OK, I live with teenagers. And teenagers are amazing, wonderful, vexing creatures. They are truly experimenters – trying on this idea, that sweater, this hairstyle, that belief system.
I love them.
Because they remind me to think outside the box and change things up, too.
Let me ask you this: Why is it, just because we started a new calendar year, that people do all sorts of planning, resolutions and intention-setting? (“Calendars are arbitrary and made up by some ancient Romans anyway, Mom,” says the Dude, true to teen form.)
Well, my coach brain says: “Doesn’t really matter. Today’s just as good as any other day.”
And I do love me a good plan. So, I jumped right on in, regardless of who made the calendar. Just before the end of 2009, I released a Personal Planning Tool and about a thousand people have downloaded it. You can, too, by clicking on the highlighted text.
What I tried to do with the tool is create a way to make a Plan That Works.
But let’s take a minute to talk about change. Because I can make all the plans I want, and if I don’t execute them… they ain’t nothing but paper.
And if I don’t execute them, it’s likely because I’m afraid of change.
Laurie would like to leave her job. She’s been there five years, there’s no room for growth, her co-workers are not “her people” and she doesn’t fit in. It’s time to go. But she can’t. Oh, she routinely tries. She puts together a resume, sends out one or two, has a coffee with a prospect and gets cold feet and stops looking.
Because she’s scared. Because she tells herself that maybe things aren’t really that bad where she is, that maybe she’s unhireable, maybe she needs that Master’s degree, maybe all jobs are disgusting, time-sucking, mind-numbing black holes – so in that case why not stay in the time-sucking, mind-numbing black hole that she knows?
Here’s the real thing holding Linda back – she sees no real, positive outcome to making a change.
Not one positive thing.
And until she can see one, she’s not going to execute her plan.
Same goes for Kristen, who wants to lose 40 pounds. Ask her to envision an outcome to that kind of weight loss, and if she’s honest with you (and herself) she’d say: “People would expect more from me, because they would see that I can make things happen. Oh, wow, I might have to dress better. I might look like a hoochie-mama. I might find someone other than my husband attractive, I might get divorced, I might have to move. What about my kids? I dunno, losing weight would mean I have to change too much.”
Who would lose weight with that kind of dismal future in mind?
When you complete your Personal Planning Tool, there might be things you’ll need to change. And you might feel some teensy (or humongous) resistance. That’s the moment to say to yourself, “What will happen if I really do this?” Listen to the negative outcomes and learn everything you can about your fears. But don’t let fear stop you, baby. Immediately start focusing on one positive outcome. Just one.
“If I find a new job, I can have more friends.”
“If I lose 40 pounds, I can start skiing again.”
Just one positive thing. It’ll do the trick.
So, Happy New (Fill In The Blank)! How are you going to fill your blank?