A couple of years ago, I came across a book with a title just like the one I have used for this blog and being the kind of person that likes a bit of controversy every now and again, I couldn’t resist buying it so that I could see what it was all about.   It was a good read and more importantly, gave me plenty to think about. Change is inevitable, but the best types of change are the ones that we initiate.

Human beings are habit-forming creatures.  The human brain is made up of about 100 million nerve cells wired in such a way that pathways are created every time we learn new behavior.  These pathways are such that after we have carried out the new action for a sufficient length of time, the behavior gets embedded and we can the carry out the same actions almost without thinking.  It becomes reflex. It can take as little as three weeks to learn new behavior and develop a habit.

For example when you first learn how to drive, you have to think; ignition, gear, accelerate.  But after a while, you can drive without giving much thought to this sequence of actions. In fact sometimes when you have driven down a particular road many times you can sometimes find yourself wondering ‘how did I get to this point?’ You don’t actually remember driving the last few miles because you were thinking about something else.   Now this is often a good thing, because it means you spend less time doing things that you have become used to.  That is why practice makes perfect.

The flip side of the coin though, is that, it can also be a negative thing, if you never explore newer, perhaps better ways of doing things or even worse, if the learned behavior is not helpful in the first instance.  Simply put, we call these bad habits.  Or in coaching language, limiting beliefs.

It takes courage to let go of the old in order to embrace the new. 

Especially if you haven’t got a clue what the new might look like. Old is familiar and comforting. New can be scary because it is such unfamiliar territory and the outcome cannot be guaranteed. It will require you perhaps to learn new skills or new ways of thinking.  You could fail.

Everything within you screams in protest at the mention of change. Why change something that seems to be working? Why try to expand into new markets? Why add a new product or service when the ones you have are doing very well? Why try new software when the old one is working? Why change the management of an organization when the current management seems to be doing a good job? The list is endless.

The answer is simple. Because even when things seem to be working, without constantly asking yourself how you can improve on it, you will likely remain in a place of mediocrity, never discovering the joy of pursuing and attaining excellence. One scenario where change is definitely called for is when things just aren’t working. But that is stating the obvious and often its when things are working well that we don’t see the need to change.

So what do you do?  There is no easy way or indeed any short cut that works consistently.  Like bungee jumping, you simply have to let go of the anchor you are clutching to and take the plunge. Once the initial fear is eliminated, along comes the excitement.

And so, one sure way of dealing with fear is to take action.

There is something else that can increase your chances of succeeding at your new project or venture.  Good planning.  Just as you would do when you set out on a journey to somewhere you have never been before, you could take time to plan your journey.  You spend time thinking of all that could go wrong and you try as much as you can to prepare for the eventualities.

But once you have done all the planning, there comes the moment when you must take the plunge.  When this time comes, don’t hesitate.  Let go of the old.  Run towards the new.

No risk, no reward, is a well-known saying. 

It is still valid.

Remember to have a trusted business partner/friend/mentor/Coach beside you when you take this step.  It could be the difference between failure and success.

Always rooting for your success

Oge

 

 

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”  Alan Watts