Why Is Change So Hard? Resisting, Belonging, and Evolving with Alex and Cristina

We have all gone through countless changes in our lives, in our organizations, and in the world around us. It doesn't necessarily mean changing gets easier. In fact, it's usually pretty hard. 

There is always resistance to new ways of being, plans that don't work out, and risk in embracing the unknown. But we've all adapted and made it through big changes before, and we are always capable of doing it again!

In an enlightening conversation that surprisingly has a lot to do with cheese, Uncover The Human co-hosts Alex and Cristina explore the reasons change can be so difficult for us, how to deal with internal and external resistance, and how we can succeed at making changes - both in our everyday lives and in our organizations.

Credits: Raechel Sherwood for Original Score Composition.

YouTube Channel: Uncover The Human

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Alex Cullimore: Welcome to Uncover the Human, where every conversation revolves around enhancing all the connections in our lives. 

Cristina Amigoni: Whether that's with our families, co-workers, or even ourselves. 

Alex Cullimore: When we can be our authentic selves, magic happens.

Cristina Amigoni: This is Cristina Amigoni. 

Alex Cullimore: And this is Alex Cullimore. 

Let’s dive in.

Cristina Amigoni: Let’s dive in. 

Authenticity means freedom.”

“Authenticity means going with your gut.”

“Authenticity is bringing 100% of yourself not just the parts you think people want to see, but all of you.”

“Being authentic means that you have integrity to yourself.”

“It's the way our intuition is whispering something deep-rooted and true.”

“Authenticity is when you truly know yourself. You remember and connect to who you were before others told you who you should be.”

“It's transparency, relatability. No frills. No makeup. Just being.”

Alex Cullimore: Welcome back to this episode of Uncover the Human. We are here alone today. It's rare. And we also haven't recorded one in a little bit. We had our summer break. This is feeling fresh. 

Cristina Amigoni: It is. 

Alex Cullimore: We just had to go and remember all the mechanics of what recording.

Cristina Amigoni: I know. The first step is then we press record. Yes, we did. Okay, good. Baby steps on the memory tree.

Alex Cullimore: Ironically, that's kind of what we wanted to talk about today. Why change is hard. And this is one of our changes, going back into something we've already done, which doesn't feel like a change. And yet it does.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, that's interesting. I've never actually thought about it until you mentioned that. Even a change back to something that used to be familiar, and it's been gone for a couple of months, it's still a change. 

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. I mean, you went to Europe for a month, which is awesome. And you had a blast there. Is it weird like coming back after that? Is that kind of similar life retransmission?

Cristina Amigoni: Yes, I would say that there's – I don't know about culture shock. Shock is probably a little harsh of a word going there. It's more of a cultural adjustment, which takes, I don't know, an hour. I mean, it's a pretty quick adjustment at this point for me to go back there. As soon as we land and then we have to get off the plane from the stairs and then wait for a bus, wherever it comes in. It's one of those like, “Oh, yeah, that's right. This is where we are. Got it.” 

Alex Cullimore: Turn on the European mindset.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, exactly. Let me switch that on. It’s been off for a while.

Alex Cullimore: Everybody is aggressive about lines.

Cristina Amigoni: Yes, yes, yes. I started elbowing people out of the way in lines. It comes on pretty automatically. It is a little bit like riding a bike after a long time, and you just get back in the mode right away. And coming back, it's also an adjustment. Coming back, I would say that this time, for the first time in 22 years of being in the US almost consequently, this is the first time that the shock coming back here was more than the adjustment going there. It was the first time that I was like, “Ha! Okay, I think I may want to be there more.”

Alex Cullimore: Especially after you elbow somebody onto a bus at DIA and they get pissed off.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the lines are way too clean over here. I need to be elbowing my way through ordering a cup of coffee, or somebody else because I don't drink coffee.

Alex Cullimore: I cannot say the same. I have a cup of coffee right next to me right now. I did not have to elbow anybody for it. I just made it.

Cristina Amigoni: You didn’t have to elbow your way through your cats to make it? Yeah.

Alex Cullimore: Essentially, all of these are adjustments. And you hit on an interesting point of like what happens over time, is eventually becomes habitual. It's like riding a bike. You might not ride a bike for a long time. But the second you get back on one, you’re like, “Yeah, I remember how to balance this. Your muscles kind of take over. And same with like Europe. And the same if I ever tried to transition out of drinking coffee. That's going to be a really harsh day because there's too much habit built around this at this point.

Cristina Amigoni: Oh, yeah. Yeah, exactly. It’s like, “Wait. I don’t have to fight to get a cup of coffee. I can just get a cup of coffee. What’s wrong here?” Yeah, it's interesting. 

Yeah. So, our dear friend, Lin, actually asked recently on one of our LinkedIn posts, is why is change so hard? And so, since I thought about it for a couple of days and didn't know how to respond in 120 characters or less, or whatever is allowed in comments in LinkedIn. I think it’s a little more than that. I figured, like, “I think this is a good podcast topic,” because it is not a simple answer. It's a little complex.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. Maybe we start with thinking about why, on the individual level, what kind of things happen. This actually is a good quote that we've been using a lot in some of our change projects, which is that change happens at the individual level. So ultimately, even as an organization, you have to get everybody to have that shift. It has to happen individually as a collective. So, change happening at an individual level is important. 

And we've just mentioned three different situations that are weird adjustments. There's the “I don't know if I want to be here. Maybe I want to be in Europe.” Now, there's like kind of resistance to coming back to what was already normal, which is an interesting change. And going to Europe has become a habit. That's a different one that you just – You're familiar with. You can kind of get into the mindset. So, what do you think when you think about like individual change? What makes this so hard on an individual level?

Cristina Amigoni: The first thought that I had when I was reading Lin's question was I kept thinking of Simon Sinek saying, that people don't resist evolution, they resist a revolution. So, when change – And you think about an organizational change, or something like lockdown for the pandemic, or anything else pandemic related, that wasn't an evolutionary change. It's typically a revolutionary change. Meaning, that in an organization, it's a top-down decision, or it’s a market decision, which is still a top-down decision. Even no matter what the market does is still a top-down decision from the executives and the leadership teams. 

And so, when the time for the evolution piece of that is not given for the people that actually have to enact the change and change the way they think, behave, act, tools they use, because of the top-down decision, that's when it becomes a revolution. And a revolution, the first thing that you do in a revolution is resisting, because the revolution means, the reality, the way I knew it is gone. So now I fall into the unknown. I fall into imposter syndrome. I fall into fear. I'm not dealing with, “Am I good enough? What if I'm not good enough?” Or, “God, I've been promoted, or I've been kept around this company for 20 years because of what I do. And now they’re changing what I'm supposed to do. What does that mean for my identity?” It's now a loss of identity. There's a whole Pandora's box that happened when that revolution message doesn't include an evolution timeline.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. I really love that distinction, revolution, and evolution. And I'm going to put this back into the frame of the Europe story. Like, when you think about like, “Hey, I might want to be in Europe.” That's an evolution thing. You're not thinking, “I'm going to seek a revolution to my life.” And now suddenly switch over. If you didn't want to go to Europe, that would probably feel like a revolution. If you felt more like it, you’re like, “Oh, this is a growth.” This is an evolution that you want from this. You know why. You can start to see the comparisons. You see what life might be like, right? And I think, organizationally, it’s kind of what you're saying. You get attached to identity. If somebody tells you that identity has to change, that's rough. That's a lot harder to come on board with, which is why so much of change ends up coming down to like, “Can you tell people what's good about this for them?” What makes this an evolution and not a revolution? It's not meeting your plate away. It's me just changing what's on it maybe.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, and that's a big thing. It goes beyond what's good for them about the change. It’s more about telling them how they can still fit in and still be successful in this new reality that you want them to live in. And how are you going to support them in getting there on, again, an individual level? A lot of the work that we do, is a very different approach from most change management, or traditional change management projects, which, ironically enough, is actually switching to the way we're doing it. So, yay for being the first, or some of the first.

Alex Cullimore: Accidentally. 

Cristina Amigoni: I know. Accidentally being the first. Or some of that first, at least in our opinion. But some of that is that, hey, everybody's going to go through this journey in a different way at a different time. They're going to revert back to and comfort zone, which is the old way, or the current way, and in a lot of cases. And so, respect that. There is no right and wrong way of going through change. It's not a competition. We either win or we all lose. 

Like, if we leave one person behind, we have all lost on the transformation. So, it's not about who gets there first and everybody else figures it out. If it were that easy, well, then, we’d probably have peace on earth. I don't know.

Alex Cullimore: Things will be a little easier. 

Cristina Amigoni: Things will be a lot easier. 

Alex Cullimore: The metaphor you threw out a couple of months ago, that I love this metaphor, and I think it's been used in other contexts. But this is the moving the cheese idea that just, like, as change managers, we come in and we mostly just move the cheese a little bit, move the cheese a little bit, move the cheese a little bit. Like, if you want to eat, come this way, come this way, come this way. We're going to make this more gradual transition. And if we don't, nobody's eating and everybody's angry. We throw the cheese away, or that cheese wave bars up to where we need to be. Everybody, it’s like, “Well, where the hell's the cheese?” Nobody goes anywhere. Now they're just angry at you for not having any cheese.

Cristina Amigoni: Indeed. And we have been guilty of that because of the pressure of action, activity, and value. Show that something's happening. Show that something's happening. Show that something's happening, which is probably a whole different podcast topic on actions and accomplishments, which is my new favorite quote. But we've tried tossing the cheese and, well, we've gotten rotten tomatoes thrown back at us. So, we’re like, “Okay, let's go back to move the cheese.”

Alex Cullimore: Keep in mind all the time when it comes to change. Because if you're trying to help other people change, or you're just trying to create a change that requires more than you like, yeah, you'll get some resistance. And the other thing to remember is that that's not permanent. And that you still have the kind of responsibility to think about it and change up your approach on that. Like, no, nobody likes getting thrown rotten tomatoes at. So, that does help you change an approach. But it also can make you impatient. You're like, “Well, then fine. I don't want to move the cheese at all.” So, you sit with your rotten tomatoes. 

It becomes this game of like knowing yourself. Knowing what's important. How to help this? And sometimes just taking it, like, “Well, okay. I understand. Definitely some resists on that. So, let's think about what really helps here,” which is what makes the work so interesting too just after you wipe some rotten tomato off yourself.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, yeah. It does make the work really interesting, especially because the journey is not just for the people going through the change. It’s also for the people helping go through the change. It's a journey that we all take. And you don't know, actually. If anybody were to ask me on a project timeline, tell me exactly when the cheese is going to be fully moved, and everybody's going to be there, we don't know when that really is going to happen. We just kind of go through the motions. And we make sure that nobody gets to the point of panic. Nobody gets the point of so much resistance. That then, again, it's that one out of 1000 didn't change. That's still a loss for the change itself, for the transformation. 

And it's not easy, because there are always going to be people that resist more or less. They’re people that are going to resist later and people that resist earlier. And it goes back to its loss of identity. Any change requires letting go of something that you were successful at, that made you successful. And so, how do you let that go knowing that then you go into not only in an unknown upscales and expectations but also an unknown of success? Because now you're into an identity where “What if I'm not going to be good enough for this? What if I can't learn? What if the measures of success changed so much that I no longer belong?” And if you look at the basics of humanity and how belonging is the number one need, well, that's why change is hard. It's because it's a big threat to belonging. 

 Alex Cullimore: I think you've hit on three incredibly important points there. The first being that change is about belonging. That you want to – If you're changing, you still want to belong. You don't want to suddenly have the tribe move on without you. And now you're out in the cold. So, there's that just, which is a visceral threat. I mean, that can queue up fight and flight. That can queue up all kinds of unhelpful emotional reactions, even if it seems like it shouldn't. It’s that it is such a core part of any social species. And then there's the part about change being something that the ambiguity of change. As you say, we don't know when you're going to be where we want the cheese to be. We don't know when we're going to get there. Like, we can kind of estimate that, hopefully, it'll be around here. This is probably about how long it would take given what we're talking about. And then you go in and you learn there's, “Oh, this part is going to be a lot more work.” Or, “Oh, this part is actually quite easy.” Or, “Oh, this one went fine.” 

And then you make these progress pieces in just absolute fits and bursts. So, you're going to have these moments where it feels like nothing's happening. And that might drag on for a bit and you're like, “Oh, my God. Are we even making progress? Are we doing anything towards change?” And then suddenly, there'll be a big jump forward. You can go from thinking like, “Okay, there's no way we're going to be done at the deadline to – Yeah, we might be done today.” And you have to live with this weird ambiguity. So, there's the difficulty of not knowing what the finish line is if you can get to the finish line. And then the third part is all the way back down to just basic habits. It takes energy to change your behavior. You have to do something, not on autopilot. It’s just like moving to a new place and you have to drive to the grocery store on a different path, or a different grocery store. Figure all those things out. Suddenly, there's so much mental effort that goes into something that took zero effort for you because you've gotten so used to whatever you've done before. And that the brain resists just by default because it doesn't really want to use up its calories on figuring out something new.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, that’s an excellent point. The amount of energy that it takes to do something in a different way. It's not just embracing it, not resisting it, adopting it, understanding it, and seeing the benefits. Those are all the kinds of surface stuff. Because what really makes it happen is a habit changing. And habit change means that like, “Oh, now, I have to brush my teeth with my left hand instead of my right hand.” I have to do – Let's say you break your elbow, you break your wrist, you break something on your limb, which probably happens to most people at some point in their childhood or adulthood. And now, everything becomes hard. Now, brushing your teeth becomes hard. Putting your pants on becomes hard. Brushing your hair. Like, all the basics, eating, writing. All the basics that you've never had to put any energy or effort into doing now take that energy or effort. 

So, if we have a finite amount of energy in 24 hours and we're expanding so much by adopting a new habit, then, yeah, we are going to get tired. We are going to get frustrated. The simple things are going to become the hard things. And the hard things are going to become the impossible things.

Alex Cullimore: You can see why maybe resistance might build up on that. 

Cristina Amigoni: Slightly.

Alex Cullimore: Actually, I know a guy who just recently – And this is an interesting part of it. What do we do when we usually approach change? We try and leave the space for the reactions to that. I mean, when the hard becomes the impossible like there's no way you don't have some resistance. And it's not even – It's not to cast blame or that people are not good at change or something. It’s just it's difficult. And especially when it comes to organizations, you already have a large number of responsibilities that will never quite dwindle down. And now, you're being asked to do something different. And that's hard to do while trying to figure out how to balance the other thing. And so, it's entirely understandable to end up on these paths of large resistance when the hard becomes the impossible. And so, you have that empathy. And you also have to push just a little bit forward. And you have to leave just enough space, but not in an unhelpful way. 

And it's funny, you bring up the arm-breaking things. I know somebody who actually recently was cleaning the gutters, fell off a ladder, and then broke both risks. So, two wrists in casts, which he usually works just like an office job. And so, typing is now hard. And he happens to live alone right now. And so, he asked the nurse, he’s like, “Okay, what can I do here?” And all she said was, “Well, this is going to be very difficult for you.”

Cristina Amigoni: That's good validation. So, acknowledge and validate. Great. It doesn’t help him wash the dishes, take a shower, get out of bed, clothes on. Again, the basics.

Alex Cullimore: Just good validation, except this, wasn't a validation question. This was literally what can I do question. This was literally an ask for – The one time you should give advice. And then all you got was validation, which is kind of an important part of our approach. We can understand these things. We can open the space for these things. And at the same time, we also have to kind of help coach a path out of that instead of being like, “Yep, that is hard. Anyway, good luck. Talk to you next week.”

Cristina Amigoni: Which we do sometimes, depending on how much resistance there is. We've learned to gauge the thickness of the resistance wall and figure out, “Okay, are we going to end up into a full-on revolution if we keep pushing on this? And is it absolutely necessary to push on this right now? Could we make progress somewhere else that gets us back here when it's absolutely necessary?” 

And so, we have changed course a few times when we realized, “Whoa, we could live without this for a while,” and kind of let it find its own timing and find its own path and let it go. Like, let's go at it another way. Let's move the cheese slightly differently than we thought because this is definitely a big wall. And then come back to this or let it organically come back to this. And it has. Typically, it does organically come back to it from a client’s point of view, bring it up, and like, “Oh, now, we need to talk about that and figure that out.” That's when we know, “Okay, the wall is still there. It's still hard, but it's a little bit thinner. And there may be an opening.

Alex Cullimore: At that point, there becomes buy-in to do the move themselves. Instead of moving the cheese, it's like moving an entire catering board. Like, “Okay, well, there's a strong resistance right now to moving prime rib over here. Let's just move the vegetable tray for now.” And then we come back and it’s like, “Hey, it'd be great if we had the prime rib over here.” And you're like, “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Let's do this.” And then you don’t have to have as much resistance. So, you've already got the buy-in. And they're going to be ready to move it now, which is really what you want in the end. You want the full change to happen. Figure out the way that you want the full change to happen rather than saying it has to happen this way. Creating an idea in your head that it's going to happen exactly, “This will go first out. That will go second.” Just make sense. And that might be a great plan, a good idea to think about some of those things. Also, be ready to change. Because it's about to go weird on you.

Cristina Amigoni: Definitely. That's a big part of the work as well, is realizing that whatever plan there was for the change, whatever plan there was for them executing of the change, those are all theories. And as theories, once you go down the path and you actually try it out, you have to be open to the fact that like, “Oh, it's not quite working out the way I thought it was going to work out. Let's revamp. Let's talk it through. Let's figure it out. Let's figure out whether it needs to be eliminated, changed, moved to a future state,” whatever it is. But having that flexibility, which brings us back to the action doesn't equal accomplishments piece. It’s like it's not just about having a plan and just executing it. It's not that simple.

 Alex Cullimore: Yeah, you can't just rely on that. And that reminds me of a new quote I just found like two weeks ago that is quickly becoming one of my favorite quotes. And it's Winston Churchill, I believe. I could be wrong on that. And it goes something like, “Plans are worthless. Planning is indispensable. Taking the time to try and think about things is great. Having a plan and thinking that's how it's going to go is going to mess you up every time.”

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, that's a great quote. We should put it next to the action doesn't mean accomplishment.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. And the other one is the classic Yogi Berra one, “In theory, theory is just like practice and practice. It's different.”
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, that too. 

Alex Cullimore: But the theories are great, then there is just merit to them. The situations are always a little more complex than that. The reality when the rubber hits the road is always a little different. So, I think those are all very much true reasons that change is difficult. So, switching to a what can we do about that frame? What do you think helps with this? We've mentioned a couple of them, but just to quantify them.

Cristina Amigoni: Well, I would say one of the things that actually we brought up very energetically a few months ago.

Alex Cullimore: And I'm not sure what we’re going on yet. But this is either good or bad.

Cristina Amigoni: Necessary qualities of change are empathy and patience. Absolutely necessary. You cannot go through any change without a lot of empathy and a lot of patience. Self-empathy, self-patience, patience for others, empathy for others. And just constantly coming back to that. The minute the frustration rises, which will go back to empathy and patience. Empathy and patience. Those are very much needed. 

Letting go. Like, just letting go. Make the plan. I'm a planner. So, make the plan. But also, be ready to let go of the plan. We actually just experienced that, or at least my brain experienced that recently when we were coming back from Dallas a couple of weeks ago, and our flight got delayed by somewhere between four and 15 hours. I don't even remember at this point what the delay was. 

Alex Cullimore: There was a blur. 

Cristina Amigoni: It was a blur of delay. And I remember like not being too concerned the first hour, hour and a half of the delay, and then starting to kind of get into that panic mode and kind of that worry change resistance mode. Because again, there was a plan. And the plan was to land in Denver at 10:30 and be home and in bed by 11:30 midnight and then be able to get up and go to the appointments on Thursday morning. And that plan was getting obliterated very quickly on things that were completely out of our control. 

And so, I kind of went through my way of dealing with change, was like, “I need a plan B. If I have a very clear plan B of the situation here, then whether the plan B happens or not, I can now like go.” With a plan B, I can actually let go of plans A and B and just be present and let it go. And so, the plan B was when we started looking like, “Okay, let's say we don't want to take this flight. This flight never leaves. Whatever happens, it gets canceled. What do we do?” And so, we need a hotel room. And so, I started searching for hotels. I'm like, “Yep, there's a hotel here in the airport. There's room. We can go there. We need another flight. Look at flights tomorrow morning, tonight, whatever it is. We found the flight. So, once we had a plan B, even though we never had to activate it, that was it. Like, that's when the blur of like, “Oh, did we finally the 4,5,6,10 hours later? Who cares? I don't even know. At some point, we left.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah, I don't remember most of the rest of that. The other thing that helped to get through that was us eventually getting so slap-happy at the 19 delays and gate changes that eventually we're like, “Well, all right. I mean, life might as well happen this way.” 

But you bring up a really good point. I love the plan B notion. If you think about like your stairs at home or something, you might be very used to walking up and down them. You don't feel uncomfortable, but it's kind of good there's a guardrail, right? Like every once in a while, you might need it. You might slip. Or B, it's just something you don't have to think about. Your mind's not making any other contingency plans because it knows, “All right, well, there's a guardrail here.” And that's a good analogy for just creating some sense of safety for people in that. It doesn't mean you’re going to use it. It just means they don't have to think like, “Oh my God! Either this works or we're totally lost.” And that's so easy to get into that. And of course, we can think back, if we can get into a nice, calm space and mindful headspace, we can be like, “Okay, well, every other time there's been an upheaval in my life, we figured out what the plan B will be.” Of course, being delayed in Dallas is not some inexplicable failure that we'll never get back from. But that's not really how the brain is going to react first. It is going to be much more like, “Oh, God! How do we do this?” And now you're just doing like new complex mental gymnastics, try and rearrange your next day scheduled to be like, “Oh, my God! If we get in here, now we're going to lose this meeting. We’re going to change this around.” And like all of the extra contingencies pile up very quickly. 

And on top of it, you have the frustration of being like, “And it's all the airline's fault.” You have all this extra, like, resentment. You’re like, “This is happening to me.” You get into like a weird victimhood mindset. Having that extra plan can really help circumvent just ruminating in that spot, in that zone. 

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, it definitely does. That's my solution to change. Have a plan B, and then just patience, and grace, and empathy.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. And that extends to yourself, too, when you think about it. It takes a massive amount of patience. Because, realistically, all change is just some kind of behavioral change. It doesn't matter whether it's changing technology, changing the structure of your workplace, changing leadership, or doing an acquisition in here. It's all changed behaviors, right? For the people who are part of the company, being acquired is a huge change of, basically, truly an identity change, plus just unknowns of how to work with other people. Now, for the people at the company that is doing the acquiring, they've got a whole bunch of new people. How do the processes change? How does their support need to reach out to be able to guide this? And there are so many little elements that have to happen. You have to have a lot of patience and a lot of space to let these connections come to fruition. You can't just put it on a PowerPoint and say, “This is how we're going to do it.” Everybody leaves the meeting, they're all changed. Like, “We all we're all doing it the new way now.” There's way too much for interpretation. There's way too much resistance. 

And no matter who you are and no matter how much planning you've done, which is why planning becomes difficult eventually, there are going to be gaps. And that's fine. You'll have missed something. That's why you have to continue to ask people and make sure – And when they suddenly come up with resistance, there's a good chance you've missed something that maybe they don't want to talk about, or they haven't brought up. And that requires, again, patience and empathy. Coming back to that space. And then coming back to that space for yourself when somebody who seems like they've been totally on board for months and months suddenly throws you a wrench and you're like, “Wait. What?” And you lose your patience, you lose your empathy, you don't want to hear about it. You're like, “Oh, my God. I can't believe this person is throwing this now.” All the other stories are unhelpful in our heads. So, that patients and empathy have to then be extended to us to like, “Hey, it's okay. There's some reason for this. It's all right. We'll keep moving the cheese.”

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, it's so true. I mean, any changes habit forming. And for habit forming, I think some of the statistics are – Depending on how different the habit is, and the mindset is, it takes anywhere between 21 and 450 days of repeatedly doing something differently to actually embrace that habit and change that behavior, which goes back to patience. Change is not going to happen just because you tell people to change. It never happens that way. And so, it never happens for us. 

I've been in the changing world for most of my career. And change is hard for me too. But I know that. And so, I go through the motions, and I go through my curves, and I go through my resistance, and I go through my little fits and places of desperations, and then I reach for my tools. I reach for my plan B. I reach for my patients I reach for the plans. Don't have to be exactly how we thought they were going to be. And you go through it. But you expect to go through it. You don't expect to skip it. You don't become a change expert. And change expert doesn't mean that you skip through all the resistance and the pain. Change expert means that you – 

Alex Cullimore: It means you know how to work with it. 

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, you work with it. You know it’s going to happen, and you go through the motions of what you need to do to go through it.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. It's incredibly true. And I think that's the point that just needs to be driven home. You’re not going to get to a point of no change resistance. Like, change is change. Habit is difficult. And I was talking to our friend, Randall, about this about like changing mental patterns. And there's usually like there's – And this is mental patterns you might want to change. There's first like recognition of like, “Oh my God, I've been living this unhealthy pattern.” Or, like, “I don't really like this. I want to change this.” And so, you have – Then you kind of go into the like, “Oh my God, how long has that been around?” Like, “How long I've been doing things that way?” That's not good. And then you start to try and change your habit. You have like the first initial victories where you're like, “Oh, I did something a little bit different. This is great. I'm starting to move on.” 

And then inevitably, you will have slip-ups. You come back and accidentally fall into the previous pattern. And you're like, “Oh my God! How can I do this? I already knew this is bad. I know that I can't do this anymore,” whatever. And then now you're in like self-judgment and another, the next round of resistance. And slowly over time, you fall back into that habit a little bit less and you go into the new habit more. 

The problem with this is that that's only half of the curve when you want to change. So, now you bring this into an organization where like maybe they don't want to change. Or maybe there are some people that really don't want this or don't think it's a good idea. So now you got the other half of the change curve of like, “Why am I doing this in the first place? I don't even want to go towards that cheese.” So, trying to get to that portion of the curve.

Cristina Amigoni: I don’t like cheese. I'm lactose intolerant.

Alex Cullimore: Why do we always talk about cheese?

Cristina Amigoni: I know. Clearly, some of us haven’t had breakfast yet.

Alex Cullimore: Early morning recording.

Cristina Amigoni: Yes. Yeah. So, we have clearly resolved all reasons why change is hard. And we've now made it easy. So, go change.

Alex Cullimore: Now we're going to go throw the cheese. Good luck.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. Go figure out where the cheese went.

Alex Cullimore: One thing I would say just as a wrap-up is that it is absolutely worth remembering these things and thinking about these things. Because life is constant change. As we all learned aggressively when COVID came around and changed every single aspect of our lives and how we had to do school and work and everything else. Like, life is always going to have some change. And so, knowing that there's always going to be resistance and just – I liked how you put it. You reach for your tools. Know what tools will help you through this. Know that it's going to have resistance. And that that's okay. That's just part of the process. Like it's not, “Oh, this was a bad idea. Let's throw the entire change out. Because people don't seem to like it.” It's let's evaluate what's happening. Let's try and figure out did we throw the cheese too far. Or are we not making the connecting dots for why we think the cheese should be over here in the first place? And all of those things play into it. And even when you do it right, you still hit resistance. And that's not a factor of doing it wrong. It's just a factor of change.

Cristina Amigoni: Definitely is. And sometimes you have to rethink the plan. Because the plan on paper is never the plan in practice. And that's okay. If you get agile enough with change, you also get agile enough that just because the plan used to be that plan, it doesn't mean anything. It was just an idea.

Alex Cullimore: And if you can get comfortable with that level of ambiguity, that opens up all kinds of doors for you. Because that’s life. Life is ambiguous. Life has a lot of choices that are weird it's not cut and dry. And even when you do think you have the right choice doesn't mean life's not going to throw you a curveball. As you said, it's a plan. It's just a plan. It's just on paper. It doesn't mean you can predict everything. Even if you wanted to, you can't predict everything. So, getting more comfortable with that is a very worthwhile endeavor. And it takes a lot of practice.

Cristina Amigoni: Except for us. We're fortune tellers. So, just ask us. We can predict everything.

Alex Cullimore: ESB.

Cristina Amigoni: We can only predict that people are going to resist change.

Alex Cullimore: Yes. And we should do our best to build our muscles around what are the tools that will help with this.

Cristina Amigoni: Exactly, exactly. You can predict that change is not going to go as planned. 

Alex Cullimore: Yes. 

Cristina Amigoni: That’s the end of our fortune telling.

Alex Cullimore: Like magic eight ball that just tells you, “Life will be hard.”

Cristina Amigoni: Yes. Yes. And you take it and will be like, “Think again. That didn't go well.” 

Alex Cullimore: Nope. 

Cristina Amigoni: And sometimes, you get surprises. Sometimes you walk into a meeting where you think there's going to be a lot of resistance and you get to the end of the meeting and you're like, “Wow, that was an excellent meeting. Look at how much got done in that meeting.”

Alex Cullimore: And so, you look around and they're moving the cheese. You're like, “Oh, okay, let me catch up here.”

Cristina Amigoni: Exactly. So yes, happy change. Just be patient. 

Alex Cullimore: Happy change. Happy cheese. 

Cristina Amigoni: Happy change. Happy cheese. Yeah, happy cheese, happy change. Just be patient. Have empathy. Really try to understand what somebody else may be going through. Ask them. If you don't know, ask them. That's my answer to all questions, is, if you don't know, ask.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah, they know. Even if they can't articulate it. Even if they don't want to.

Cristina Amigoni: And thank you for listening. Let us know how your changes are going. 

Cristina Amigoni: Thanks, everybody. 

Cristina Amigoni: Thank you for listening to Uncover the Human, a Siamo podcast. 

Alex Cullimore: Special thanks to our podcast operations wizard, Jake Lara; and our score creator, Rachel Sherwood. 

Cristina Amigoni: If you have enjoyed this episode, please share, review and subscribe. You can find our episodes wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Alex Cullimore: We would love to hear from you with feedback, topic ideas, or questions. You can reach us at podcast wearesiamo.com, or at our website, wearesiamo.com, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook. We Are Siamo is spelled W-E A-R-E S-I-A-M-O.

Cristina Amigoni: Until next time, listen to yourself, listen to others and always uncover the human.