Change-The Essential Survival Skill
It's quite simple, really. Doing the same things in the same way yields the same results. It's not rocket science. Working harder at doing the same or ineffective activities is self-destructive and zaps your energy and enthusiasm, and steals away precious time, yet we often persist in our "old" and comfortable ways. In order to make changes for the better, to improve your insurance practice or to experience personal and professional growth requires you to do things differently, yet why do you persist in using your "standard operating procedures" and hope for better results?
It's very natural to resist change. You resist for many reasons, including:
- Fear of unknown results and/or consequences
- Lack of belief in yourself
- Lack of belief in the new method/process/idea
- Fear of failure or making the wrong decision
- Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
What type of "changer" are you? Do you resist change at all cost and maintain the status quo, no matter what? Or, are you slow to change, but finally come around and then wonder what the fuss was all about? Or finally, do you embrace change and think that it's better to create the future you want than to be a victim of it?
It's interesting to note that you can simultaneously respond to change in each of the ways mentioned above, depending upon the nature of the particular change and what you perceive your talents and strengths to be.
What does change sound like? "You should get organized." "Yes I should." "You should qualify for MDRT." "I know you're right. I should." "You should win the Master Agency Award." "I know I should and I'll try to accomplish it this year." Sound familiar? What's holding you back? Are you merely making and intellectual decision to do something that sounds like a good idea? Or are you emotionally committed and have a burning desire to achieve at those levels?
Simple Steps to Master Change
- Focus on the outcome you desire and not on the uncertainty or problems associated with it. Ask yourself each day, "What can I do today to move me one step closer to my desired outcome?" Intention is not a new concept. Wayne Dyer calls it, "The Power of Intention." Napoleon Hill called it "Definiteness of Purpose." Earl Nightingale called it, "The Strangest Secret." You can call it what you like, but it boils down to this; decide on purpose what you want your end result to be. See it in your minds' eye. Feel it in your gut. Act as if whatever you desired has already been achieved. Then go about your business and you'll begin to witness all of the ways your desired result will present itself to you.
- To get started, focus first on short term objectives. You are more likely to get them accomplished and that feeling of accomplishment will keep you moving forward.
- Start small and break down what needs to be done into small, yet achievable, measurable and incremental steps. You can always re-evaluate, fine tune, and scale up any time.
- Make your changes worth your while. Reward yourself for your new behavior. What gets rewarded gets repeated.
- Stay fit, manage your stress and create a healthy balance of both personal and business activities.
- Take the time to get crystal clear about your goals and what's important to you and then prioritize your top three. You'll get to the rest later. Having too many goals to work on can create chaos and confusion and can water down your efforts and even sabotage your success. Be sure you know exactly "What's in it for you."
- Do you have the necessary tools/skills/resources for change? These items can include; education (credentials), software, processes and systems, professional support (coach, administration support, mentor), and a supportive environment. If not, get them. It's imperative to have the right tools for the job at hand.
- Keep your sense of humor.
- Be tolerant of others when asking them to make changes that will support you.
- Be a "striver" not a "settler."
To paraphrase Tom Peters, only those people who constantly re-tool themselves have a chance at sustained success in the years to come. Napoleon Hill has said that, "Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or great benefit." Look for that opportunity when embarking upon change.