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Making change happen. Turning I Oughta into I am and meaning it

surfing on the edge of chaos or skill mastery. Richard Maybury #wp2p

Chances are you are not certifiably insane. I suspect you have felt a little mad at times though. Probably more at work than at home. I felt like I was going mad back in the day when I was ‘learning’ to windsurf, more of which later.
And there’s no truth in the lame quip ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here but it helps.’

Why then is it difficult to bridge the gap between what we ‘know’ and what we do; what we believe and what we do?
The answer is simple……..

First, the good news….
Because you are not certifiably insane or clinically depressed you will not be deliberately self-harming.
You therefor have reasons (note these may not be ‘Good reasons’) for maintaining your current behaviours and beliefs. Indeed, your current behaviours and beliefs are perfectly acceptable to you right now – even comfortable – and all your ‘coulda, shoulda oughta’ thoughts will remain just that …. Thoughts.

So, the question is ‘How do I turn an ‘I ought to do’ into an ‘I Am doing’ and mean it?

When I run my priority, workload, goal, project and strategy management training programmes I always offer personal post –training support.  The reason is simple …..

People rarely make sustained behaviour changes because they ‘oughta’ or because they have picked up a few tricks or bought a new app. It’s usually takes more than that.

There’s a few things we can do for ourselves when embarking on a journey of change in habit, whether behaviour or belief based. I wonder if this brief story helps:

Surfing on the edge of chaos instead of enjoying the ride

Years ago when I was learning how to windsurf I was spending a lot of time and inordinate reserves of energy in just attempting to stand up, stay standing up and falling off the board; usually after drifting a long way from where I started and always in the opposite direction of where I was hoping to go!

I was persistent (a strength and a weakness) with this new ‘Falling of the windsurfer’ sport, despite my pride and my body hurting. Then, one day, a friend said as I came ashore bruised, battered and kna****ed
‘Is that working for you Richard’?
‘Is what working for me?’
‘’What you are doing out there!
‘Frankly … No’ I replied
‘So, why don’t you stop doing it then?’ came the stern retort.
‘But I want to windsurf and I’ve bought the kit and everything and I don’t give up easily’ I replied before I could fully appreciate what my friend was subtly telling me.

What I was doing was clearly not working and all I was doing was working harder at continuing to do something that was clearly not working! Even with all my cool kit.

That was the moment I decided to STOP and do something different. Paying for a few professional lessons soon got me sorted and I started windsurfing with more control, more joy and less effort and  less emotional and physical pain.

I don’t want to belittle the task at hand here but here’s 4 things you could consider when you are looking to turn an ‘I Ougha’ into an ‘I am’:

  1. Ask yourself ‘How does doing what I’m currently doing work for me?’ If you listen closely to yourself you may find that you have many reasons for not wanting to change right now.
  2.  If what you are currently doing does not work for you ask yourself ‘What is stopping me from stopping it?’
  3. Next, ratchet up the pain and ask yourself ‘What the longer-term consequences of me maintaining my current state?‘ What is the price of your current comfort or complacency?
  4. Finally create a compelling big reason why you will make the change you are considering. Can you turn it into a motivating picture of yourself, or better still a mental movie of yourself, enjoying the benefits of having made the change you are considering. Make it as real as possible. Remember, motivation gets us motoring, habits maintain momentum, so revisit this ‘Big Why’ often.

Having solid tools like Microsoft Outlook, Google Apps, Lotus Notes and some of the better Collaboration platforms, is a start.

Applying proven productivity principles and Best Practice workload management skills through Best Practice usage of these tools leverages this further.

Getting support your efforts in building the motivation and momentum helps to sustain and embed behaviour change,  which is where my clients tell me we make a significant difference.

Do get in touch if you think we might be able to bring our proven support to you or your people.

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Photo by texaus1 on Flickr – unchanged.
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