Waiting for Change
In the short term, weather is unpredictable. In the longer term, it’s going to rain. Someday. Change is actually more predictable. If you do nothing, nothing will happen. If you do something, something will happen.
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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
That’s not actually the real definition, but that’s another topic altogether (see below).
You hear people, if you listen, waiting for change every day:
- I’m going to lose weight.
- I’m quitting smoking as soon as …
- Business should pick up soon.
- Let me just clear out my inbox first.
- I need to hire someone.
- That’s on my list.
- Five more minutes.
- Yeah, I need to get on that.
If you’re waiting for it to rain, you’re in luck. It will rain someday. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month even, but if you persevere, it will happen. Nice. You don’t have to actually do anything, just wait.
For something to happen that’s different from the way it has been happening, there needs to be an action that will cause a reaction. You want to lose some weight? You’ll need to exercise and/or eat less. You can’t expect to lose weight by not changing something along the continuum of actions that brought you to the present situation. Change is easy that way: it’s more predictable. If you keep walking in a straight line, you’ll get from Point A to Point B. If you detour, you may no longer get to Point B. Eat less? Lose weight. Eat less bread but eat more pasta, you’re detouring. Simple as that.
When are you going to take action?
My day job has been overwhelming me for years. Years. Plural. To prevent me bitching and moaning for 47 paragraphs, let me illustrate in bullets. It’ll be quicker and less painful for both of us that way. In fact, this is an excellent exercise in defining your goal (and lack of action towards it).
Write down all of your excuses for not taking action:
- I have too much work.
- Clients are banging down my door, I’m too busy.
- It’s OK, if I just work all night, I can catch up.
- If I just wake up earlier, I’ll get ahead.
- If I systematize my design procedures, I’ll be more efficient.
- I’m a smart, resourceful guy, I can handle it.
- If I spend the next month living in my inbox, I can get it to zero.
- Next year will be better.
- It’ll die down in the summer.
- I’ll die in the summer.
- I should just work at Trader Joe’s.
Ouch. When I put it into bullet points like that, it’s pretty obvious. But I’ve had people help with business. I’ve had good help, I’ve had experienced help, old, young, peppy, sleepy, not-really-helping help. I’ve been there, done that. But have I? I think I dance around the topic, but I’m scared to make a commitment. I’m scared to make the change in the path because I’m not sure I’ll get to Point B. I’m not even talking about a W2, a “real” employee, I’m talking about bringing someone on part-time or full-time but who works for me. Someone who could get to know me, get to know how I work, where I need help, how it’s going to be most efficient. Yep, that’s what I need to do. That’s the change, or at least a change, that would be the action that brings on change. I don’t know exactly what that change will be, but it will be one thing for certain: different than it is today.
Write down all of the potential positive effects this change might bring.
- More time with my family.
- More time (and energy) to work on the business instead of in the business.
- Less stress.
- Better client service and maintenance.
- New products and services (that have always been too low on the To Do list).
- Better products (as I have more time to focus on them).
- Who knows what else!
I missed that. When was the action starting? Today?
Oh right. Action. Real action. Do-something-now-that’s-not-like-before action. Let me take a quick check of my excuses bullet points above. Yeah, been through all those. Now let’s analyze the possible benefits of the action to cause this change. Could it be any more clear? Could today be the day? Let me check the calendar for “someday.” Yeah, it’s not there. Maybe I need a special calendar. Maybe I need to make my own calendar. Maybe I need to take action. Maybe I need to do it today.
What was that sound? A low rumble like a loud firework in the distance? That was the sound of change. Big change. After whining and thinking about it for the past at least three or four years, I just paid $395 to Virtual Staff Finder find me a virtual assistant. I did it. I actually did it.
What’s going to happen? How is this going to change? I have no idea. But I know one thing, it’s not going to be the same as the past. This is the definition of change: it’s not the same as before. It starts today. I just did it. I took the first step.
- Possible: expect reaction with no action
- Impossible: reaction with no action
- Repossible: act
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The insanity “definition” is actually quite a puzzle to track down! It’s one of those quotes that gets attributed to lots of people and bits and pieces here and there. More on the trail to where it came from here.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
Awesome. I’m so happy you did this. You’re going to repossible your life.
Just stumbled across your site by way of tweet by Chris Guillebeau. Your post is great, and it’s incredible that you were able to write 100 posts in 100 days. I thought my goal of writing one essay per week for my blog was admirable!
I always like saying ‘you are the only one in your way.’ It’s such a true sentiment—so simple, so direct, and so challenging. I’ve thought often about how ridiculously hard it is to force yourself to do things you know are right. An article that I really enjoyed on the topic was “Ask Two Questions.” Google search it. It’ll be the first result.
Hope all is well, good luck with the virtual assistant!
Thanks for stopping by, Kevin. That Chris Guillebeau Tweet gave my site quick the kick on Saturday. Fun how all that works.
My Post Every Day might yield me the same “quality” as your One Essay Per Week, but I have to admit, I find it easier to write every day than once a week. The pressure is off, the deadline is smaller. If I have an off day, oh well, tomorrow is another day. In fact, I just wrote a post yesterday (On The House) that I plan to rewrite and put it on this site. So one site has become my testing ground and another site is where the good stuff rises to the top–if it’s worth it.
The trouble with “you are the only one in your way” is that there are no excuses, it’s just you, nothing else. The trouble with it is how hard that is.
I found the Ask Two Questions. (1) Am I having fun right now?” and (2) Is this what I’ve set out to do? #1 is easier, lighter. #2 takes some courage to answer–and deal with that answer.
Thanks again for stopping by.
Wow. I think that means you’re now officially the boss. Hope to hear more distant booms of successful changes in the future!
Thanks for the note. I’ve been the boss, but the trouble was/is I’m also the employee, the factory line, the sales team, and the front desk. Here’s to getting rid of one of my hats. More boom.
Nailed it! New tricks for old dogs is just a state of mind.
Who you calling an old dog!? 😉
That’s actually a really simple way to put it Ray: old dogs and new tricks. We get so stuck in our habits and ways and day-to-day lives that we think we can’t learn, we can’t change. But something has got to give–at some point. Otherwise you’re just going to be an old dead dog–and no new tricks.
Bradley! It has been forever and a day since I talked to you or even saw you. Loved this post. Wondered why I knew the name Chris Guillebeau. Remembered I am signed up for the World Domination conference in July. Are you going? How funny if we see each other in Portland when we live in the same city and don’t see each other here? Let’s fix that – lunch? Big hug, Melanie
Hey Melanie! Indeed, forever and a day and then a week I think (exactly!). I’d love to go to the WDC in July, but we’ll be in Spain (I know, sucks) doing a home exchange in Barcelona. But lunch in San Francisco is a novel idea. Soon. Thanks for stopping by!