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The Briefing

Embracing change is essential for growth

Embracing change is essential for growth Banner

by Seamus Donnelly


Seamus dives into how embracing change is essential to growth.

On a visit to my parent’s house last weekend my mother presented me with a 25–year–old local newspaper clipping that was titled, ‘Shoot–out success for spot on Seamus’.

It brought me back to May 1998 and to an inter–school penalty kick competition that offered primary school pupils the first prize of a trip to Old Trafford to see Manchester United in action.

I was lucky enough to emerge the winner and went on to enjoy the trip of a lifetime for a Man United mad 10–year–old!

While the clipping was a reminder of a special day and an unforgettable memory it also got me thinking about how our whole world can change without us realising.

As a 10–year–old in May 1998, I didn’t quite appreciate just how much the world around me was changing.

The Good Friday Agreement had been signed a month before and it would go on to shape my life and that of my classmates.

At 10, I was aware that something important was happening but didn’t grasp the enormity of that change.

For me embracing what was happening was easy. I was young, had no baggage of the previous 30 years and keen to find new challenges.

As I’ve got older however, I’ve realised that embracing change isn’t quite that easy whether it’s in your personal life or in your career.

For humans change is something we’re hardwired to avoid and resist. Our primitive instincts teach us that in order to survive, we’re best to choose the safe option and minimise risk at every turn.

However, whether we like it or not change is inevitable. We are living in a fast–moving world that is more interconnected and linked than ever before. To standstill is to lose ground. We’re either moving forward, learning and developing or we’re passed out – losing our edge.

In our personal lives, in business and in wider society it is those who acknowledge change and adapt to it that flourish. Those who seek out change and actively embrace it will progress and thrive.

As we look forward in 2023, we need to consider how we can shape the change that will impact our lives, our careers and businesses that we’re a part of. What can we do to ensure that we and the organisations we care about innovate, develop and grow?

We need to be cognisant of how prevailing circumstances affect us and our organisations. We can’t live or work in isolation. Changing circumstances need to be recognised, acknowledged and factored into our decision–making process.

We also need to take stock. This requires an honest review and reflection on how we have reacted to changing circumstances over recent weeks and months. To be most effective, informed counsel should be sought from those that know us best and from those that we respect.

This reflection will enable identification of strengths and weaknesses, highlight what’s been successful, what hasn’t and shine a light on areas where further work is required. This will inform how we move forward and adapt to future change.

Armed with this knowledge, our personal and professional development will come as we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, experience new things and try new challenges.

Undoubtedly, we’ll be hit by setbacks. Not everything can or will go to plan. This too must be embraced. Setbacks create new opportunities and new ways to look at a problem. With the right mindset and mentality, we can use these setbacks to push on and to grow.

Most importantly though advancing and growing in life and in business is about embracing opportunity, challenge and change.

Reflecting on what the 10 year–old me would have thought about my choices and openness to change has given me pause for thought.

Have I embraced change be it a new challenge, a disappointment or an opportunity in a way that the younger version of me would have been proud of?

I’m not sure – but I intend to make a conscious effort this year to be more accepting and to embrace change for better or worse.