I am noticing a pattern or theme that keeps coming up for many of my clients lately. They express their strong desire for change (whether it be to grow their business or improve or change something in their life or career), but that they don’t “have the time” to devote to the change process. They are basically treating change like a one night stand! They will get excited about it, maybe take it out for a drink and even take it home for the night, but then in the morning, poof! They lose interest, turn their attention elsewhere, and lose change’s number. That is not the start of a lasting commitment. And change definitely takes commitment.
Indeed, transformation takes attention. And yes, that means of your time. If you want to change, transition, transform, or grow in any area of your life or work, you must make that a priority and block off time for the change to happen. I know it isn’t easy and takes discipline, but it will always be worth it in the long run. Here are a few tips on how to treat change with some respect and make the magic last a lot longer than one night.
Clear the Decks
When we start a change process, it is important to examine how much time, attention, energy and effort it will take. Some changes are a lot more complex and demanding than others. Is this a good time to start this change process? Have you cleared your calendar to make room for it? Be realistic about how much “deck clearing” you need to do to make this change truly happen. Set yourself up for success by planning for the time and attention to devote to the change process.
Surround Yourself with “Believing Eyes”
The author, Martha Beck, uses the term “believing eyes” in her fabulous book, Finding Your Own North Star (one of the best career transition books out there in my opinion!) as a way to describe the positive and supportive people you should surround yourself with when undergoing a change or transition. This is so important and is part of your pre-change work. Choose your tribe or team carefully! Don’t surround yourself with Debbie Downers and Negative Nellies (or Neds!) who will sabotage your efforts, try to derail you from your path, or express resentment, anger or jealousy. Kick that type of toxicity to the curb! And if it is someone that you have no choice but to cross paths with (say someone you live or work with for example), then set ground rules up front, such as that your change process is off limits for discussion. Period. If they can’t play nice, then don’t invite them to play at all!
Honor Appointments With Yourself
We give a lot of weight to appointments that we set with other people, or events, meetings and occasions that we attend. We block them out on our calendar and then we make a commitment to show up unless there is a true emergency. And yet, most of us do not honor appointments with ourself in the same manner. In order to be fully invested in the change process, you must block out the time on your calendar and then honor that appointment as if you made it with the most important person in your life. Why? Because you are an important person in your life! And you are worth it. Don’t skimp on time for your own personal and professional growth and development.
Anticipate and Plan for Setbacks
Ah… the best laid plans. We make them and then life happens. Try your best to anticipate what type of obstacles may arise as you embark on this change process and plan for them in advance. Have an upcoming deadline at work that may get in the way? Prepare for that deadline as much as possible in advance, get help mee ting it, or better yet, delegate some of the tasks. An upcoming vacation may take you off course? See if you can continue your change process while on vacation, even in small ways so that you don’t get totally off track. Whatever road blocks may show up on the obstacle course, try to outsmart them.
Did I mention that change takes time? Be patient with yourself and the process. Don’t expect change to happen overnight. Spend some time with it. Take it out on a few dates, bring it home to meet the family, wine and dine it. Be willing to put in the time, effort and energy to make the change a lasting one.
If you have stayed the course and given the change process the time, attention and commitment that it deserves, then you will be able to reach the finish line. When you get there, be sure to look back and reflect on your journey.
Try to learn from the success of this change process so you can use it to avoid “change one night stand” syndrome in the future. Give yourself a round of applause and celebrate in an appropriate manner to mark the significance of achieving your change. Congratulations!