Engaging in change
I have recently made a big decision to relocate with my two sons from a rural hamlet in the Yorkshire Dales to the city of York. Having lived in 32 different places during my life you may think this is no big deal but because of our family history and the emotional investment in this place, it feels like it is. I have felt for some time that as the boys get older they need to experience the things that living in a livelier place will bring.
Initially quite ambivalent about the move we have suddenly all bought into the idea and are getting excited about the prospect, even though we don’t know where we will be living, what school Ben will go to, what Jack will do with his life etc. I started thinking about how this fits with what I know about getting people to buy in to change both personally and professionally and how we have made this shift as a family.
Me – I began by finding out about opportunities for the boys that I knew would appeal to them, after all, I believed that was my main motivation for moving. It helped me to start painting a vision of what it would be like living there and the benefits it would bring each of them. I talked to people who knew York and they all seemed to love it. I began considering all the things I could access, such as classes, groups and cultural events that are difficult to attend where I live. Finally I spent last weekend there on my own, soaking up the atmosphere, and getting a feel for the place. That convinced me what a great opportunity this was for me as well as for the boys.
Jack (16) didn’t want to move at first because he would lose his friends. The reality is, in order to get a job, or go to college his friends like most people here are likely to move away and not come back, as there are so few opportunities for employment or housing.. What sold the move to Jack was that a) he can make friends there and they are likely to stay around. b) the night life is good and c) when he is ready he will be able to live independently from us whilst still having us there when needed.
Ben (12) loves living rurally and feels he is the one with the most to lose. Though understandably nervous, he is now excited about moving to a bigger school and the additional facilities and sports clubs this brings. Another major plus factor for Ben, unlike Jack, is that he has realised he can attend university or college or find a job all whilst still living at home with me for as long as he likes. (At the moment he estimates that to be around the next 30 years :-))
So three people with different perceived losses, different concerns, different priorities and different benefits all making the journey through change and becoming engaged in the process. How do you help others through change?
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