As a leadership development coach, I’ve found that the strongest leaders don’t resist change, they embrace it. But they also know that changing their own behavior can be a monumental challenge. They realize that if they don’t change/adapt they will become “stuck in their ways.” And you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who considers that a positive attribute of a leader!
Being Ready to Change
In a recent article in the New Yorker magazine, I came across a great article by Joshua Rothman entitled “Are You the Same Person You Used to Be?” He states that “becoming you in some cases means embracing a drama of vulnerability, decision, and transformation; it may also involve a refusal to accept the finitude that’s the flip side of individuality.”
This struck me by its simplicity and truth. Evolving means being vulnerable enough to realize that a current behavior doesn’t serve you anymore. You have to be ready to change. In contrast, being dogmatic and stubborn so that you hold onto this behavior usually doesn’t work out well in the long run.
Determining Why You Need to Change
But changing is not for the lighthearted. Not only does it take time but it requires that you look at things, and yourself, differently. You may need to lean on those around you for honest feedback…and be ready to receive it, even when they reveal something about yourself you don’t want to admit.
I’ve realized this through my own transformation.
Some twenty years ago, seven of my closest friends vehemently said that I often talked too much. If memory serves, I balked at this notion! I believed myself to be an excellent and effective communicator. But they were insistent. And that was the crucial moment…right then, I had to decide if I was going act on their feedback or disregard it and remain the way I was. There was something in their passion for my growth that drove me to accept their direction. I recall saying to myself, “Well, if enough people call you a horse, buy a saddle!”
Since then, I’ve concentrated on being concise in my speaking and writing. I’ve also enjoyed the transformed state I’ve gotten to from this advice as it has allowed me to listen more intently and purposely. And as you know…I am consistently stressing that my clients listen first before they start selling or convincing.
So my advice to you is this…reflect on something you’d like to change. Begin your transformative journey by sharing your desire with a few committed friends (and me, if you wish!). Listen to how they respond. And then get into action so that you have a plan that will make this change permanent. Ultimately, you will have to work at it and it may not come easy. But as they say, most good things in life never are.
Enjoy your journey.