How often do we set a goal to be successful, but that result we are looking for or define as success appears to require way too much for us to even undertake the journey. After all, change is hard and we are too busy to adjust how we normally have been doing things; right? How often has change come into your life and you actively fight it? Too often we seek to change ourselves or environment and find (possibly after some struggle, cajoling, and excuses) it too daunting a task so we quit. This is because we have a misunderstanding of what constitutes change. It isn’t about getting to the end, rather it’ about what we do getting there.
Success lies within the struggle itself rather than obtaining the goal. Achievement doesn’t change us. The journey to it does and that is what ultimately leads to success. As a result, I suggest three areas to focus on if we want to embrace the inevitable change in ourselves as we journey to success by identifying, accepting, understanding, and adjusting those incremental advancements that are what truly propel us forward time and time again.
The process of change is unique to it’s circumstance. Each of us have to approach a larger goal based on our current abilities and context. What happens once we begin advancing towards our goal? If we are reflective and adjust our approach as we experience obstacles, we are increasing our capacity for success. Think about that for a minute. By virtue of advancing just a little, we have to adjust because we have become more informed, efficient, or gained a better perspective. We have improved without reaching the goal. Therefore, it’s not the attainment of the goal that makes us better, but instead the small achievements that we must make to move forward. We must be careful to not get lost in the big picture, all or nothing success and failure mindset. By virtue of the growth required to move from where we were towards where we want to be; we have successfully improved ourselves. It is this constant ebb and flow of small victories and setbacks that build the character required to continue the journey.
It’s important for us to realize that perspective is the precursor to attitude. There are so many places (podcasts, blogs, books, etc.) that discuss the attitude you embrace and exhibit being 90% of life. I believe that it isn’t about the attitude you start with, but instead the attitude you adopt. If we really want to change our attitude we must begin on a more granular level, which is perspective. This may sound a little “chicken or egg” related, but our attitudes about our lives and circumstances are based on our perspective of any current situation. What’s important is that if we change our perspective, we begin to take a different (positive or negative) attitude based on our new outlook.
Think about this and reflect on your interactions with people. The attitude you have toward them is based on how you perceive them. If you believe that they do not like you, your attitude towards them is one of mistrust or disdain. You are cynical towards them. Need a better example? How many times have you reacted towards someone in a negative way because they said something that you perceived as an attack, but once it was explained they really meant nothing bad. Honestly, we have all back-peddled feeling uneasy about being mad over a misunderstanding. We like to call it miscommunication. Think of it as misperception.
All change has to do with people. Whether you are involving them in the process or affecting them by it, we need to realize their infinite ability to either make it happen or make it fail. So include them. Not just with the end result, but every step along the way. You will be surprised at how much better an outcome you get. The wonderful thing about this aspect is that by including people, you increase your ability to tighten up your process and take into account multiple perspectives that, in the end, creates a larger success.
We all face a journey toward what we call success. Whether it is massive or tiny, the fact is that this trip is inevitable and can either make us better or, if we choose, make our current situation worse. The point of this writing is to encourage all of us to understand that yes, progress and this journey can be scary and disruptive, but only if we view it as such. Instead, by adjusting our perspective; realizing it is an opportunity to grow as much as we want, and discussing where we are with other people; we can make it meaningful and beneficial. We should always seek to grow by continuously attempting to improve and recognizing the small victories from which further change will follow.
Give it a shot. Try to over communicate on something, involve people in your plans, be aware of existing self talk, and make a few positive adjustments. You will be amazed at how powerful the steps of change are regardless of the outcome.
Share with everyone. What small, positive steps will you take to move forward? Have you turned a negative to a positive? What did I miss or misrepresent?