A high achieving athlete knows the hard work that is required for change. The early mornings, the hurt, the heartache, the discipline – it is all an essential part of creating change. We aren’t all high achieving athletes, but the same is true for any change or growth. For example, if we want to get better at delegating, we have to learn to tolerate risk, hand over control, let go, supervise more, understand less detail, hold people accountable, all sorts of new behaviours that are hard work. All of that is hard work, and requires discipline in the ‘doing’ bit.
And what about when we fail? We are human, not widgets. Life isn’t always predictable, and our brains are not always rational. We are fallible and we make mistakes. What happens when we have that cake we didn’t mean to eat, that time we shouted when we shouldn’t have done, what about our morning we lost to emails when we should have made a plan around priorities for the day? Do we pick up again and get back on the hard work of change? Or do we fall off the wagon. An increasing amount of what we know about resilience is around our attitude to failure. What is important to our resilience seems to be how much we enable failure to put us off the hard work of change. Do we use failure as a reason to stop trying to bring in a new behaviour?
How many people do you know that stay in a situation because it feels familiar even though it is not what is best for them? Building new habits and doing new things is always harder than staying the same. This is amazingly true even when we are unhappy! It is hard for our brains to figure out new things and hence we stay away from the unfamiliar away from growth.
Change is hard. When trying to help others change through conversation (those you manage, or lead, or even a friend), it is key that we reflect on how hard change is. Some tips to remember:
1) What is defined as hard to change can only be defined by the individual (not you).
2) Patience is needed to encourage someone to change, to grow
3) Encourage tenacity over surrender.
No one said it would be easy, change is hard.