If you haven't already, I highly recommend purchasing (or at least borrowing) the book Who Moved My Cheese? - Link to the book on Amazon below, but I do recommend taking a look for it in your local library, or a local bookstore.
If you live nearby to me, I'd also happily let you borrow my copy.
So... why this book specifically?
For one: It takes maybe an hour to read, so it doesn't require anywhere near as much time commitment or concentration as many other books.
For another: the concept is so simple but framed so beautifully that it just makes sense, and if you don't take anything from it then maybe you're a Hem. And you'll only get that reference if you read the book, so now you just have to read it.
The book focuses on how four little characters (Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw) react to change: their cheese is gone, and how they handle it. Obviously, Cheese is meant to be interchangeable with whatever is relevant for your life at the time of reading, which is why it's so great: each time you read it, it's likely you're going to take something else away from it.
I first read this book at the very start of 2020 (before, you know, the pandemic), my therapist at the time let me borrow it and it opened my eyes to so much in my personal life that I didn't want to admit. I was being a Hem and (spoiler alert) refusing to acknowledge that something was happening in my life that needed to change, and got stuck in a position I was comfortable with, even if that wasn't what was best for me. I can now look back on this time objectively, and see all the things that I missed at the time.
I had taken a mental health day from work after my therapist handed me this book, took a walk to a lovely little café and read this book over a cup of chamomile tea. I cried, and I cried. Thankfully nobody around knew me, but there was something that changed for me at that moment: I knew that I needed to become more like Haw and (more spoilers) take the first steps to understand what that new Cheese looked like for me, and decided I would be more intentional in assessing how things are going forward so that I can be better prepared for changes in the future.
Just a few days ago, as we were shopping for Christmas gifts I came across this book again and it all came back to me. I knew I had to buy this book and read it again, and make sure others knew about it. I read it again while relaxing on my first day off for the holiday break, and feel inspired again.
This time, however, I was looking at it from a career perspective. My company has been dealing with the aftermath of layoffs and reorgs, and knowing there are more changes coming in the new year has led to some uncertainty. Reading this book has me feeling more motivated, and wanting to embrace the situation for what it is and not fight the change.
The summary that you can take away from this book is: Change is inevitable. Effective people monitor change, anticipate it, adapt to it, learn to embrace and enjoy it. If you do not change you can become extinct. If you do change you won’t just suffer less stress and unhappiness, you’ll enjoy more success and fulfilment in every part of your life and your work.
Some of the questions it has you asking yourself are:
- What would you do if you weren't afraid?
- What would your life look like if these changes led to something better?
- Where will you find the best opportunities, by embracing or fighting change?
Personally, going into the new year I'm going to try and embrace changes, and try to not let my fear of failure hold me back from expanding my comfort zone.
So... What would you do if you weren't afraid?