become a part of it. We all need a change of scenery every once in a while.
There is also change in friendships and relationships. This past week, two separate friends of mine both loss their mothers. One friend I have known for years, was close with at one point, then loss touch. The other friend I met a few month ago and connected with immediately. Because of what happened this week, I reached out to both to share my condolences. At first, I didn't know what to say because every one deals with grief and pain differently. But I thought to myself, "When mommy passed, I really didn't want to feel alone. So if every one of her friends thought like I did right now, what happens if no one reaches out?" So I decided to send a message. Tough times (should) bring people closer together. This week, my friendship with these two ladies changed because of what the three of us are each going through after losing our heroes.
I am keeping this week's blog a bit short because I am no expert at dealing with change. I foresee change and transitions as a topic in which many of my future coaching clients will face so I thought I'd set myself up with some basic resources as I get there. Remember, change is inevitable. It is how we deal with it that will determine how things turn out. Change comes in all sizes and shapes, and there is no real way to anticipate change. The best strategy is to focus on what you can control and as change comes along, go with the flow.