Are you at a crossroad in life where you want – or need – to change something about yourself? A change in your job, a change where you live, or a change in the way you arethinking or being? Is this change imposed on you or have you decided to make the change? Does this change come as a welcome opportunity or does it seem daunting? Where to begin, how do I even start, what things should I do, can I do this? The following are my ideas on how to embrace change and use your experience for positive growth:
1) Change in “bite size” pieces – The change you choose to make (or respond to, if it was imposed on you) may seem like a huge challenge. So huge that you can become overwhelmed and stagnate (either not change at all, or start – only to stall). Try breaking down what lies in front of you into bite-size pieces. Make each part do-able. Now, work yourself backwards. Take the ultimate goal of the entire task (change) and ask yourself, where do I want to be when this change is complete and establish the steps needed to get there by logically working yourself backwards. In order to do “X”, I need to accomplish “W”, in order to do “W”, I need to do “V”. Create a logical sequence of realistic bite size accomplishments to reach your ultimate goal and the tasks will not overwhelm you.
2) Write it down – I find it very useful to write down the step-by-step path that I’ve just created for myself. For example, when my business (Dig It Apparel Inc.)was created, a comprehensive list of “bite size” tasks formed the skeleton of the business plan. I refered to this list of small, acheivable goals constantly. It was my road-map, and helped me enormously if (and when!) I became sidetracked by other responsibilities.
3) Adapt as you go along: Keep the ultimate goal in mind – With each step, set a timeline to achieve the small task. You may find that as your are immersed in a particular step, you discover there are other steps that need to be accomplished that you hadn’t identified previously. No problem! Add them to your game plan, adapt your timeline, change as you need to and keep your bite-size steps inline with your ultimate goal in mind.
4) Celebrate along the way – Our lives are journey and we need to remember to celebrate the small successes in life. As you achieve the bite-size task and move along to the next, enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and small success that you have just had. For example, treating yourself to a special coffee drink you normally wouldn’t splurge on, or enjoying an extra hour of sunshine on a sunny day and say “well done”. It doesn’t have to be big and you don’t have to announce it to the world, but congratulate your accomplishment to yourself on your path to success.
5) Am I done? Once you’ve achieved what you set out to do, do you stop adapting? My belief is NO. Never stop learning, advancing, changing and adapting to reach the new goals. Without a doubt, on your journey to reach these goals you will uncover and find new paths and adventures that can lead to further growth and possibilities. What would you like to do next? What goals do you now have and how will you reach them? Just follow the steps above and repeat.
6) Hindsight – When time has passed and you’ve attained some goals, take a look behind you and realise how far you’ve come! Reflect on what went well, and what you might adjust heading forward. In reflection, you may be incredibly surprised at how much you’ve learned and grown without actually realizing it while you lived through it!
I recently spoke to a class at a local college, attended by professionals who had recently come to Canada. The goal of these students was to learn Canadian business etiquette and practices, and adapt their knowledge to the Canadian business environment. I congratulated them on this terrific undertaking and their courage to tackle such an important change in their lives. I spoke about how the above strategy worked for me, and answered their questions about how it could also work for them. Just by taking this class,these students achieved one small bite size task on their path to personal success. This strategy gave them a tangible roadmap, and I saw a look of relief on their faces as I spoke.
I welcome you to share your success stories and how you reached your personal goals.