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Real Change is Hard

I think of myself as an open-minded, flexible and change-friendly kind of girl. I have had many shifts and changes to deal with in my life and my business, some of them wanted and some not so much.  I tend to look at the bright side, pull myself up by my bootstraps, dive in head first, etc. etc. etc.  All the “right” stuff.

Right now I am engaged in a process of re-inventing my business, which is truly what I want. I have made this choice eagerly and freely. After being in business for ten years I did some honest reflection, made some decisions and powerfully created a new future for my business. I cannot stress enough how much I want this change. I REALLY WANT THIS CHANGE.

And yet… I keep finding myself taking actions consistent with my old way of doing things, quite unconsciously. There are so many new actions to take and old actions to stop in order to make this change a reality however I mostly keep doing the old actions.

One thing I noticed that has been extremely helpful to realize is that even though I did a lot of thinking about my new future in the creation of it, I did not do sufficient thinking regarding the implementation of it; the day-today, moment-to-moment, on-the-court impact of it.

This past weekend I spent several hours in conversation with my husband looking to discern what the hell is going on with me that I am not in action, blazing a trail to my new future. Through this in depth conversation I realized that I was very attached to the things I “know to do” that are from the past. I mean really attached. Arguing for keeping doing them even though the actions are not producing the desired result.

It was such a breakthrough to see the “in-the-box” thinking I was engaged in and the limits I had placed on my new future without even knowing I did it. The blank slate I was in front of was so intimidating that I began filling it with things I knew to do rather than invent new things to do. Now, I am freed up to engage in inventing actions to bring my new future into existence, and questioning my current actions (including blogging) to make sure they are truly consistent with my new future. It’s kind of hard even though I really want this change.

All of this started me thinking about the many calls I have received over the years from people telling me that their employees resist change and how difficult it is to deal with. It made me wonder if it is really resistance or if it is something else. Something like confusion or a lack of clarity about what new actions to take and maybe they need help thinking through the day-to-day impact of the change. Perhaps like me, they are clinging to old actions to cover up the fear of the unknown and are arguing for the old way in order to feel in control. Whatever it is, I have a new level of compassion for people undergoing change.

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