Change: Break Through the Ice
You have talked about change. You have acknowledged the need for change. You feel sure you are ready for change. You haven’t made the change. You are not alone. This is a frustrating cycle. It can lead to anger. It can lead to despair. It can lead to more talk about change. It’s a crowded space. But, it doesn’t lead to positive change. When you’re stuck in a repetitive cycle that fails to yield results, the energy drain is significant. The feelings that accompany resignation in the status quo are not healthy. So what’s the answer? Do you need to call in an icebreaker to help you get unstuck? In Shine, Edward Hallowell disputes the argument that people don’t change. He dispels a persuasive myth with some facts and warns against common wisdom that suggests people don’t change. Maybe the ice is breaking. Here’s a keen piece of insight from Shine. According to Hallowell, “You get better at what you practice, but you get worse at what you neglect.” You need to practice change. You can get better at change. It may be obvious that “action” is the missing link in your failed efforts to change. However, it’s helpful to consider ways to structure your action and develop some positive momentum. You can increase your propensity for successful change by simply drawing from knowledge that you already possess. You really can get better at change if you will practice. Draw from some lessons learned from other types of practice. Here are three simple rules for showing up and practicing change. You need a practice schedule. Change is hard. Scheduled practice establishes the importance of your commitment to change. It means that your investment in change is more important than your investment in other things. You have limited resources. You do not possess an infinite supply of time, energy and focus. When, where and with whom will you invest in transformative behaviors? You need a plan. In my experience with sports teams, I have seen a wide variety of approaches to practice time. Good practice, no matter what the approach, always has a clear purpose. Your plan can be creative, detailed or highly scripted. But, it must connect with a clear purpose. Take advantage of resources that will help you develop a workable plan that provides clarity of purpose. You need preparation. Do your homework. Just as physical preparation is important for an athlete, change preparation is important for leaders. Understand that change begins on the inside. Athletes invest in nutrition, hydration and stretching before intense investment on the practice field. Preparing for change begins on the inside. For example, before you attempt to move forward, identify some negative beliefs or thinking patterns that have kept you stuck in the past. Recognize that action is the antidote to fear. Taking one step at a time increases courage with every movement forward. Nothing weakens the grip of fear like forward momentum.