I recently re-read Dr. Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese. It is a book about 4 characters – Sniff and Scurry (two mice), and Hem and Haw (two little people). The book explores how these characters confront and deal with the reality of change in their lives. The story is set in a maze. This maze represents where you spend time, looking for what you want. It could be the community in which you live, the organisation in which you work or indeed your family or other personal relationships. Each character spends time in the maze looking for ‘Cheese‘, a metaphor for the various things we want from life: a job, money, love, health, peace, contentment etc.
In Johnson’s story, the mice fair better than the little humans when it comes to change because they take nothing for granted and they keep things simple. The two little people tend to over-complicate the situation by over-analysis and emotionality. As you read through the story, you realise that each of the 4 characters represents a different part of us and you get an insight into the different approaches that one can take when faced with the inevitability and reality of change.
I really enjoyed re-reading this book and once again appreciated its disarming simplicity. Yet this simplicity masks some hard-hitting messages about change in our everyday lives. As a professional coach, I encounter clients who want to change some aspect of their lives in order to increase their sense of fulfilment. Some clients, like Sniff and Scurry, will embrace change and be aware that it is coming. They prepare for its inevitability. Others like Hem and Haw, are resistant to change and are taken by surprise.
As a coach, it is important to recognise the character of each client and their particular perspective on change. Once this is understood, the client can be supported in their journey by helping them to recognise the best way to approach change and its unsettling effects.
A key learning for me is the importance of surrounding ourselves with quality, forward-thinking people who can give us an enlightened and proactive perspective on change.
If you have not yet read this book, I would highly recommend it.. You can buy it HERE. Remember that sometime, somewhere or somehow – Someone WILL move your Cheese!