Step One of the change process is the early recognition of a coming change. It is that phase while with everything going well and feeling normal, you begin to get the sensation that something is different. It can be hard to put your finger on and may be only a vague awareness that change is approaching but you know that, "Somethings up?"
The Wave of Change
It is as if there is a tidal wave rushing towards shore but no one knows it yet. There may be some signs that an astute observer could spot.
Perhaps a weather pattern, cloud formation, or barometer reading would give a clue. There is a subtle pattern of seemingly random events that if tied together would signal a coming change. Someone recognizing the pattern could begin to raise the alarm and get a head start on preparation.
The Lake and the Lily Pads
A childs riddle that speaks to this problem of recognition. "On day one a large lake contains only a single small lily pad. Each day the number of lily pads doubles, until on the thirtieth day the lake is full of lily pads. On which day was the lake half full? The answer is the 29th day.
An astute observer would have noticed changes in the lake and could have seen a pattern. The daily doubling of lily pads should have raised some concerns. A disastrous change was coming. Consider how the lake looked on the 29th day. It was only half full. If you wanted to go swimming you could. You could go boating if you liked. There was plenty of room. Fish were plentiful and fishing was possible. The very next day disaster had struck. The lake was choked. There was no room for swimming or boating. The fish were dying. Early recognition of the doubling pattern could have enabled some action. Now it was too late. Change had struck.
Examples of Change
Think of any recent change in your life and review it to see if it fits this six step model. Can you identify what you did at each step? Lets look at common changes in personal life and at work as examples. Lets see if the change of cycle helps you understand your change process.