Many of us start out each new year by setting resolutions and trying to achieve them. Many of us fail. How can we do better?
Change is Tough
First, understand that change is tough. It is messy, filled with fear and uncertainty, and loaded with traps and pitfalls at every turn. Why? Change involves altering our behavior, our thought processes, our long-standing habits. What we currently do, even if it’s not close to being the best for us, is perceived to be safer, easier and more comfortable than…..drum roll….CHANGE of any type!
Every time I work with a client on change, this quote comes to mind…
“Change is life giving. It helps us grow into someone greater than we already are.”
The author of this powerful quote is unknown. The number of people who have focused on the positives of change and grown into someone greater than they were before because of that change is also unknown, but I’m willing to bet that number is HUGE! And you can be one of that group, IF you truly desire to change and are committed to making it happen.
The Process of Change
I recently read a blog post on Psychology Today by Katherine Schreiber and Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D. entitled, Why is Change So Hard? They say that altering our behavior takes time and it often involves backtracking. This will feel “spot on” for many of us. What I like about this article is how they take us through the five stages of change.
Pre-Contemplation – you may be aware of a change you want to make, but you have no plans to actually do anything about it.
Contemplation – now you’re thinking about making a change. The authors suggest you consider the advantages and disadvantages of 1) not changing, and 2) changing. When I work with clients struggling to make a decision, I often suggest they use a simplified version of the Benjamin Franklin Decision Making Method, a Pro and Con chart. Draw a “T” on a piece of paper, dividing it into two columns, with a place for titles at the top. On the left side, write Pro or put in a plus sign. On the right side, write Con or put in a minus sign. Write down your Pros and Cons, and evaluate them.
Preparation – you have committed to make a change, and you begin your planning phase. You explore different pathways to achieve your change and work out what resources will you need.
Action – you move from planning to doing. This is where you will notice some support you, giving you positive feedback and encouragement, and some try to defeat you, telling you how wrong you are and how bad this is for you. Lesson learned here? This is YOUR life. Always continue to evaluate your decisions and do what is best. It is often a time to realign your “friends.”
Maintenance – you did it! Now you need to keep the forward momentum going. This can be really difficult. It is also critical!
Support Can Lead to Success
Bottom line? Change, whether in business or your personal life, is tough. And can also be life giving.
IF you truly desire to make changes in 2018, make sure you seek support from friends, colleagues, books, or even a life or small business coach. Please remember that truly wanting to make the change is critical to your success. When I help clients move through change, we work together for the success they are seeking. We work on accountability, on moving from “two steps forward and one step back” to countless steps forward and an occasional step back (hey, they’re human and it happens!), and putting structures in place to maintain their forward movement. It is an honor to be a part of this process with my clients!
If you have questions about change and your small business, email me at [email protected]. I would love to hear from you!
Robin Suomi, MBA, is an experienced small business expert and founder of Startup to Growth, LLC. Working with clients through video conferencing and in-person, she helps clients answer their technical business planning questions, and also encourages them to dig deeper, dream bigger, working with them to create their Success Steps! Check out the website for ongoing How to Start a Business and Business Plan Boot Camp classes, as well as 1-1 and mastermind small business coaching.
Also check out Startup to Growth Video Library for additional small business training and professional development videos available to you online, anytime. A very affordable option.