Over the years I have observed that while some people are very resistant to change other people are addicted to it. They regularly end and start relationships, buy and sell vehicles, move, change jobs, and chase one business idea after another.
Change can be refreshing, logical, and a productive exercise. Yet this constant search for new opportunities can also be driven more by discontent with one’s current situation than a calculated fact-based decision to achieve better results.
Changing your external situation to solve an internal problem is a strategy that is doomed to fail which ironically leads to more change and the cycle repeats itself. If you find yourself in this cycle in your career, business, or even your life what is the answer?
Every time you make a major change in your life there is a cost of time, energy, and other resources. People get addicted to the excitement of a new challenge and pour themselves into it only to find out that after some time the new always becomes the old. Then they chase after the next new challenge all in the name of pursuing their dreams.
The result can be that a person becomes engaged in a tremendous amount of activity, expending large amounts of energy but sees less and less tangible results as time goes on due to dwindling resources. This pattern of excitement when things are new followed by discontent when things become routine is inevitably blamed on external factors when invariably are motivated by an internal problem.
What if the solution was changing your viewpoint or attitude (internal) instead of changing your external situation?
Marcus Aurelius said, “what stands in the way becomes the way.”
Marcus Aurelius is quoted as saying “what stands in the way becomes the way” and I think that this is true in every case. If your challenge is that you are changing your external situation to solve internal problems and that is standing in the way of achieving results in your career, business or life than the solution is to solve the internal problem (what stands in the way) and by doing this you will see better results (the problem becomes the way).
To illustrate I would like to tell you about Tom, the name has been changed, but Tom’s story is true. Tom is an average sales person in the field, he makes quota regularly enough that he is considered by his boss to be an asset. Tom is very good at being a host. He can entertain and make customers feel very important. Over the years this has made Tom successful.
Where Tom fails is really in his attitude. Tom is very negative and often he is critical about his job, customers, colleagues, and his company. Tom’s negative attitude has started to become enough of a problem that Tom’s boss is starting to wonder if maybe it’s time to make a change. Tom is unhappy as well and has been wondering the same thing.
Tom could get a new job. His reputation is good enough in his industry. Yet think about the enormous amount of energy, time, and resources that both Tom and his current employer would have to expend to make that change. In the end wouldn’t it be better for Tom to exert a little effort to change his attitude, an internal issue within his control, then to make an external change and spend so much energy, time, and resources?
Making an Internal Change
You probably agree that it would be much easier to make internal changes but how do you successfully go about it?
Step 1 – Take complete responsibility for everything in your career, business, and life.
Step 2 – Spend some time really paying attention to what is happening on a regular basis and how YOU are reacting.
Step 3 – Ask yourself if your reactions are driven by your internal feelings or truly because of something external.
Step 4 – Work on everything internal first.
Step 5 – As you make progress dealing with your internal feelings note the changes that are occurring in the external situations.
After doing this self-examination and implementing changes you will undoubtedly see positive changes and this will impact your career, business, and life. What happens when after careful consideration you decide that making an internal change is not enough and you must make an external change?
Making an External Change
All too often people make external changes in their career, business, and life without taking the time to do the proper amount of planning. The following 6 steps will help you to avoid making that mistake.
Step 1 – Research your options.
Step 2 – Instead of focusing on things that are not going right try to find one thing you can’t live without doing and focus on the positive.
Step 3 – Interview people who are doing it already to get a complete understanding of what is involved.
Step 4 – Establish written goals and a timeline to help you keep on track.
Step 5 – Set a DO NOT QUIT UNTIL time frame to resist the urge to make subsequent changes if things don’t turn out as great as you anticipated.
Step 6 – Take consistent action and keep your commitments to yourself.
In business and in life the people who are always looking for new opportunities without ever completing anything are doomed to be stuck in a perpetual cycle of expending large amounts of energy, time, and resources without ever achieving the results they dream about. You can break the cycle by focusing on your internal issues first and being strategic about making external changes.
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