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February 2005 - Celebrating Change

We live in an ever-changing world - the climate is changing, people change, political agendas change, people are born and people die. Friends and family become grandparents, get married, start their first career jobs. Even our approach to physiology changes - witness The Practical Guide to Health published in Melbourne in 1908, especially for Nurses and home use,

"If you sleep in a close room, instead of supplying them (little cell workers cleaning the lungs after a day's work) with oxygen and other food which they must have for their work, you are giving them poison, which will make them slow and stupid. If you wake in the morning tired and cross, it is because the little workers you have been misusing are tired and exhausted."

Change is inevitable, it is the spice of life

As we enter a new year we have members, many relatively junior in terms of Society experience, stepping onto the Board of our Society for the first time - full of apprehension yet charged with enthusiasm. They see challenges ahead and want to contribute as their mentors have done before them. I exhort all members to get in behind your new representatives (and your longer serving ones as well!) and let them know they have your confidence. Let them know when they get it right, as well as when they don't. Make sure too that your representatives who have stepped down are acknowledged for their contributions as well.

Make an extra effort to get to the first of your regional meetings for the year so you can let them know they have your confidence - you did elect them after all. You must also provide input into their planning for the rest of the year if your needs are to be met. The first regional meeting of the year is very important if your region is going to prosper.

The flip side of change, of course, is doubt about whether you will like the changes that may be made. In any new adventure there is always a risk that it may not work out whether it be a new holiday destination or a new restaurant. However, you embark on these adventures in the belief that your choices were good and the risks recede in your mind. Sure the disappointment will be greater should things go wrong but that will be dealt with when and if it happens.

Why then do we all fear change? Perhaps it is because we did not choose the change, it is imposed on us. We have to submit to someone else's changes. Looked at like that, change becomes a threat to the way we have always done things, a threat to our comfort zone and a threat to our perceived autonomy. The reality is that we all have to function interdependently whether at home, at work or at play. Sometimes change aligns comfortably with our ideas, sometimes it doesn't but we have to accept that. Society depends on our interdependence.

There will be many occasions when change is perceived to be driven by short-term goals and that can be irritating and wasteful. Your irritation is justified. Nor is change for change's sake good. However, by accepting the change and adopting the "new rules" you allow yourself to move on and are able to continue contributing to the greater good. By not accepting the change the only certainty is you will waste a lot of time and energy, a resource already in limited supply. This acceptance of change does not mean you should roll over and have your tummy tickled every time change is mooted, but rather you should carefully choose the battles you fight and fight them before the change is made.

Change can indeed be a scary thing, but if the truth be known we generally make it scary for ourselves.

As we head into 2005, with a new Board and a new Executive taking the helm in a couple of months, it is inevitable there will be change - some of which will enthuse some members and cause others to lose interest while other changes will have the opposite effect. Our Society is a living thing and as it grows change cannot be avoided. We should celebrate change, not fear it.

Get in behind your new leaders and follow them as they take the Society forward.

Till next time,

Kevin

February, 2005

kevin.gain@health.wa.gov.au

 

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