Uncomfortable Changes

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Resolution check-in. Are you still doing the thing you said you would do just two short weeks ago? If you are, then great. If not, then I have a sneaky suspicion that change was much harder than you thought. Once given the option to keep going through the pain or give in to your old less perfect self, the establishment won. As a leadership coach for business leaders and executives, change is what we do. I’ve been asked a few times the process of how we make that happen, so I’ll share with you some of our “not so” insider secrets. It’s the ABCD’s of change (but not in that order).

Aware of the Possibilities

The first part of change is being Aware of the possibilities (the A of ABCD’s). As you may have read in a previous blog, I’m coaching my daughter’s school’s boys seventh grade basketball team. The best part of coaching for me is seeing young people who thought they could never do something, master that skill.

One of the primary skills in basketball is dribbling. Astonishingly, many players on the team hadn’t done much dribbling in the past. Maybe it’s the video game era, fewer children in the neighborhoods or the plethora of opportunities today’s generation has at their fingertips, but regardless of how it happened these kids couldn’t dribble well. But due to the “Youtube generation”, the players, for the most part, are aware that having ‘mad handles’ (basketball jargon for superior dribbling skills) is possible.

Care about the Difference

After being made aware that a skill is possible, do you Care (the C of ABCD’s) about the difference between your current ability and the possible ability? To care or not to care, this is the question.

This step is a choice. This is where many fall off the change wagon. They are aware, but simply don’t care. In this instance, I see Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving (two of most prolific ball handlers in this era) dribbling, but I don’t want to become as good as them. Candidly, most children believe they are Steph without a spec of his ability, but that’s a child-like-fantasy-mindset issue not a generational one.

Dare to Make the Changes

We do a spider drill as a fun way to get better handles (another basketball term for the ability to dribble well). Do you Dare (the D of ABCD’s) to make the effort knowing failure is likely and frequent. Some players will try the drill even though they see the ball going all over the gym. Others will just stand there and say, they can’t without even trying.

This is the third step of change. Great leaders, coaches, teachers, parents and any other great influencer thrives in this step. They get their people to believe enough to try. This takes a level of confidence and trust that is plaguing our inner cities, rural areas and even the more affluent suburbs. The ball IS going to roll away from you. The question is not if, but when. The most important decision is whether or not you will continue to pick the ball up and try again, which leads to the final step.

Bear the Weight of Changing

Can you Bear (the B of ABCD’s) the weight of changing? For most, this a challenge too great to endure. Change is heavy. It requires persistence, determination, discipline, focus, integrity, and many other frequently tested values. It is for this reason I believe many choose to revert their desire to their current default position as opposed to choosing the new position and relentless pursuing it. So when the ball falls away from you for the 20th time, do you grab it again and keep trying or do you quit? How do you address the voices that keep telling you, “You’re not good enough” or “If you just stop trying you can avoid this pain forever!”

The reality is this: These are all lies, because no one in mankind knows the future. What we do know is that if a person quits doing something they’re doomed to failure. However, no one can say whether or not the current attempt will lead to success or a failure, so why not go for it. Change is uncomfortable, but stagnation is uncomfortable too.

Leaders know stagnation leads to obliteration. I’ve personally been obliterated from a video game and let me tell you it’s not fun. So why not continue to pursue the uncomfortable that is change. Sure my ABCD’s are really ACDB’s, but you get the point we’re trying to make in this blog.

Now that you’re Aware, do you Care to Dare and Bear the weight of change? Need help? Let’s talk! We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee leadership coaching firm that specializes in business coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development training.

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