ACCEPT EVERY CHANGE AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED
I heard it for the first time in the year 2000 when New Haven had its first expansion from 14 to 30 clients. I heard it again in 2006 when we formed InnerChange and partnered with Sunrise in southern Utah. When we partnered with Fulshear in Texas in 2007 I heard it again. And yet again at the end of 2012 when we partnered with Chrysalis in Montana, the same fear was voiced:
“Everything’s going to change! We are going to get too big. We are going to become ‘corporate’. What will happen to our feeling of being a part of a family?”
In my office I have a picture with a simple wooden frame. In the center is a one-dollar bill which has been torn into 19 pieces and taped back together. It is surrounded by 18 signatures scattered in black ink across the matting. The signatures belong to some of my friends – 18 of my New Haven colleagues from May 2000. In calligraphy above the damaged dollar and the signatures are these words:
Accept Every Challenge as an Opportunity to Succeed
Those who gave this to me were the key residential staff and nurses of New Haven’s Sacagawea House when the Sacagawea House was the “only house” on New Haven’s Spanish Fork, Utah campus. They were worried that our first expansion would ruin the family-like feeling of our little company. They were worried that the quality of care for our clients would decrease or be compromised. So, I had asked our recreation therapist to organize a team-building task. He had handed each of us a torn piece of the same dollar, blindfolded us, and then asked us to find each other on an enormous challenge course.
We completed the task by finding each other and then reassembling the dollar. Aferwards, we discussed our commitment to let nothing stand in the way of us being unified and honoring our roots –especially not dollars! My friends taped the dollar together and then they framed it, signed it and gave it to me to hang in my office as a reminder of what was most important.
I love the symbol of a torn dollar, taped together and surrounded by the names of people I care about!
Many people are fearful of change. But I’ve come to view major changes as opportunities to succeed. Viewing change as a “challenge” seems to imply something negative, so years later I took that framed, torn dollar down from my wall and scratched out three letters in the middle of the word “challenge”: Cha
Now it reads like this:
Accept Every Change as an Opportunity to Succeed
This year in February InnerChange’s first program, New Haven, marked its 17th year treating families. New Haven has been through many changes since it opened its doors to young women in 1996. Not every change has been a challenge, but every change has been an opportunity for more people to succeed.
I think the history of New Haven from May 2000 to July 2013 has proven that we did not lose our ability to help our students. We did not lose our family feel. We did not become “corporate”. In fact, we’ve only gotten better.
I am encouraged that each expansion and each partnership has allowed us to increase the scope and depth of services for our clients! Each change has allowed us to invite talented people to join our team. Growth has inspired more employees to advance into leadership positions, develop new talents, and affect the lives of our clients and their families for good.
And now, August 2013, almost seven years after New Haven’s third expansion, seven years after our partnership with Sunrise, we are contemplating additional partnerships – more opportunities for change and success. Those new opportunities will mean the advancement of the careers of our employees, it will mean more services available for our clients, and the furthering of everyone’s ability to do good in the world. It will mean that we can help more young people make peace with their pasts, thrive in the present, and create hopeful futures with their families.
At times it feels that change is forced upon us, and other times we are in control of the change. Either way, we retain the ability to choose whether to see change as an insurmountable challenge or as an opportunity for increased success.
What changes will the last half of 2013 bring for you?