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  • Writer's picturejamesbriankerr

The Art of Change: The Grass Truly is Greener

It was a Friday morning and I got the call no one wants to get.

Because of a shakeup at the company where I worked, I would be losing my well-paying job. I’d been there for 28 years, received consistently glowing performance reviews, climbed the proverbial ladder to the top communications post.

But now the company was restructuring and new people were being brought in. Thanks for all your contributions, Jim. Time to move out. Good luck.

Now, you need to know that I was miserable. This was a company that had been laying people off from the day I had joined. Revenue was shrinking, morale was awful, opportunities for advancement had dried up. It was a terrible environment to work in

What’s more, I had been secretly pining for years to do something different, something that fed my passion and not just my bank account. I was tired of corporate America. Tired of feeling owned by a single organization run by imperious bosses. Tired of never having time, because of the 24/7 demands of my job, to do what I really really wanted to do, which is write.

Still, I knew this job. I knew the people, the routine. Despite all of its ups and downs over the years, the company had provided me and my family with a steady paycheck and benefits for nearly thirty years.

Now that stability was being taken away. I was petrified. I had mortgage payments and three kids in college What would I do? Where would I go? How would I survive?

Change is hard for most people. But for those of us with sensitive natures, change – even of the positive kind – can rock our predictable world and send us into a spiral of anxiety and depression.

I’m here to tell you that change is as natural as breathing, and how we handle it has nothing to do with the circumstances and everything to do with how we view it.

Fears of change are born from a mindset of scarcity. They arise from the lizard part of our brain that sees resources as finite, competition as infinite, and life as a fight-to-the-death battle with others who want to take what’s ours.

Here we are dependent on this little patch of green grass that we know so well. We’ve been feeding on this patch for years. Every morning we can go there to graze.

Suddenly we are faced with the loss of that field and we catastrophize. Where will we go now? How will we provide? We believe that other fields will either be taken or they won’t provide for us as well as the one we’ve known.

That’s what I did when I learned I would be losing my job. I found myself calculating how many weeks of severance I would get based on my tenure, how much I would be able to save over that timeframe, and how long those emergency funds would last before they ran out.

It was as if I would never make another dollar and I would have to live on my meager savings for the rest of my life.

Madness. How insane are the illusions we allow ourselves to believe in during this life.

The truth is that abundance, not scarcity, is the fuse that drives the flower of this universe. Burn down a forest in the world’s worst wildfire and in a few weeks, buds of green are sprouting from the scorched earth.

If only we would lift our eyes from the little patch on which we are feeding, we would see a vista as green and verdant as the hills of green stretching behind Julie Andrews as she sings from the mountaintop.

That same day that I got the phone call from my boss, I went to a social function in the evening. A doctor friend who runs a successful medical practice, upon hearing the news of my impending job loss, said she could use my marketing help at her practice. Would I join her team, at least until I found something else? I worked there for a couple of months, learned a lot, enjoyed my time, made a contribution to the practice (I hope), and in February I got a call from a former colleague about a marketing opening at a big tech company down. I interviewed for the job, was hired, and started in April.

One door closes, another opens.

One field of grass closes off to us, another one, perhaps even bigger, is waiting.

The grass truly is greener. Don’t let your mind (or anyone else) tell you otherwise.



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