I have loved reading the books written by Margaret J. Wheatley. Her book, Leadership and the New Science was one of my favorite pieces on leadership. She carefully and thoughtfully makes connections between the science of systems (ecosystems, anatomical systems, immune systems, etc.) and the processes people use for becoming and being effective leaders. It is a compelling and engaging piece on leadership.
Recently, I started reading Wheatley’s book, A Simpler Way, which she co-authored with Myron Kellner-Rogers. A quote from the book on the subject of change has caused me to think about how I respond to changes in my professional and personal life. She writes:
Every change is fostered by a change in self-perception. We will change ourself if we believe that the change will preserve our self. We are unable to change if we cannot find ourselves in a new version of the world. We must be able to see that who we are will be available in this new situation.
I think she’s challenging the reader to reflect on the idea that change is often thought of as threatening. In my work as an educator, I regularly hear people talk about being “afraid of change.” Wheatley goes on to write:
We encourage others to change only if we honor who they are now. We ourselves engage in change only as we discover that we might be more of who we are by becoming something different.
I believe she has us on the right trajectory when she asks us to engage in two tasks: (1) honor people for where they are now; and (2) look at our reflection in the mirror to see if we will enjoy the person who emerges on the other side of the change.
It is my hope that I will become more introspective with regard to change and consider the question, how am I responding to what is asked of the community of which I am a member?