"Change Would Do You Good"
Not just the title of a hit song in the 90’s, change can be just the thing we need in our lives. Not ALL change is good, however. What can we do to help make sure change is in our favor?
1. We Must Change
We’re all here to get the most out of our time. What that means for me or you or whomever else is up to our individual passions and pursuits. So those things are entirely our own. Unique.
What is not unique, what we all share in fact is that in order to get where we want to go, we must change some thing (or many things) about where we currently are.
It might be our physical location, where we live, where we work, where we put our attention. It could be a change in the amount of focus we put on any given thing. But the bottomline is, we must change!
“to get something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.”
2. Start Over From The Beginning
Every change that we hope to make in our lives comes with a learning experience. If you really strip it all down, life itself is just a series of experiences that teaches us something in that moment that hopefully we can use when we recognize similar circumstances later on. We would like for all experiences to be more pleasure than pain, but we can’t ensure that.
What we can ensure is that when we succeed the first time out, we test the process again, and again. Maybe it was fluke. Doing something once doesn’t mean we’ve figured out how to repeat it. We must learn in these moments of victory, or we may never taste them again.
We can also ensure that when we fail, we don’t give up. We learn from what went wrong and if it really matters, we come back and take another shot at it. Win or lose, we’re learning. Or at least we should be.
Sometimes we can get far enough down the road that we lose sight of where we came from and lose sight of where we really are on the journey. The journey will always take us to places we’ve never been before. In those moments, it is OK, yes, I’m telling you it is ok to find a familiar place, a comfort zone, where we can recalibrate and go back after it once again.
Think about the mountain climbers scaling Mt. Everest. They don’t just start from the bottom and end up at the top in one attempt. They gradually work up to an elevation level then drop back down. They acclimate. They go farther the next day. They acclimate. They finally make their peak assent from a position they’ve built up to.
Making change happen in your life can sometimes require the same process. It is a process. One step back, two steps forward. One step back, 100 steps forward. Recognize when the steps back are necessary for you.
3. Put In Constant Work
When it comes to bringing about change we can turn to two (very different) means: revolutionary and evolutionary.
Revolutionary change is sudden. It’s noticeable. On a grand, macro level, it is violent. For our personal lives it may be suddenly deciding to leave a job. Relocating to a new city without a plan. Quitting smoking, or some other vice, cold turkey. There are times when we may really feel a shake up of this magnitude is needed. A jolt. That’s not really what I’m talking about this week.
Evolutionary change (in contrast to revolutionary) is procedural, methodical, and deliberate. It often goes unnoticed while the process is underway but when you take a moment to pause and reflect you see just how far you’ve come.
Maybe it’s starting a new fitness routine. We may have our eye on a promotion and we work out the steps to earn the necessary recognition. We want to upgrade our house, so we start saving. Saving money and withdrawing from the bank at the right time: evolution. Walking into the bank and withdrawing as part of a robbery scheme: revolution.
The reason I’m more focused on the evolutionary change is that we have control of this process. We identify where we want to see change and we have the power to start acting, start changing. Self-empowerment. That’s the name of this whole series for a reason: we are powerful whether we know it or not. Sometimes we just need to be reminded. This is your reminder!
Make consistent, gradual, incremental changes. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Before you know it, you’ve devoured the whole thing. Change.
4. Don't Be Scared To U-Turn
Not every road we travel will lead to the desired destination. We know that. If you didn’t know that prior to this, well, you know it now. At the same time, not every obstacle is a reason to turn around. If you remember our article last week, we talked about the importance of a faith system. Here, we must trust in ourselves that we know the difference between a temporary obstacle to push through and something more permanent, more detrimental.
As I’m sure you noticed, this is closely related to #2 in this series. Let me appeal to an analogy we may all (at least the husbands out there) be familiar with. You’re on a trip, driving along the highway. You have your significant other riding shotgun, maybe you’re holding hands and just feeling good. Like Smokey Robinson says so soulfully, “cruisin’ was made for us.” You’re kind of lost in the moment and BAM! you miss the exit.
You have (3) options as I see it: 1) you swerve late and cut across traffic, endangering everyone (this might be revolutionary change); 2) you keep going and say, “let’s just ride till the wheels fall off.” Picture Kramer in Seinfeld when test driving a car until it completely runs out of gas. Just like the two crazy men in that scenario, you may find some excitement at first – going with no plan. However, reality will eventually hit and the air will be let out of that balloon. It’s not a viable solution; 3) you calmly proceed to the next exit, get off the freeway, turn around and head back to where you should have exited.
While choosing #3 isn’t the most exciting of the options, it will get you back on track in the most manageable way. And no one’s life will be threatened. Make the u-turn!
5. Focus On Yourself
Life, the universe, our spirit, these are wondrous things with limitless qualities. The imagination, the hope, the dreams of people are infinite. However, the things we actually have control over and can change are not infinite. Not by a long shot.
Shall we run down the list of the things we do have control over changing? Our choices. Our reactions to other people’s choices. Our beliefs. Our learning. Our attention. And there really isn’t much more we can say with any confidence we control; that we can change.
If we understand that we can’t change other people’s actions, choices, attention, reactions then we should understand taking on that responsibility will only lead to disappointment. So, really, truly, understand, you can’t make anyone do anything you want. You can’t make other people change the things you want changed.
To borrow from my good friend Gandhi, “be the change.” You. Focus on you. Leave the rest to the rest. Handle you.
Thank you for following along all week as we looked at change and transformation. We must change. We must understand what things we can and can’t change. We must recognize the process that creates change. Don’t rush it!
“Life is struggle and struggle is life. Misery is optional.”
"What I believe, will be!
*PODCAST is live!*
Hear from Coach V himself along with CHAMPIONS in business, sports, and life!