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The Necessity of Change

Whether you’re considering personal or professional change, it can be tough. Why is that the case? Why is change so hard so often?

The necessity of change is often hard because it forces us to make a choice between the pain of the present and the potential of a new, yet unknown future. One of my favorite authors, Henry Cloud, describes this problem as incompatible wishes.

We’ve all experienced incompatible wishes. It’s when you want to fit into jeans one size smaller AND eat that last piece of strawberry cake. It’s when you want to hit the visionary sales goal for the month AND desire to be at every baseball game for your child.

You want both.

The result is tension. This makes it tough to move from where you are to where you want to be.

So where do you start? Where does the energy for lasting change come from?

The Four P’s of Change

This post is the first of three which will lay out a framework for change. It can be applied personally or to your team at work. We call this framework the Four P’s of Change.

The Four P’s of Change:

  1. Pinpoint the Pain
  2. Picture Your Purpose
  3. Prepare Your People
  4. Prune the Plant

The focus for today is on the first point, Pinpoint the Pain. Where are you currently experiencing pain? In relationships? Is it financial? Is it at work?

Necessity of Change

Let’s run with a financial example. The new iPhone is awesome. You must have it. You also committed to your spouse just last week to stay on budget. It doesn’t include cash for the new phone. Ughhh…can you feel the pain? How do you say no to the shiny new phone so that you stay on budget?

You have to pinpoint the pain of what choosing to go over budget will cost you. Here are a few questions to answer to help you think clearly about the direction you need to go.

  1. How has overspending affected you in the past? How has it affected your relationships? What type of stress has it put you under?
  2. What do you NOT have now because you have failed to stay on budget in the past?
  3. Think about five years from now — if you continue to overspend, what would it cost you?

You can’t change if you don’t know what your current habits or attitudes are costing you. Questions like this help you clarify what is at stake. Clarifying what is at stake gives the energy needed for true change. That’s the necessity of change. It helps you push through the fog of incompatible wishes and stay on track.

In our next post, we will focus on the second point of change, Picture Your Purpose.

How about you? What makes change hard in your opinion? Comments are welcome.