2007 – It’s a Wrap . . . Almost | Reacting to Change

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In a few hours, 2007 will be history. December 31, 2007 will be the day I remember as the New Year's Eve the Christmas tree came crashing down.

This morning I woke up to crash . . . tinkle . . crush – was that the recycling truck or something in my house?

Wait a minute . . . how does a recycling truck make a sound like the Phantom’s chandelier smashing?

The alarming sound shocked me out of bed and drew me downstairs to find our 16 year-old-son sitting on the floor next to the fallen Christmas tree. As he gently moved the branches and carefully checked for damage, we both wondered what happened. Did our 8-pound cat have enough strength to topple a tree?

[What do you think? Here's her story - along with information on Simpleology - a 2008 action tracking system. Now, back to the post.]

How it happened didn’t matter.

Cleaning up the mess and saving precious ornaments did.

We found some unlikely survivors like one of the Cory’s fragile glass ornament from the 30s. All of the ornaments from my childhood days were intact, but we lost the Delft ornament from our trip to Amsterdam. The MGM Vegas ornament I picked up in November is also now in the trash.

Removing ornaments and lights from a floor-bound tree is much easier than working with an upright one in a stand. As we cleaned up, we made a spot in the ornament box for pieces of precious ornaments that we’d like to remember, but will never see whole again.

The fragile acorn that represented our nine years in Oak Park is one of the pieces in the box. When I said, “Oh well, we don’t live there anymore.” my daughter said, “Still, it’s gone.”

Soon, the tree was out the front door, decorations were packed away and Christmas was no longer alive in our living room. It all happened in about 20 minutes – a task that can take up to an hour or more.

So, would I exchange a quick, forced reaction for a cherished tradition?

Typically not, but the exact answer depends on the instance at hand.

In business and in life, sometimes we most move quickly to clean up a mess, save what's working, repair what can be fixed and  trash what's broken. The faster we learn how to recover from unexpected losses or diversions, the better we can manage change, failure and, yes, even success.

For a lesson in how to go survive change with less turbulence, I'll hand you over to my niece, Kris Hallbom, the creator of the Universal Cycles of Change concept. Somehow, this seems fitting knowing that the ornaments that survived are ones Kris also enjoyed as a child. Here's wishing you a happy, healthy and joyous life - in 2008 and always.

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