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Take the Change Challenge

Things do change, if we let them.

~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables~

Many years ago, I was sitting in front of the television watching Anne of Green Gables - a favorite from my childhood.

As I recall it now, I remember Anne getting ready to start a new adventure that would bring her away from everything and everyone she knew. Her loved ones, naturally wanted her to stay. Liking the consistency and predictability of the daily life they had lived together her sister offered, "Things don't have to change."

Anne, excited for the new adventures ahead, gently looked at her sister and without hesitation replied, "Things do change, if we let them."

(Forgive me for any liberties taken with the sequence. I crave finding it again!)

I'll never forget the idea of this - I got goosebumps when I heard it and I remembered it today as I was talking to a client.

And - even though I help others navigate change all the time and I crave personal and professional transformation, I find myself getting stuck now and again. Even though I may want a change, I find myself getting caught in the comfort of doing the same things over and over again and telling the same old stories - often drawing the same conclusions (that something's not possible or that something can't work).

We often want change in our lives and stand in the way of it without even realizing it.

Our stories are filled with, "I'd like this to happen, but...."

So much is possible if we take the "but" out of it.

To allow things to change, we must choose to tell a new story. (It starts there.)

If you hear yourself talking about a dream or a new idea and the word "but" creeps in, rewind and try again.

Here's a substitution phrase, "In the past I wasn't sure about (fill in the blank), but now I'm going to try...."

This is a great activity for a team brainstorming session where the word "but" often creeps into the conversation. It sounds something like, "That's a creative idea BUT that'll never work" or "I hear what you're saying BUT we've tried that before."

In their book The Art of Possibility, conductor Benjamin Zander and his wife and Rosamund Stone Zander label this universal tendency as the "downward spiral." Offering the alternative "conversation of possibility," they suggest that we whisper Martin Luther King's immortal words "I have a dream" as a preface to every next remark. Try it - it's an awesome possibility creator. And if you need help, I facilitate conversations of possibility every day - contact me to arrange 1:1 coaching or team retreat - I'd love to help you create momentum for positive change in your life and/or organization.

I have learned that....

If we truly want change, we've got to try taking steps we haven't taken before. It can be as simple as making a phone call or researching a new idea.

If we truly want something to change, we must open the door and allow new thoughts to enter. Change happens when we do.

Step in a new direction - one step at a time - one day at a time.

Where would you like to invite a positive change?

Pick one area. Take a step in that new direction this week - and one next week - before long you will be three steps ahead.

You've got this - let's keep stepping together.

© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact for information on Organization Development, Communication Analysis & Coaching, SWOT & Climate Surveys and/or Leadership/Life Balance Coaching.

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