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Accepting Change by Focusing on Continuity

Published 8/17/2018

Today I have some personal news to share, in addition to talking about life changes and accepting the fear that comes with change.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone, before we get started today, I want to talk about something that we've mentioned a few times in the show that launched last week. It's called breaker upstream, breaker upstream. This is a service from breaker. If you haven't used breaker, it's an excellent app for listening to podcasts. It's currently available in the iTunes app store for iOS and it's coming to Android soon. Now breaker is already an awesome application for listening to podcasts. It brings quite a few new elements to podcasting. It kind of feels like podcasting 2.0, in my opinion. But beyond the app being awesome already, breaker upstream provides listeners like you with a chance to support shows like Developer Teadirectly. So what you do is you download breaker and sign up for an account and subscribe to shows like you normally do, but you'll see some special premium feeds that you can subscribe to for a monthly fee. For Developer Tea, we've decided to create an ad-free version of our show. Go and check it out, breaker upstream. Use the breaker app and subscribe to Developer Teaad-free. Thank you again to breaker for joining Developer Tea and allowing us to be a launch partner with this brand new product and for bringing listeners closer to the podcast that they love. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrello. My goal on this show is to help driven developers like you connect to their career purpose and do better works so they can have a positive influence on the people around them. And I have some personal news to share today. This week was my last week working for Whiteboard. Whiteboard is the agency that I've been working for essentially for about eight years now. And I've decided to take a position with a company called ClearBet. You may have heard of ClearBet and we certainly will be talking a little bit more about what ClearBet does in future episodes just because that'll be my new daily experience. Whereas at Whiteboard I worked with clients, that role will change and the focus will change as I move into my role at ClearBet. But in today's episode I want to talk about something that I think a lot of developers face, a lot of developers who are in my position trying to decide what to do with their careers, what you face and that is fear and more specifically fear of change. We inhibit our actions very often because we are afraid of change without really thinking about the benefits of change. Of course, humans are kind of hardwired to do this. If you haven't learned anything on the show other than humans being hardwired, we are certainly hardwired to do things that may not necessarily be in our best interest. This is hardwiring that has come from many thousands of years of humans not needing to really change very much. And I guess more specifically, once a human has found safety and sustenance and protection then we don't really have a drive to change. In fact, we have a drive to avoid change because if we found something that works then if we change it, maybe it won't work. Maybe we are in dangerous territory when we try to change something. So we have this built-in fear of change, but I don't want to just focus on the fear of change. We've talked about fear of change quite a bit on the show before, but instead how you can help yourself accept change. And sometimes the change isn't really something that you necessarily chose. Perhaps you're a developer that got laid off. This happens all of the time in companies all over the world. Developers do lose their jobs. They do get laid off. Perhaps you have a recent life experience that has created change for you. Maybe you've moved away from home or had a relationship change. There are a lot of different types of change that we will always experience in our lives. And in fact, change is something that will happen from the day you are born until the day you die and well before that and well after that. So how can we deal better with change? Research shows and this comes from Harvard Business Review. And in order to get people to embrace change, and again, this is specifically in the business kind of category of change, in order to get people to accept change, have them focus on the things that will stay the same. Think about this for a second. In order to accept change, focus on the things that won't change. Some of the research is talking about changes in curriculum for students. Some of it is talking about changes in organizational structure. And we view change or differences in what we have been doing and what we plan to do in the future that can feel like a threat. So if we're focusing on the things that won't change, perhaps if there's a few mechanisms that are at play here. Number one, you're kind of reminding yourself that everything is not going to change. Maybe your brain is tricking you into believing that everything will, but in fact, most things, with almost any change you experience in life, most things about your life will stay the same. Of course, I'm adding my own speculation about why it is that if we focus on things that don't change, that we can accept change a little bit better. But in your own life, in your own career, if you are actively avoiding change, then you're also actively avoiding the good that change may bring. Yes, of course, you are avoiding risks, but you're also possibly avoiding growth. You may be avoiding the opportunity that carries you to a much better place in your career. And even when you don't accept change, even when you resist change, you may actually be putting yourself in a different risk category. If things are changing around you, and they are, there's nothing you can do about that. If you choose to resist change, then your position relative to the rest of the world changes anyway. Yes, it's kind of a strange thing to imagine, but imagine that everything else around you is moving in a general direction. And if you choose to kind of dig your heels in and not move anywhere, that could have a detrimental effect on your career. If you choose not to learn new technology, this is the most common one, right? Then of course, eventually the technology that you have become an expert with will become outdated or otherwise obsolete. So how can you focus on things that won't change? What are the things that won't change with your given change that you're trying to accept? As it turns out, when I was trying to make the decision of whether or not I was going to leave whiteboard and go to a new position, I often found myself negotiating on what was going to be similar. Other things will actually stay the same. An interesting thing actually happened in this job search. My new life patterns, my new day-to-day patterns and even my commute will be almost identical. I'm going to be parking in the same parking garage. And there's a cool working space that I'm going to be working from that's only a few blocks away from where whiteboard is. So much of my day-to-day is not going to experience a flip on a Ted. So even though my life will change drastically in terms of who I work for and the kind of work that I'm doing, it may not really feel that drastic. And so as I was making these decisions, those were the kinds of things that I kind of accidentally weighed, those kinds of continuities between my old job and my new job, those became very important. So I encourage you if you are trying to accept a change, if you're considering a change. In order to accurately understand whether you want that change or not, take some time and focus on the things that actually don't change. It may be as simple as you aren't going to be moving away from your home. And so every night you're going to lay your head down in the same pillow, in the same bed, in the same house or apartment, wherever you currently are. Or the change may be something like learning a new language or adopting a new framework for your primary product. Let's say you work in a product company and you're adopting an entirely new way of doing things. Well, focus on the things that don't change when those things do change. Will you create essentially the same product and perhaps for the same audience? Are you going to be working with the same people in the same place? I'll leave you with one final note when it comes to change. Humans are incredibly adaptable. We deal with change better than we expect to. We expect change to be more drastic than it really is. So I encourage you to not be resistant to change and instead to find the human ways to deal with it to accept the change that's happening around you. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea and a very special thank you to the people that I've worked with at Whiteboard over the years. I can't say experiences that I've had working with the people that I've worked with both clients and the people who've worked at Whiteboard with me as colleagues, both recently and in the distant past, it seems at this point. Thank you all so much for making that experience at Whiteboard such a wonderful, a wonderful time. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Don't forget about Breaker upstream and subscribing to the ad-free version of Developer Tea. Thanks again for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.