Several years ago, I was told my job would be ending at the end of May.
Have you ever been subjected to a change that wasn’t your idea? This was the case for me. So I scanned the job sites, revamped my resume, and hoped for a miracle that would beat the clock.
Two months later, I found a job as an insurance salesman.
This would definitely be a change for me. I had worked in retail and the food industry for much of my adult life. Now I’d have to spend the bulk of my time persuading others to provide for their families should they die unexpectedly.
Change Makes a Difference, But is it Always Good?
Working in life insurance put food on the table for a few months. But inside, I felt like I was a heart attack waiting to happen.
Sometimes change isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
So what is it that leads us to make changes that lead us further into the wilderness than we already are?
When the pain is so intense you just feel like dying so it will be over, you crave change as much as your next breath of air. The problem is when you’re that desperate, you believe that any change is good change. Let’s face it, it’s hard to think clearly when there’s an elephant sitting on your chest.
So we make changes to run away from pain. But in order to make changes that are good for you, you need to remember 4 things.
1. Don’t Get Comfortable Where You Are.
It’s easy when you have success to sit back and think you can ride on it forever. After all, if something works, why mess with it? There’s no need to rock that boat when the water is so calm.
There’s something to be said for momentum. Think of it this way. When you’re in your car and you reach a certain speed, you can ride for a bit without pressing the gas, right? But after a short time, if you keep coasting, eventually you’ll come to a stop.
So keep pressing the gas if you want to move forward.
2. Give Up Your Excuses.
Excuses are the reasons we create not to do something.
“I’d take a shower, but it’s after 9pm and I’m about to go to bed.”
“I’d go back to school, but I’ll be 40 in 3 years.”
“I’d switch TV providers, but it’s just too much trouble.”
Let’s look at it another way, so you can see how silly some excuses are. It’s 7 am, so you have to go to work. Unfortunately, your son’s tricycle is in the middle of the driveway. Since he’s already left for school, you call your boss and tell her you can’t come in today.
You probably wouldn’t do that, would you?
Take the time to see if your own excuses are any more solid than that.
3. Instead of Saying “No”, Ask Yourself “How?”
When you think something is impossible, you see a wall without a door.
Seeing a door is like going out to the driveway, moving your son’s trike, and driving in to work.
Obstacles aren’t always as solid as they appear. That wall probably isn’t as long as the Great Wall of China. It might take a little detective work, but you can probably go around, climb over, or blast through.
4. Welcome Ideas You Don’t Agree With, But Don’t Bless Rebels.
If you’re in a room with just one other person, you can find something to disagree about. In fact, you probably don’t even agree with what you thought was ultra important just 10 years ago.
So welcome people with different opinions.
Just don’t lay out the red carpet for rebels. People who are contrary because they don’t like authority are nothing but trouble.
If you want a shot at worthwhile change, listen to every idea. If it’s good for the team, it’s a winner. If not, toss it in the trash and let it rot.
Be a Change Agent
Now you’ve got a 4-point strategy for pursuing change that matters. Follow these consistently and you’ll always be sharpening your edge.