If you like change, you’re weird. You’re an outlier. Change is one tough son-of-a-gun. But change is a necessity and therefore we must learn to manage it well.
Learning a new skill, thinking differently about a generation, or embracing a new way of working requires change. Agility has become our dearest friend in today’s ready-fire-aim culture. The short story below poetically captures the stages of change and reveals the progression we must follow to benefit from change.
Autobiography In 5 Short Chapters by Portia Nelson
Chapter 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in…it's a habit…but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Chapter 4: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Chapter 5: I walk down another street.
5 Phases Of Managing Change Successfully
Phase 1: Ignorance
At first, we don’t see the holes limiting our progress. Our blind-spots are blind to us. We don’t know what we don’t know. Lack of experience in a situation can result in an unawareness of what failure actually looks like. It typically takes repeat failure, hard looks in the mirror or embarrassing instruction for us to finally notice the hole.
Phase 2: Self-deception.
Humans resist change. It’s what we do. It’s like the movie Matrix or The Village, once you experience the truth of your circumstances, you have 2 simple choices: lie to yourself about the revealed truth or embrace it. I’d recommend embracing. Lying to yourself about today’s rate of change will leave you feeling suffocated in an insurmountable hole.
Phase 3: Surrender.
Surrendering to the existence of the hole and taking ownership for the fall will result in teachability. John C. Maxwell explains the 3 aspects needed for a teachable mindset: 1) Everyone has something to teach me. 2) Everyday I have something to learn. 3) Every time that I learn something I benefit. Change demands the temporary surrender of comfort. Surrender to your shortcomings and seek wisdom with a teachable mindset.
Phase 4: Adjustment.
Teachability opens the door to learning. Learning leads to an adjustment in behavior. The adjustments we make to avoid our holes are the greatest catalysts for our future success. Avoid your current holes but never fear future holes. Continual success is a result of continual falling, learning, and adjusting.
Phase 5: Freedom.
Behavior adjustments lead to the freedom to explore new options, acquire new skills, and think new thoughts. Crucial for next generation success. The time saved from climbing out of holes creates more margin for discovery. You never know what breakthrough is awaiting around the next street corner. But remember, new streets have holes too so always be prepared to rinse and repeat all 5 phases.
Identify what's hole’ding up your progress so you can enjoy the view while you stroll down a new street.
Question: How do you rise from the hole and move on?