The Best Change Agent Is You

Many people attend events and leave inspired to make changes.  Often there is so much to do that they are defeated before they even start.

Marshall Goldsmith, author and leadership thinker, spoke to 800 women entrepreneurs from around the globe in Dallas at the annual Women Presidents’ Organization conference.  He shared strategies to develop individually to go to the next level.  He did not say one word about how to change others.  Not one.

In fact, he told the audience “No one who doesn’t want to change will change.” So much for changing your business partner, spouse, sibling, offspring or friend.

As for changing yourself, Goldsmith said, “If you do not care, do not bother.” For example, if your colleagues think that you are rude, disrespectful and condescending, do not bother to change if you really do not care about your reputation with them.

Change is an inside job. Imposed from the outside, it rarely lasts.  There may be short bursts of improvement only to return to the same behavior.

In Mojo:  How To Get It, How To Keep It, How To Get It Back If You Lose It (2009), Goldsmith states that finding happiness and meaning in life is the basis for mojo.  His definition is “Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.”

The solution to go to the next level, however, you define the next level, is to engage in activities that are meaningful to you and that make you happy.

Sounds simple.  It is simple but may not be so easy. To follow Goldsmith’s guide, you must be willing to be brutally honest about your behavior and yourself. Spend a week assessing your activities to discover what activities having meaning and fun for you.

For example, when I become lost on the internet going from one subject to another in mindless pursuit, it is not meaningful and it is not fun, not really.  Even though my initial intention of doing research for an article is noble, this mind numbing distraction saps my mojo.

To begin, decide what you are willing to change to take your life to the next level professionally or personally.  Get better at this one thing consistently.  Measure your results daily.

This may sound too simplistic and not nearly grand enough.  However, when you change one thing, you change everything.  Everything is connected.

Accept responsibility for what is meaningful and fun for you. Forget about “…exerting heroic willpower.  All that’s required is the use of a simple discipline.” Measure and follow up.

Goldsmith suggests evaluating every activity on a 1 to 10 scale (10 the highest score) with two simple questions from Mojo:

  1. How much long-term benefit or meaning did I experience from this activity?
  1. How much short-term satisfaction or happiness did I experience in this activity?

You will discover what you want to change.  Merely keeping score creates an awareness of what is not serving you.  Before you engage in an activity, you can choose to do it or choose to find a way to gain more meaning and satisfaction in it.

What are you doing to bring meaning and joy to your life? The best change agent is you.

© 2013 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved

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