As someone who works in the space of individual and collective change, I am curious about what makes change harder and what makes change more doable.
Having recently crossed into a new year, I have been reflecting and exploring this idea of resistance and the challenge of change. When I consider the changes I try to make, and how hard it can be to behave or engage differently with others, I am reminded that the humanity of change has been explored and reflected upon over centuries. Even ancients like Plato and Aristotle talk about change, and the evolution of our reality:
“Reality is created by the mind. We can change our reality by changing our mind.” Plato
Change is no easy feat but there is something compelling about a new beginning and the possibilities that are offered to us, in this fresh space.
What are you looking to develop on your fresh clean plate of 2023?
Here are some resources and experiences that I am thinking about, in relation to change and transformation.
Brene Brown and Dr Lisa Lahey on Immunity to Change
Recently I listened to a 2-part series where Brene Brown interviewed Dr Lisa Lahey about helping people overcome their aversion to change, which they call ‘Immunity to Change”. Brene asks this key question to open the discussion:
Can you walk us through why we all want to transform and no one wants to change?
These conversations were rich as Brown uses the theory and practices of Immunity to Change to address a real issue she is facing in her organization. Listen here.
In a summary of their work, the authors of this theory see that just developing skills doesn’t necessarily guarantee change. In fact, mindset transformation is key. “Mindset transformation requires overcoming blind spots, unearthing our competing commitments, and freeing ourselves of limiting assumptions.”
Atomic Habits, by James Clear
James Clear, in Atomic Habits, speaks about getting just 1% better each day, and that it’s really about the habits we are committed to. His well-known quote is that “we don’t rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems”. Small, incremental steps move us ever steadily toward our goals, and the change that we envision for ourselves.
In my own work
True change is rare and difficult. I see this in my own life first, and also as I work with leaders and teams. People may want to do specific things differently yet find themselves repeating deeply set patterns. I am inspired when they demonstrate their courage and their commitment to make changes by taking risks, and by being vulnerable as they are open to input, feedback and even failure along the way.
One of the pieces of research that I use in my work is Richard Boyatzis’ finding that when the changes we desire to make over time, align with who we aspire to be, there is a 40 – 60% chance we will make that enduring change. This is quite a contract to the average change (5 – 12%) that is seen, when we aren’t living into these aspirations. I have found that articulating and leveraging our hopes for who we want to be, makes a great difference for individuals, teams and for myself.
Regardless of the theory or model, examining our thoughts, as well as our behaviours, impacts the way and how much we change.
I will leave you with some questions as you consider change in this new year:
- What helps to fuel change for you?
- What gets in the way?
- What wants your attention in the fresh start of the New Year?
Once you get clear about these ideas, perhaps then you can source the system that will best support you and your intentions.
I wish you well on your journey into this fresh new year. If you are seeking change, please let me know what resources and ideas work best for you.