Improvement Requires Change

I am frequently surprised by people who want something “better” in their life. I guess that’s not really the part that surprises me, after all, who wouldn’t want “better”. The part that surprises me is that they want something better but they are not willing to accept any amount of change in their life to get it.

 

Any improvement, even a little one, requires that something must change. 

 

Just because you may not enjoy change (you’re most certainly not alone there) does not mean there will be no changes in your life. Change happens whether we want it to or not. 

 

Once you accept the fact that change is one of life’s certainties then you have the choice of whether those changes will drive you or you will drive them. That means the real question is will the changes in your life happen to you or because of you.

 

If you want to drive the change in your life then you must decide what changes you want. You must be very specific about what you want, “better” isn’t nearly specific enough to make it happen. Knowing exactly what you want to be better is a key to having it. You’ll also find that being able to effectively communicate, to yourself and others, exactly why you want the improvement is a big help too.

 

When you know what you want then set your goals and make a plan on exactly how you’ll make the change come about. This is the part many people miss, they want to see a change but they have no plan to make it happen. You need a plan! 

 

Now here’s the thing about your plan… it’s very unlikely to work, at least exactly as you had drawn it up. Expect disruptions in your plan, your path to successful change with be littered with obstacles and nay-saying people. Push on!

 

While you may find your plan wasn’t perfect it’s likely your planning process was sufficient enough to allow you to get right back on course when someone or something pushes you off. 

 

Be patient but be sure you’re not just procrastinating. The very best time to begin your journey to successful change is the moment you’ve identified the change you desire. “Later,” “tomorrow,” and “someday” are just words that slow you down, or stop you all together. The word you need is “now” as in right now, immediately, today. 

 

Be sure to surround yourself with supportive people. Change isn’t easy but like everything else, it’s easier when we get some morale support along the way. Never allow anyone to tell you that you can’t succeed and for heavens sake, never say that self-defeating horrible thing to yourself. 

 

You are going to experience change in your life; for some people that’s pretty bad news, for others it’s pretty good news. I guess it just depends on if your sitting behind the steering wheel of the change bus or if you’re just along for the ride.


So…where are you sitting today?

If it Ain’t Broke, Break It?

You know, try as I might I’m just not a big fan of change. Unless of course I’m driving the change. But I’m also fully aware that perhaps the most dangerous words in business are, “because we’ve always done it that way.”

 

So the first part of this post is written for me and those of you who share similar sentiments about change. We need to get the heck over it and realize that the pace of change is only going to continue to accelerate. We can either get on board that bus or that bus is going to run us over. 

 

Imagine the world if everyone lived with that “we’ve always done it that way” philosophy. No cars, no airplanes, no TV, no internet, and oh my gosh, no cell phones. (I guess no phones for that matter)

 

Obviously we only need to think for a few seconds to realize that change can be very good. The challenge for many people is stopping to think for those few seconds. The reality is that almost everything we use in our daily lives will one day be replaced by something even better.

 

If you can’t embrace change you can’t grow and if you can’t grow you can’t get better. The first thing you may want to consider changing is your instinct to resist change. Replace it with an open mind and at least a “we’ll see” attitude, you never know, you may just be pleasantly surprised.

 

Now for the second part of this post. It is written for those of you just itching to change stuff because you can. You should take a quick lesson from Winston Churchill who said, “there is nothing wrong with change, if it’s in the right direction.”

 

Change for the sake of change is seldom good change. Before you change what’s worked for a long time you may want to consider exactly why it’s worked for a long time. While I’d agree, there very possibly is a better way, make certain you’re not also discarding the part of a process that works and replacing it with an untested process that may not. 

 

“We’ve always done it that way” is a proven method of failure. “Let’s blow up what works and start over” often is as well.


Moving forward with little or no knowledge of your starting point is a quick path to nowhere. Go ahead and change, just be certain that your “better” direction indeed has a solid, realistic chance to be better.


Everything Changes

Here’s a question for you to think about. Are you managing change in your life or is change managing your life? 

It’s one or the other because this much is certain: “things” in your life are changing. 

I’m a bit astonished at the number of people I run into who are still almost completely resistant to change. They expend tremendous amounts of energy fighting it rather then trying to figure out how to use it to their advantage. 

I understand why people may be a little reluctant to fully embrace change. Every change brings with it the possibility of something worse. To some people the risk of “worse” is just not worth the possibility of something better. 

People also fear failure. Changing your job, or changing your career or changing almost anything has the possibility of ending in complete failure and nobody wants that. 

Few people really embrace the unknown and every change brings with it a set of “unknowns.” No matter how well you’ve thought out the change there is likely to be something that you didn’t plan on. That’s more risk. 

Change also tells us that time is passing. We’re getting older. For the life of me I can’t find a single corner store with the penny candy that I so enjoyed as a kid. Now that I can buy as much penny candy as I want, without even asking my parents permission, there is no penny candy to be found. I can’t believe anyone would call that progress.

So, many people agree that for the most part, change is bad. 

But that’s because most people just habitually focus on the negative aspects of change. (Yes, I said most people and the fact that it’s sad doesn’t mean it isn’t true) We’ve all had poor experiences with change and it seems the bad outcomes are far easier to remember than the more common good outcomes. 

Stop and think for a minute about the last ten years of your life. So many things have changed that it’s hard to remember them all. Just 10 years ago the iPhone existed only in the developmental labs of Apple. Today it’s hard for many people to think of life without a Smartphone in their pocket.

It’s seems like half the people I know are now wearing some sort of fitness tracker. Just 5 years ago people would have said “a fitness what?” 

Some of us are old enough to remember getting the long distance bill. For those of you not old enough to remember that, it’s the extra bill from the telephone company for calling someone with a different area code. For those of you who are really young the area code is the first three digits of your phone number.

My how things have changed…. so many improvements we have forgotten most of them…and more things continue to change everyday. 

Today the gig economy is growing almost by the minute. A recent study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors. That’s an incredible pace of change that will affect the workplace for all Americans, not just those participating in the gig economy but anyone who works for a living.

The point is simple: everything changes with time. Everything! 

Accept change as a positive in your life, it means you’re still learning and growing. It means you’re willing to try new things and stretch yourself to reach your true potential. Accepting changes proves to yourself and others that you are willing to flex a bit as you receive new information and ideas. 

Pretty much everyone wants “things” to be better but many of those same people don’t want change in their lives.

There is no “better” without change. If you really really want better then don’t wait for change to happen, make change happen in a way that “better” is ensured.

The only way to beat change is to not fight it. Make it work for you and you’ll find it cooperates a whole lot more.

I’m Coming for You

(This is first ever guest post on the LeadToday blog. The writer is incredibly well-known and has been around literally forever. This writer has touched the lives of every single human being who has ever lived. They have truly seen it all. Everything this writer does makes a difference, whether or not the difference is a positive one or not is often determined by you. I am really honored they they have agreed to write for my blog; I think it’s about time they were allowed the opportunity to speak their mind.)

You have two choices where I’m concerned; you can invite me in or I’ll simply bust down your door and let myself in but one way or another I’m coming into your life. Many people have tried to stop me but I’ve never been stopped, I cannot be stopped, I will never be stopped.

Before I go any further I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Change. While we may have never been formally introduced I’ve been present your entire life. I’ve been your best friend and your worst enemy but in either case it was you who decided which one would I be.

Every good thing that’s ever happened to you happened because of me. I suppose I’ve had a hand in some bad parts of your life too but you let me do it.

The truth is I’m not good or bad, I just am. It’s what YOU do with me that will determine the positive or negative impact I have on your life.

I always try to do what I’m told. But if I’m not given direction I just do my own thing, once in a while it works out but I must admit that’s not very often. Given the fact that I follow direction so well I’m always surprised when you don’t give me any. If I were you I’d be the boss of me, that much is absolutely certain.

I take great offense when you tell people that you hate me. Why would you possibly hate me? Every improvement you’ve ever made was made with my help. Every new thing you’ve ever tried you tried because of me. You should love me. 

You most certainly shouldn’t blame me when you don’t make a plan for how to use me to your benefit. Yes, I said use me for your benefit. I’m perfectly willing to let that happen, I even want that to happen.

I can’t promise you a better life, I can just promise you the opportunity to have one. It all depends on what you do with me when I’m hanging around. 

I knew a guy a while back, his name was Winston. He said I was always good so long as I was heading in the right direction. I guess I’d agree with that but I wish he would have added that it’s you, not me who determines my direction in your life.

When I say “I’m coming FOR you I mean just that. Let me work FOR you, if you don’t, you just might find me working against you.

 

The Challenge of Change

There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction” Winston Churchill

The above quote from the great Winston Churchill is truth in it’s purest form. The question for leaders in every type of organization is this: How do you know if you’re changing in the right direction. That’s a big question but even that is not the challenge of change, the real challenge of change is this: people resist change even if it is in the right direction. 

There are two types of people in the world: those who say they love change and honest people.

I exaggerate a bit with that comment but only a bit. Most people are challenged by change for one simple reason: all change comes with some sort of loss. Every time something changes in your life you lose something, even if you initiate the change. You accept a new job and you “lose” many of the relationships that existed with the old one. You buy a new house and you miss some of your old neighbors. You may not even be aware of the “loss” but it affects you anyway.

I’m actually okay with change so long as it doesn’t effect me personally. I know of many things and many more people who need to change. Thankfully, I’m not one of them. I know there are people who think I do need to change but it’s actually their thinking that needs to change, not me. 😏

I suspect most people are like me, I have no real interest in changing or dealing with change and if the world would just sit still for a minute I’d be just fine with that.

But the world won’t sit still.

That’s why it’s so important that like change or not, we learn how to manage it and even use it to our benefit. 

One key to successfully managing change is to acknowledge the loss. We need to realize that it’s okay to feel a little distress with the loss, it’s normal and it doesn’t make you any less effective as a person or a leader.

Once you acknowledge the loss you can replace it. There is something in the “change” which will replace the loss, something new, something that might take getting used to, but the void of the loss will be filled.

Once the loss is acknowledged and replaced it becomes much easier to move forward. Change experts (which I am certainly not) would even say to celebrate the passing of old into new as a way of getting closure out the loss and embracing the new.

Here’s a fact that all successful people know: you don’t have to like change to make it work for you. You do need to understand it, you do need to accept it, you do need to realize that it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not.

The real question is whether it will happen to you or for you. That’s a choice and it’s a choice only you can make.

The Rules for Starting Over

If this post didn’t contain a single word other than the title that would still pretty well sum up the rules for starting over. 

There are no rules for starting over.

No requirements. No limitations. No reason you can’t. There is no right way or wrong way. There is just your way. You can start over whenever and however you want.

You may think you’re “too old” to begin again but consider these people who had the same thing said about them: 

Andrea Bocelli didn’t start singing opera seriously until the age of 34. Some “experts” told him it was too late to begin.

Phyllis Diller became a comedian at the age of 37. She was told by many club owners that she was “too old” to become a success.

Julia Child didn’t even learn to cook until she was almost 40 and didn’t launch her popular show until she was 50.

Harlan Sanders, the Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, was 66 when he began to promote his style of cooking and create an empire.

Each of these individuals had three things in common: they wanted more out of life than they were getting. They believed in themselves when others might have had doubts. They made a decision to begin again. 

Anyone who can make a decision can start anew! 

All that it takes is a decision that says my life is not heading in the direction that I thought it would so I’ll change directions now. It takes a decision and a commitment to do something different than you are doing now. 

This much is certain; if you want tomorrow to produce a different result than the one you have now then you’re going to have to do something different. You need to know and acknowledge that “different” requires change and it will likely be a moment by moment fight to accept the change. 

Here are just a few thoughts if you’re thinking you would like to steer yourself in another direction.

To start over you may need to admit your role in getting yourself where you are today. Until you accept responsibility for what you have, where you are, and why you made the decisions you did it will be very difficult to do anything differently. 

Consider what and who has held you back and decide immediately to eliminate or lesson their impact and influence on your life. Be honest with yourself, not every “friend” is truly a friend. Future success is not just about what you start doing, it may well be even more about what you stop doing.

Take some time to plan and strategize. Decide what you’re willing to invest and when you’re thinking investment don’t just think about money, think about time too. Change takes time, learning new habits takes time. Don’t underestimate the importance of budgeting time to eliminate old habits and replace them with new ones.

Dreams have no age limits but our minds often do. If you think you’re too old the first thing you need to change is your mind. 

Once you do that anything is possible.