Friday, April 22, 2011

Start With Small Changes

Recently I conducted a seminar entitled ConsultantAdvantage, which guided participants through a number of stories, activities, and concepts in order to be better consultants in their chosen fields.

One component of the training involved showing participants how to upload documents to a shared file space.  If you can attach a file (photo, document, ext.) to an e-mail you can upload to a share space.  However, many people were challenged by this "new" method of file transfer and resisted trying it.  Some professed technical challenges while others questioned the reasoning behind using a new method.

There are two variables to change.  Readiness refers to the readiness for change to occur.  If you have a life situation that is less than ideal - stress at work or home, in the process of moving, etc. - you may not be ready to handle additional changes, even small ones.

I have a friend who is engaged with plans to marry in September.  Right now she is preparing her house to be put on the market, helping renovate her fiance's house, finishing orientation on a new job, and dealing with family members who are trying to "help" plan her wedding!  Psychologists have studied stress for many years and have discovered that the level of stressful events has an almost direct correlation to physical health.  How stressed are you?  Take this test and find out.

The second aspect of change is the capability to change.  Of course, everyone has the capability to change.  Under the right conditions you will change, although you may resist the change.  What I'm really talking about is the perception of the capability to change.  The first step to making changes is to believe that you are able to make the changes.  After that it's just a matter of learning what you need to learn and stepping out by taking action.

I don't like it when people say "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  The events of life don't always have a pleasant outcome, but viewing change as an opportunity for personal growth is a healthy perspective.

About a year ago, my in-laws lost nearly everything when their house was overcome by flash floods.  After an hour of hanging on to a post to avoid being swept away, the waters receded.  Thankful to be alive, they began to pick up what they could, clean up where they need to, and make plans for the future.  We've seen similar perseverance in Japan - even though people lost loved ones, pets, homes, and employment.

The best way to ensure that you are ready for change and demonstrate to yourself that you have the capability for change is to make small purposeful changes as an everyday part of living.  Instead of taking the interstate, take back roads.  Instead of mowing the lawn in circles, mow in rows.  Eat at a new restaurant.  Sit in a different area at church.  Being flexible and adaptable when you don't really need to will strengthen your change muscles.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Are Youth To Blame?

It seems like every generation blames the succeeding generation for a level of moral decay and weakening of the fabric of society.  The quote below is from Hesiod.  He was a contemporary of the Greek poet Homer and lived around 750BC.

“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.”