I used to believe the Oprah chant that we are the creators of our selves. We decide what our identity will be. I used to believe that. Until the Penn State scandal.
The news of the scandal, and especially the shock of Joe Paterno’s ousting, were unsettling to this recent Penn State graduate. The entire escapade highlighted just how little control we sometimes may have in deciding who “we” “are”.
The Paterno news was startling, because the coach came to represent Penn State’s identity. Even more than the high quality research history, the other sports and academic programs, the creamery and the animal studies.
But I was never a football fan. The only Penn State gear I bought in my 7 year career there was a pair of blue fleece mittens with the Nittany Lion logo. I didn’t buy football jerseys, or even go to any games. My strategy had always been to get out of town when there was a game, otherwise I would be stuck in the tiny-streeted maze until after half- time.
So why did the news affect me like it did?
I felt, as one person walking on the streets of State College commented, “like I was in a daze.” This is what it feels like to not know your identity. And this is exactly what happens when we’re slapped in the face with CHANGE.
Sure we do and can decide how we will define our identity. But even more so, and even more surprising, is that we also absorb large amounts of other things that define our identity. These are the facets that we must investigate, and later integrate (or not) as we go through a transition situation.
The bad news is that we don’t realize this. We want to overcome the change, get back to normal, and feel happy again. Even more bad news: when we encounter change, our first reaction may be to grasp on to disjointed tips and advice and therefore we don’t successfully complete our change. We end up back in the vortex of feeling like we’re in a daze.
We need a systematic approach to change. A program that will help us to naviagte, incorporate, and enjoy the process of change.
The good news is that we CAN do this—but only by using our innate sense of HUMOR…
Who are you after a change? How funny is THAT?