November 15, 2011
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Most people hate change. I know I do. Change means that they need to think and act differently. It’s hard and uncomfortable. Unfortunately most positive growth experiences require change, which is something we see only in hindsight.
So why not take charge of the process of changing? Why wait until someone or some situation demands it? Is it more comfortable to have to change than to manage the process for yourself in advance?
Learn to change before you have to. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Easy to say, hard to do. I know. But I’ll bet you have already changed in significant ways. You just haven’t given yourself credit for what you did.
Think about your job. Unless you are a complete failure you have had to make some significant changes in your life to be good at your job. You’ve had to actually show up and do work that meets someone else’s standards. More than likely you’ve also had to deal with gossips and time-stealers, bosses who are unreasonable and coworkers who try to sabotage your work and customers who treat you like servants. You’ve had to be a much stronger, more confident and determined person than if you had never held a job at all. You’ve had to rise above yourself to meet other’s expectations. You’ve had to change. But I’ll bet your didn’t congratulate yourself on these accomplishments. Were you uncomfortable? Sure! Did you find personal resources that you didn’t know you possessed? I hope you did.
So you have already proven that you can handle change. You just didn’t know it.
Now get out in front of the process and pick something you need or want to change and get started. Lean into the discomfort and realize you won’t die. Get a partner to help you get through the sticky patches where your motivation and focus may slip, set some goals and keep score. Follow up with your supporters and mentors regularly. And change before someone makes you change.
November 14, 2011
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Good intentions are cheap. We can have any number of them for free. We can brag about what we are going to do, especially to people who are in no place to evaluate our future performance. And we do. Or, at least I do. Brag, that is.
But when it comes to getting better at something, be it a job skill, your ability to negotiate, or your talent for finding a bargain, good intentions are not enough. In fact, they can be a trap. Feeling good about having good intentions is dangerous, because the good feeling disguises our lack of willpower.
I’m not a big believer in willpower. I’ve seen it fail way too often. Sure it has its place, but don’t rely on it.
I do believe in accountability, that is, in sharing your good intentions and goals with someone who will encourage you to remain committed to following through on them.
I believe in keeping score. If you can figure out a way to record your progress in some visible manner that motivates you, go for it.
And I believe in follow-up, that is, in going back to the people with whom you have shared your committment to see how you are doing.
So if you want to progress toward your goal – any goal – get a partner, keep score and follow-up. And save your good intentions.