Friday, January 4, 2008

Can't change? Baloney.

2 new books I've discovered that crystallize why we don't do what we know we should, and what to do about it:

  1. Change or Die, by Alan Deutchman, you can read about it at Fast Company

  2. Strategy and the Fat Smoker, by David Maister, you can listen to a bit of his podcast and download a free chapter at
Both of these books are about the fact when given a chance to live versus the certainty of dying, most of us choose to die. The authors both discuss the fact that even when we know we must change, we know how to change, we don't choose to change. The books contain ample research and terrific stories.

We don't change because we aren't willing to get through the discomfort we would suffer today in order to create the desired outcome in the future. In the example, the option to be alive in the future isn't worth the price we pay today and on the way to the desired future. Alan Deutchman gives us three "keys" to change:
  1. Relate - form a new, emotional relationship with a person or community that inspires and sustains hope.
  2. Repeat - the new relationship helps you learn, practice and master new habits and skills that you will need. (establish and maintain new habits)
  3. Reframe - The new relationship helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life.
In the third key, Deutchman also tells us "Ultimately, you look at the world in a way that would have been so foreign to you that it wouldn't have made any sense before you changed". He sums the steps up as "new hope, new skills and new thinking".

Take a look at these two books or the webpages I reference. I'm a change geek, I'm all about expanding people's awareness of possibility, so I find them incredibly exciting. They help me clarify why coaching is more effective than seminars, workshops and self-help books. Once more, dear readers- the rocket science isn't about what to do, it's about doing it.

As you consider where you are today and where you want to be the next time the new year rolls around- do what you need to do to make sure you get there. Start by creating a new relationship; with me, with another coach, with a group, with a colleague or a mentor. Find the person that will give you new hope and help you change and then maintain change.

Truly, STOP, and get serious about creating the future you would love to have. Think big and then think about what you can do to increase your odds of success. Get excited about the possibilities.

I should mention that I'm writing this before I've finished either book, so if I misstated- I apologize. It was just one of those times of compelling "synchronicity" to get an email from Maister about Strategy and the Fat Smoker, and then to pick up the Change or Die book at the bookstore while browsing yesterday. The first week of 2008. A time when I'm energized about my own possibilities and thinking about the behaviors that I need to change. I couldn't wait to tell you about the books!

Best wishes for an exceptional journey this year! Barbara