Change and Christmas

Christmas day is upon me. Family is all around, several generations altogether, we take a moment to remember what it is to be grace-filled, modest, and humble as we place gifts at the base of the Christmas tree as we prepare to give them to others. As Christians, we also take a moment to remember Jesus; we believe that God became one like a man and walked among us. There are noises everywhere with excitement brewing among the little ones as they gaze at wrapped gifts. Uncle Mike needs more work (That’s me), some better wrapped than others, and they are laid out ready to be distributed. Names on little cards indicate who is to receive each. 

This year though a change…….

Mike!, you come up here and distribute the gifts. The unwritten normal is that my father (or at least not me) does that. I’ve never done that before, and before you know it, anxiety raises. Indeed there is a person sitting closer that could do it, what does it matter for it to be me? Immediately I think of what’s required, and my brain is clouded and moves into “Umm what am I meant to do?” and that thought keeps wrestling through my brain. Is there an order? Big presents first or little ones? Or family by family? Is there to be flare and humour in the process? Do I give them out left to the right? What if I get something wrong…. Eeeep?

There are times where I get these non-sensical constrained thoughts, and they don’t seem rational at all, and they hold me up. You see there is no reason that I could not distribute the gifts. Pragmatically; that’s simple and straight forward. But more was at play here. The rules changed, and with that, I needed to move out of my comfort zone and change with it. 

You see for me; these little things can be tremendous indeed (or at least in that moment). Often, they have no significance, but when is life rational and ordered? While this change of gift distribution is small, I usually have these same reactions for almost any change. I stood there up the front (uncomfortable and unsure of myself) and tried to keep it together and tell myself that I can do it and that the task at hand is straight forward, let’s lean into it and I’ll do my best as I can muster. By the way, everyone received their gifts. 

As I take time to think through the year that’s been, change has been everywhere. Where some small moments of change can seem herculean, others seem to prove that resilience can be worked through and somehow achieved. Sometimes we need a cry and a hug and other times we rise through the mess to have achieved something we never imagined.

This theme of change has been nothing new to me. Not only have I researched and studied it for my IT Masters this year (Only a few months to go, nearly there). I also changed professional roles, ramped up for remote learning delivery in COVID lockdown, developed strategies for new approaches to technology, embraced new family members, letting go of some old goals and getting ready to welcome them again (Priorities), discovering new places for the future. 

For every change that I’ve embraced, something remarkable has come. I did not always know what that might be or look like. Some things could be put aside (prioritising), or to forge ahead in discomfort developing resilience and patience, embracing new ideas and plans, and sometimes planning to expect or not expect a change to occur. I feel that there is a healthier Mike and seeming endless opportunities. I reflect on this small event of discomfort and lean in to understand so much more.

I was encouraged to read ‘Australian CIOs Reflect on a difficult year’ as my peers have worked through some challenging elements of change for their teams or organisations. The changes to organisations in response to the COVID lockdowns have been innovative and seen changes delivered in a fast time frame. With it though many have realised that there has been a reward for it when they lean into the change. It’s important to note though, that there has been a definitive negative impact this past year and it will take a long time for us to recover. The optimist in us recognises the grief and difficulty, while (Almost paradoxically) knowing there are opportunities and goodness to be enjoyed moving forward.

It’s inspiring to see all that has been accomplished along the way. As a technology leader and support of people (chaplain), it’s my hope to be a better agent of change.   

Wrapping up, I reflect on the year and the grief, disappointment, the real mountains to cross, and the smaller moments that seemed to be like mountains (Christmas gift distribution). I come to realise that through it all this year (and I’m sure more to come) that I’m becoming more resilient. 

And, perhaps it’s these little moments of resilience development that prepare us for the bigger ones?