Change is a scary word that most people shy away from. They want their lives to be different – better in some way – yet they don’t want to change.
It seems easier to improve their circumstances by expecting others to change. The internal battle becomes something like this: “Things would be so much better if someone else, or the situation itself, would change. Why should I change? If I change, then I have to step out of my comfort-zone, and why should I be the one to have to change?”
In the best-selling inspirational classic, As A Man Thinketh, James Allen put it best when he said,
“[People] are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.”
In order to improve our lives, whether in big ways or small, change is inevitable. Some changes are self-imposed, those which we choose to endure. These types of changes include upgrading your mobile phone, starting a family, studying for a new career, learning a new skill, etc. Other changes may be changes that we don’t choose – they just happen to us – yet may affect us deeply. These changes may look like an economic downturn, an increase in federal taxes, or losing that promotion we were really hoping for.
Regardless of whether the change is self-imposed or imposed by others, you are always in control of your destiny. Read that last sentence again and really let it sink in! Even if a change is externally imposed and has a negative impact on you, you are in control of what decision you make right after that change. You can decide what attitude you will have about the change or what you will do as a result of that change – you are in control!
The strange thing is, that even with a self-imposed change – especially the bigger ones – there exists some element of that change that is external to you.
Let’s say you choose to start a new career, and therefore need to upgrade your education. There are elements of your decision that will be externally imposed. For example, if you wanted to become a certified coach and obtain a coaching designation, you would be required to complete a certain amount of training hours. Once your training is completed, there are several other steps that need be completed to obtain your coaching designation.
So, deciding to become a coach is within your control. Deciding whether or not you want to jump through all the hoops to obtain a designation is within your control. Once you decide to do so, you accept the circumstances you must move through in order to achieve your goal. You accept full responsibility for doing what it takes to realize your dream.
Allen’s message “anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves” really requires you to look at your current circumstances and ask yourself one simple question:
“Am I willing to do what is necessary to improve my situation?”
- Am I willing to attend professional events to expand my network in order to leave a job that no longer fulfills me?
- Am I willing to learn how to ‘lead up’ in order to improve my relationship with my micro-managing boss?
- Am I willing to learn to improve how I communicate with my team so that I can get better results in my department?
- Am I willing to forgo my daily mocha-chino latte in order to save for retirement?
- Am I willing to invest both my time and money in order to accomplish ____________?
The reality is that if you want a different result than the one you are getting now, you need to face some brutal facts about yourself. Regardless of who or what created your situation, you need to endure that difficult, uncomfortable process of change. When you do, you will get less of what you don’t want and more of what you do.
Don’t let yourself become that cartoon of a skeleton sitting in a chair where the caption reads: ‘Waiting for things to change’. Decide today what you are willing to do to ‘change your stars’.
Lisa Holden Rovers is the Founder of Workplace Matters, where she helps individuals and organizations to grow their leadership influence and build stronger, more cohesive teams. Curious how Lisa can support you or your organization? Contact her for a complimentary discovery session to discuss your unique situation and challenges.