“All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and so gorgeous at the end.” - Robin Sharma
The problem is most people don’t wait until the end. People don’t make it to the gorgeous part, most often, because they give up and not because they don’t have what it takes.
If there is something you want to change in your life, if you want to be healthier, wealthier, or wiser, then this information is valuable to you.
Following through with change requires several key components. The first one is courage, you need it to be vulnerable enough to accept that you need to change and to take the necessary actions to do so. To help at this stage, one of the best resources for you would be “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. Also, you can read a bit more on our thoughts about that book by clicking here.
Once you’ve made the decision to change, you need to make it your PRIORITY. If you’ve decided it is important, then nothing should derail you from achieving it. At this point, you are your worst enemy. Be sure you are not standing in your own way by designing a process that allows you to take the actions you MUST take to make change happen.
Then comes the gorgeous part, the results. Believe it or not this is a very important part as well. Most people who get to this part don’t appreciate it, they take it for granted. This is exactly what happens with most high-achievers. They are always looking for the next mountain to climb instead of taking the time to stop and appreciate the view. Event if it is for a couple of minutes.
Let’s explore how we can go through the hard and messy part of change, so that we can learn how to appreciate the small wins.
You can have Results or Excuses not Both
Using the classic business school phrase, you need to know when to pivot. The idea is you must change course of action at some points in your life, your career, or your business. Everything is constantly in motion and the people who make the best decisions are usually the ones who succeed.
I have been around talented and intelligent colleagues while I taught at the University of Houston, at an international non-profit, and now as a consultant. What I have noticed is decision-making really is the trait needed for large success. You can always find someone who is smart, knows how to code, has a good idea, or a pedigree from a world-renown university. But they might get stuck when it comes to change.
I have also seen people with no college education or knowledge of “best-practices” make the right decisions at the right time which led to a massive payoff. Please don’t pass over this section. You might be like me. I always thought everything would be fine if I went to school, worked hard, and did good work. Education, a strong work ethic, and excellent deliverables are important, but you know what, making bold decisions which results in change is more important.
Being able to see trends and change at the perfect time is what raises you to greatness. Let the idea of change marinate for a moment. Think of those you look up to, how many of them make decisions and stick by them? How many of them go against tradition, i.e. they change the way we view the world? All the big players are masters of change, Jobs, Gates, Buffet, Zuck, Musk, and more. They are extreme cases, but even at the smaller level, those who are successful make clear decisions of change and move forward until they reach their goal. Plain and simple.
The challenge is building the habit of change and sticking to your decisions. It is a tricky dichotomy. On one hand, you will need to pivot at points. On the other hand, you need to stick it out with your decision to reach your goals. Knowing when to change and when to accept your decision is the key to reaching your goals.
Here are a few actionable steps to become a good decision maker:
- If you are stuck, make a change! Seriously, if every day is uninspiring, then you likely need to make a change before you waste 5-years of your life.
- Look around during your day, are you doing what you are expected to do or are you a trendsetter? If you are in your expected role, then you likely need to change. My wife is a woman in IT at Microsoft, she is a trendsetter. My co-founders at BizLatte are Indian women entrepreneurs, they are trendsetters. My good friend is going to graduate with an MBA at the top of his class and choosing a life of entrepreneurship instead of taking a big payday, he is a trendsetter. My point is the people who see the best results usually don’t look like everyone else.
- Finally, when you have made a clear choice, stick to it for at least a year to see results. Don’t change every three months, make a decision and stay the course for 12-months before you reevaluate.
Now go make glorious decisions.
You will only know your limits if you dare to go to the edge.
Yes, it will be uncomfortable. You might even question yourself and wonder if it is worth it. Why am I doing this?
Everyone will face these challenges. Only the ones that push through them will enjoy the gorgeous part.
This is why we all need to learn to rest when we are tired, instead of quitting. Sometimes you will fill you are burnt out and this is a good sign! It means you are expanding your limits.
Let’s explore a tool that will help you when you feel overwhelmed with all the challenges you are facing.
This great tool is explained at length in Tim Ferriss’ book, Tools of Titans, and it is called “Fear-Setting”.
Basically, it means exploring the worst case scenarios that you could face it you fail at the current challenge you are facing.
For example, networking can be a challenging experience, especially if you are an international student and English is your second language. Yet, what is the worst thing that could happen if you go to an event and start talking to strangers? That you cause a bad impression and you seem awkward?
So what, there are many companies and many professional organizations here in Houston. If anything, as you get better with practice if you encounter those same people again they will see the change in you and that you’ve grown.
Remember that the master has failed many more times than the beginner has ever tried. Also, masters don’t give up!
Embrace change and face those challenges. Inevitably you will be overwhelmed sometimes, and that is a great sign! Once that happens, take a moment to slow down and step back. Look at the big picture and explore the worst case scenarios.
If you still feel that it will be impossible to recover from that worst case scenario then I would recommend you to read Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl. The book is about his experiences in a concentration camp during World War II. There are many great lessons in that book that will help you create a perception of appreciation and gratefulness.
Now go and work on your “Fear Setting” so you can stop worrying and start doing!
Learn From Other's Experiences
You might be thinking, I am ready to at least entertain the idea of change, now what? We can help point you in the direction of making a change, yet in reality, you need a little more guidance from a seasoned professional.
We recommend informational interviews. The idea of an informational interview is to set up an informal meeting or phone call with an accomplished professional in a field where you have interest. During the informational interview, you are simply asking for insights, advice, and resources for you to make educated decisions.
You will be shocked at how many high-level people will give you 15-minutes and decades worth of experiential knowledge. Alejandro and I have met with CEOs, Presidents of companies, retired consultants, and more through this technique.
Would you like to know more about informational interviews and how they can be the catalyst for positive change in your life? If yes, then click below for our FREE e-guide on how to conduct an informational interview. The guide breaks down the steps in an informational interview, has template emails, and is fillable for you to measure your progress.
The right information will lead to the correct changes in your life.
Alejandro I. Sanoja & Matt Avery