Change is constant. Give yourself permission.

May 7, 2019

When you type “change is constant” in Google, you get more than 500 million results. Some of the first entries are related to Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who said, “Change is the only constant in life.” He shared this thought around 2,500 years ago. So why do we struggle so much with a concept that has been around for so long?

I didn’t conduct a scientific survey, but I do have a pretty good idea of why based on the past month of my life. You see, I left my corporate job in mid-April to co-found a startup. All kinds of anxiety and pressure built up to my last day in the corporate world. Most of it had to do with the unknown and realizing there were more than a few things I’d have to relearn. For example, I like to know what is happening. I am a planner. I like to-do lists, role clarity and defined processes. After all, many of my corporate responsibilities were in creating clarity and predictability where there was chaos. The idea of waking up one morning to twenty years of structure evaporating was a seismic shift to my normal routine.  

To help make sense of it, I used a lifeline to call one of my mentors. He knew I was experiencing a big change, and after a few minutes of explaining how I was feeling, he replied with one simple statement: “Give yourself permission.”

I paused for a few seconds — “Permission to do what?” He said, “Give yourself permission to not be exhausted, to be more creative, to be present for what is really important.”

Over the years, I became comfortable feeling secure in a cycle of repetition. I was ready for a change, but I had not given myself permission to release the past, focus on the future and move forward with the change. When you start a company, you wear many hats. Today I was a user experience designer, a technology officer, a makeshift marketer, an accountant and the receptionist — and I also vacuumed our office. I have started to create enough structure to feel comfortable but also enough time to be creative. But it is hard!

I still have a lot of work to do to figure this out. Just the simple act of giving myself permission released a lot of stress, and now I am looking forward to finding the right balance!

How many of you have given yourself permission? Change is constant, but that doesn’t mean we actually support and move forward with the change. Think about something you want to change in your life. Then think about what you need to do to give yourself permission to make that change.

In my corporate job, I sent an email each week to my staff, usually on Monday, with my schedule and a short note on something I was thinking about that week. I realized that this was one of my creative outlets. It forced me to organize my thoughts on an important topic. I now look forward to sharing some of those thoughts on this blog.

If you want to stay up to date on things happening at seedership,please subscribe to our email list. You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram. Look for a new video series we will soon be launching called “Everyday Seeders.” It focuses on finding the people in our communities who have given themselves permission to make a change focused on making the world a better place. Take care.

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Written by
Ray Smithberger
As seedership's kindness evangelist, Ray enjoys studying and sharing the behavioral and biological benefits of kindness and how they can strengthen connections for business growth. Having grown up on a farm means he is a morning person who likes to roll up his sleeves, and he better since as a co-founder he is part team builder, part product developer, part finance lead with a mix of big ideas and strategy. ‍

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We started with one goal – to make the world a better place.  Our careers in the corporate world were satisfying, but we felt a need to contribute to a greater purpose. We began serving on nonprofit boards and volunteering for various charitable organizations. This left us wanting to see the impact of donating our time or resources and wondering if there was a different way to contribute.

We explored a lot of questions. Who are the stewards of change in the local community?  What could we do to make kindness more visible? Was it possible to transform doing good into a routine activity versus one done once in a while?

We didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Within our families, there are entrepreneurs owning more than a dozen businesses ranging from a hair salon and hardware store to a specialty paper goods company and construction development firm.  They shared two traits: a passion for their customers and a desire to strengthen their communities.

So we set out to create a platform to showcase good, inspire more good, recognize those who give back, and start a sustainable movement to make the world a better place.

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