Blog Post

CHanging Well 

posts for a fulfilled life

A leader moves on,

and a new one arrives, new possibilities emerge but old dreams are shattered, hope rises but feelings are hurt, and one or many eventually move on. A new year comes around, ‘fresh with no mistakes’, we decide what we want our lives to look like, we make our plans and our new year’s resolutions. We get off to a great start, then life happens and by March things are much the same as they were last October.

‘An act or process through which something becomes different’. That’s what the dictionary defines change as.

Growth is a form of change, and so is bereavement; dropping a habit and making a new friend, these are forms of change too. Wouldn’t it be amazing if, whether planned or unsought, change always ended up for the better? The changes we made to our habits and lifestyle actually stuck and brought the good fruit we hoped for. The difference we brought to our families, teams and work place was experienced as good by most everyone… and lasted. And even the unsought for changes that remind us that we are small in a big and often scary world, actually move us forward rather than derail us entirely. 


I implemented one change recently

that has lasted. As per the definition of change, I am now different as a result of the process I followed. The process ensured that my approach was very different to the one I usually took when trying to change. Two main things stand out as I reflect on that journey, one was the amount of time and energy I needed to spend on preparing to make the change and the second was how long the implementation phase took! 

Too often we go into change with a shed load of good intention and motivation but miniscule amounts of preparation. The chance that the change we want to bring will make things actually different, i.e. will be lasting, is proportional to the amount of preparation we put in before we implement the change. A significant part of preparation is the work to understand where things are at now, and that requires knowing how they got here. In other words, to move into a different future, we need to understand the present reality which means engaging thoroughly with the past. The number of times I have heard people enthusiastically declare ‘forget about the past, this is a new day and God is doing a new thing!’ is staggering! Embarking on a new season with intentional disinterest in what has brought us this far is a recipe for all sorts of disappointment and failure.

Even when addressing my intractable insomnia, what I find interesting about the experience is that although I started out wanting to make a behavioural change, the change that took place was an internal one around the meaning I attributed to events. Of all the practical, behavioural changes I made, the real difference is that now if I wake up in the night, I no longer feel anxious. THAT change took work to understand how my past was shaping my current experience of wakefulness which was in turn leading me to think and behave in ways that kept me awake.

I have friends who are part of an organisation that appointed a new leader who came in with great vision and wonderful plans for the organisation. Sadly the new leader dismissed an understanding of the journey the organisation and its members had taken to the present, as unnecessary in light of the new vision and plans he had. In doing so he failed to prepare the people, structures and systems of the organisation for the ‘new things’, and within 2 years he was gone, leaving behind an organisation full of hurt and angry people.

There are 6 stages we go through on any journey of change. The first stage is the one in which the need for change is not even on the radar. We then move through considering the possibility, weighing up what change would mean and only after that do we begin to prepare ourselves for change. Finally we make the change, but the journey still isn’t over, maintaining the change is a whole other stage, before finally reaching the point we can say that things are now different, they have changed. The kicker is that if we skip or ‘half do’ any of the stages, the change won’t stick, and if other people are involved trust and wellbeing will be negatively impacted.

Whether we simply want to grow in an area of our life, or kick a stubborn habit, whether we want to turn an organisation or team around, or embark on a new season of life; change is all around us and the opportunity is there to do it well and for good. As a coach I am working with people as they seek to move forward, change or bring about change in their contexts. Understanding how change works and how we as human beings journey with change is absolutely vital for anyone wanting to approach any kind of change with intentionality and for lasting, positive results. 

If you would like to learn more about how to bring about change in a healthy, lasting way, I run a regular, 90 minute online workshop that you can join me for. The next one is on the 11th of March. Spaces are limited to give the opportunity to share and ask questions. There is a small nominal fee for £3 so folk are less inclined to book and not show up!

Everyone that I have coached has come to me because they are in the midst of change or wanting to implement change. Coaching is a great form of support through times like this. Do get in touch if you are curious about coaching and whether it would be a good fit for you personally, as a leader or for your team. 



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