Tag Archives: change

Do I need an umbrella?

Looking out the window across the cloud-covered sky to the street below I made an assessment that it was not raining heavily enough to impede my lunch time walk.

This assessment remained correct for five minutes, after which the grey clouds decided to dump significantly more moisture. I castigated myself for not bringing my umbrella which I had originally deemed as not being required. How could my assessment have been wrong?

The fact is, my assessment was correct, at that point in time. Circumstances beyond my control then changed the situation.

How often do we make decisions that are relevant to a particular point in time and then become frustrated or disappointed when the situation changes?

What may seem entirely reasonable and attainable with one particular set of circumstances, can quickly become distant and improbable. This shouldn’t prevent us from making decisions, rather it should encourage us to consider what factors are likely to change and then plan accordingly.

This is contingency planning. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just considered. In my case, I should have taken an umbrella – a minor encumbrance that would have meant I was prepared for the situational change. Some things cannot be planned for, but most can! The grey clouds were the indicator that my point-in-time assessment could be short-lived.

For what situation do you need to take an umbrella?


“Won’t power”

It’s not the willpower, it’s the ‘won’t power’ that’s important” was regularly recounted by my dad when people spoke about diets and refraining from certain foods. He was, of course, talking about one’s ability to say ‘no’ to those foods rather than simply the desire for change. I’ve found that whilst seasons of saying “yes” to opportunities have enlarged my world and my capacity incredibly, the power of saying NO to behaviours and attitudes is paramount to lasting change.

Change starts with a desire. A wish for things to be different. Whatever this ‘different’ is – be it in the area of health, relationships, finance, career, parenting – will always require a change in both our behaviour and mindset. What we do and how we think is essential for lasting change. This is where my dad’s quip is important – we need to say NO to those old behaviours, those old mindsets and attitudes, replacing them with the new desired behaviour and thinking. Being keen and enthusiastic won’t bring the results – action is always required!

As we step into a new year, some of us tend to resolve that ‘things will be different this year!’ The resolve won’t deliver change. If we’re genuine about change for the sake of ourselves and those around us, then let’s remember the ‘won’t power’.

What do you need to say NO to in 2016?




Courage to change

Change really is inevitable. It is one constant in our world, in our lives, and it demands a response.

We can choose to ignore change and be overtaken by it. We can choose to simply understand it. Or we can choose to embrace and facilitate it.

Change simply for the sake of change is not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about change that is brought about by a genuine desire to improve, a desire to be more effective, a desire for excellence. This examines the why and the how of what we are doing (personally and corporately). It determines if what we’re doing is necessary and, if so, asks the question “how can we do this better?”.

As initiators or leaders of change, our capacity has to concurrently grow. If we have decided that change is necessary, then by default we are saying who we were will not take us to where we need to go. It is recognition that what has been is not sufficient for what will be. And that’s okay! This is the essence of change. Identifying how we personally can grow; how we can seek opportunities that enlarge us, that increase our capacity.

Stepping into our future, we cannot allow our history nor our background to negatively influence what could be. The baggage from past failures, missed opportunities, silly mistakes must be put aside if we’re to claim our future. Along with our enlarged capacity, both our vision and belief must also change.

How are you responding to change in your world?


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Bring forth the new status quo…

The idea of change frightens many of us.

The disruption of our routine with which we’re familiar is uncomfortable. But once change has occurred, we tend to develop a new routine, accommodating the very thing which we feared.

I’ve been part of several major workplace changes in recent years. Teams consolidating, roles changing, status quo disrupted. Ahead of the changes, team members exhibited a range of emotions from reluctant acceptance to cynicism to fear. Very few individuals genuinely welcome seemingly radical change although some people certainly look for the benefit, perhaps as a means to quell nerves!

Once the teams have consolidated and the roles have changed, a new status quo is defined. That’s the funny thing about the status quo, it changes!

My learnings from these experiences indicate that the dangers of change verbalised by antagonists rarely, if ever, materialise to the extent foretold. What does materialise is a transition period, the success and length of which is highly dependent upon the communication process and training. People have tended to become more accepting of anticipated change if it is clearly communicated, if stakeholders are appropriately engaged and if they are practically supported, before, during and after the process.

Change truly is inevitable. People change. Companies change. Economies change. You and I change. Our perspective and attitude may also need to change if we are to embrace the upside of change. Let’s set a new status quo for ourselves as we look towards a new year!


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Scratch the itch!

*Alternative title: If there’s a problem, there’s always a cause (and a solution!)*

Ruby had been looking decidedly uncomfortable, rubbing her back along the rough brickwork of the house, scratching against the furniture, even chewing her tail (yep, Ruby’s our 9-year-old Staffy, not one of our boys!). Now I could have dismissed this as the behaviour of a dementing old dog, or I could have investigated if this change was indicative of a problem.

The problem was fleas. The cure was a bath and a wash of her bedding.

How often do we see undesirable change in our own worlds yet hesitate investigating the cause?

I think we do so because once we know the cause, then we really have an obligation to source the solution. We can at that point no longer decree that we didn’t know.

I could have continued to ignore Ruby’s behaviour and her discomfort would have gradually spread to others in the household. What we often perceive as something insignificant with limited consequences can, if left unchecked, grow to adversely impact many.

If we see a problem, we need to accept there will be a cause and then seek the solution.


The ‘S’ word…

We’ve all heard it. We’ve probably even all spoken it. The ‘S’ word – you know what I’m talking about…

S_____ .

That’s right SHOULD.

Channel surfing recently, I caught 30 seconds of Sex And The City (I swear this is NOT part of my regular viewing – honest!) with the Sarah Jessica Parker character talking about the ‘S’ word and how many of us say we ‘should’ do something when in reality we could be doing something.

WOW! How profound from what I would deem an otherwise meaningless TV show!  It at least spurred my thinking…

Life is often busy, complicated and challenging (even in TV land for SJP). That’s a fact.

When we encounter a situation or person where we could potentially make a positive difference we can either discuss / think / rationalise what we SHOULD do or we can simply take a chance at doing what we COULD do.

Should talks about what we think ought to happen. Could actually explores the possibility. After all, even in the children’s tale “The Little Engine That Could” the small engine didn’t think about what it should do, it set about determining what it could do, irrespective of other’s expectations!

When we’re next faced with an opportunity to act, let’s be the ones who decided they COULD do something rather than those who thought they SHOULD have.


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