Navigating the Maze of Change with “Who Moved My Cheese?”

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Have you ever felt stuck in a rut, only to realize that the cheese you were chasing after had moved? If you just nodded in agreement, or if the idea of “moving cheese” has got you intrigued, Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? is a delightful yet profound guide to navigating life’s maze of changes. And trust me, the lessons it imparts are more relevant today than ever before.

The Tale of Four Characters

Johnson’s story revolves around four characters. By diving into their narratives, we can glean insights that are immediately applicable to our own journeys.


Ah, Sniff. Always sensing when change is coming. Sniff embodies proactiveness. He understands the importance of anticipating shifts and being ready to act.

Lesson: Embrace Change Before It’s Forced

Like Sniff, if you’re in tune with your surroundings, you’ll sense the subtle signs of change. This gives you an edge, letting you pivot even before a massive shift is apparent.


When the cheese moves, Scurry doesn’t sit around pondering. He takes action. Immediately. Scurry represents decisiveness and the will to act without overanalyzing.

Lesson: Sometimes, Just Start Moving

There’s something to be said about making quick decisions and learning on the go. You don’t always need a comprehensive plan; sometimes, you just need the drive to act.


Hem is resistant to change. He’s set in his ways, and the thought of adapting is uncomfortable. He’d rather the cheese not move at all.

Lesson: Denial Won’t Bring Back Old Opportunities

Hem reminds us that resisting change only leads to stagnation. Clinging to the old ways, waiting for situations to revert, can result in missed opportunities.


Haw experiences fear and apprehension just like Hem, but eventually, he realizes the need to move with the times. Haw represents resilience and the courage to embrace change after initial reluctance.

Lesson: It’s Never Too Late to Adapt

Feel like you’ve been a ‘Hem’ for too long? It’s never too late to have your ‘Haw’ moment. Realizing the need to adapt and then acting on it is a victory in itself.

Key Takeaways for Life and Business

Johnson’s simple tale packs in complex life lessons. Let’s uncover the layers.

Change is Inevitable

Whether in business or personal life, change is the only constant. The quicker you accept this fact, the easier it becomes to navigate life’s twists and turns.

Anticipate and Monitor Change

Always be on the lookout for signs. Regularly audit your personal and professional environments. Stay informed. Being proactive can help cushion the impact of unforeseen changes.

Adapt Quickly

The ability to pivot can be your biggest asset. Agility and a mindset focused on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems can make all the difference.

Enjoy Change

Here’s a thought – instead of just coping with change, why not enjoy it? It’s a perspective shift that can transform challenges into adventures.

Keep Moving

This is the heart of the book. No matter the situation, keep moving. Whether you’ve hit a rough patch or are on a high, never become complacent. Always look ahead, always plan your next move.

Applying the Lessons to Real-life Scenarios

Change can come in various forms – a career shift, a personal loss, a global pandemic. How do you apply Johnson’s lessons to these real-life situations?

When Facing Career Changes

Been handed a pink slip? Or perhaps you’re considering a career pivot? Take a leaf out of Sniff and Scurry’s book. Anticipate the changes in your industry. Reskill, upskill, and be ready to embark on a new journey.

When Dealing with Personal Changes

A breakup, a relocation, or any significant personal change can be overwhelming. Channel your inner Haw. Understand that initial fear is okay, but eventually, you’ll need to take steps to adapt and find new opportunities.

When Navigating Business Environments

Especially for those in leadership roles or running businesses, the lessons from the book can be gold. In a rapidly evolving business environment, staying static can be fatal. Embrace changes in technology, market demands, and global scenarios. Innovate, iterate, and stay ahead.

Moving Beyond the Maze with Deliberate Directions

Navigating change alone can be daunting. But remember, you don’t have to do it solo. With Deliberate Directions’s executive business coaching, you get a guiding hand, ensuring you find your cheese, no matter where it moves. Whether you’re a Sniff, a Scurry, a Hem, or a Haw, there’s always a path forward, and Deliberate Directions can help you find it.

In an time marked by rapid changes, the ability to adapt and thrive is a survival trait. So the next time you find yourself in a maze, remember, it’s not about the cheese; it’s about the journey, the lessons, and the growth that comes with it.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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