By Peter Comrie
What’s the truth about change?
Well, the short answer is: absolutely — change is possible
Throughout the years, we’ve seen countless people on the brink of divorce. This can happen when one partner’s behaviors have been really toxic to live with, while the other partner has tried to manage them in a way that won’t escalate things. The managing partner often does so because s/he doesn’t believe it’s possible for their partner to change.
They believe that their partner’s behavior is a result of hardwiring that can’t be altered.
But is this all true? Can we really change people? Can we change people’s own hardwiring?
Is it possible for someone to truly change?
And if change is possible, wouldn’t it take years to happen?
Well, as I said above, change is possible, and I mean BIG, life-altering (and relationship-altering) change.
And…no, this kind of change does not need to take a lifetime to happen. In some cases, it can happen in an instant.
Some of you may already be thinking: “Oh Peter, “If change can happen in an instant, how come I’ve never seen it?” or “Change that happens that quickly isn’t true change and never lasts.”
What is The Truth About Change, and How Do We Find It?
There are endless beliefs out there when it comes to change, and several of them are true.
It is true, for example, that some people may never change. It’s also true that some people will take several years to change.
And, yes, there are those who will change, only to later return to their old ways.
However, the answer to the fundamental question about change is: yes, it’s possible and yes, it’s sustainable over a lifetime.
So what’s the difference between people who never change, people who only change for a certain period of time, and people who change very slowly? If change is so sustainable, and if everyone can do it, why do so many people struggle with it?
What’s the difference between these people?
The bottom line is this: change is a choice. On any given day, one person will make the choice while another will not. There are many key factors that differentiate them.
Key Factors that Spur Change
The key factors that differentiate people who will make a change from people who will not make a change include:
1. An Internal Shift or ‘Aha’ Moment.
Behavior plays a key role in making a change in your life.
When I offer my full-spectrum leadership services to clients looking to make a change in their personal or professional lives, they learn that on-going review and self analysis is the catalyst for growth.
Most of my clients who have made life-altering changes did so when they understood on a soul level what their behavior was costing not only themselves, but their partners and children as well.
Being able to understand how you are affecting the people around you is one of the first steps of realizing that a major change needs to be made.
Clients of mine who have gotten to this realization have felt the pain of their actions in an entirely different way than ever before.
This clarity gave them the motivation to stop the damage.
They simply didn’t want to be that person anymore. This wake-up call or aha moment can take many forms.
- Realizing that their rage was damaging their children
- Receiving a cancer diagnosis
- Realizing their constant over-accommodating put their life at risk
- Having a partner leave them
- Losing their job because of their behavior.
2. A Determined, Deliberate, and Unequivocal Choice Is Made to Change.
Making decisions during hard times is not easy. Everybody would like to change, wants to change, or hopes to change, however, few decide to change at all costs.
When that sudden ‘aha’ moment hits, there is a deliberate shift in attitude, motivation and determination. The change becomes a “must” not a “should.” The person is willing to do whatever it takes to make the shift happen and stick.
When that realization hits and that final decision to change as a human being to make a fundamental difference in their life is made, their lives change forever.
3. They Seek the Help They Need
Mental health can have a huge effect on someone’s ability to change.
In fact, some people have been struggling with mental health issues for years that have stood in the way of real change happening.
Those who decide to change will get the help they need
This can mean going to AA meetings, seeing a psychiatrist to discuss possible medication options, or getting individual psychological therapy. In essence, they stop making up excuses for why they don’t get help, and they step up and do whatever it takes to make the change happen.
They take accountability for their own actions and accept the fact that they need to make a change. This accountability leads us to our final point.
4. They Take Full Responsibility for Their Behavior
Those who change know that they do what they do because they choose to. They don’t put the blame for their behavior on their partner or children, etc.
Taking 100% responsibility for their own actions allows them to have 100% control of their behaviors. They set limits with their partners—they don’t blame them.
Change is possible when we choose to be humble enough to see the places we are off and are committed enough to change them. When we refuse to see our own fault lines, blame those around us for how we act or don’t listen to critical feedback that can help us change and improve our lives, we keep ourselves stuck.
The truth about change is that you don’t wait until the world starts crashing down on you before you change. The truth is about listening and taking accountability for your actions.
Listen to the world’s feedback and perhaps you, too, will have your “aha’ moment.
The ‘Change’ Challenge:
Know that change is possible for you and others. Make your decisions based on this knowledge, rather than throwing in the towel without any effort to create the change you’re looking for.
If you find that you are struggling with your personal or professional development, it may be time to consider coaching. Read this blog post for 10 signs that you may be ready
For help growing as a leader and a person, feel free to contact me today. I offer personal and professional development, conflict mediation and resolution, relationship reconstruction, corporate and individual coaching, and more.
Enjoyed this article? Here are more to help keep you on track:
The Business Case for Coaching