“Change leads to insight more than insight leads to change” ~Milton H. Erickson
Sometimes you just have to give things a try.
I’ve spent many hours with clients trying to help them to understand a new or different concept that I’m confident will help their business. I want clients to “understand” the concept. Understanding a new concept helps them to accept it; and can also give them the resilience to persist even if the early results aren’t what they expect. I’m happy to put in that time.
But I’ve been doing some reflecting on when I’ve made the biggest changes in my life; and they mostly weren’t driven by great insights, or sudden new awareness or information. The greatest changes I’ve made in my life and career occurred when I stopped fighting and I gave in. When I realized that (silly as this sounds) that I have a problem, and I don’t know how to solve it. I need help. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to that conclusion more quickly and fought it less frequently.
Let me give you some examples.
When I first started out as a consultant my sales results were terrible. I had a few clients and they were paying me a little money, but I just couldn’t find a way to consistently attract and close new clients. I ended up buying a very expensive training program that taught me not to sell! What they were telling me was so counter-intuitive that I just couldn’t understand it; but nothing else had worked for me, so I gave it a try. It went out and did exactly what they taught me. It wasn’t until I started applying this new strategy—by going out and having some successful appointments—that I felt the difference, and learned the wisdom in their advice.
For years my life was go-Go-GO. I wanted to be successful, so hard work and long-hours were required, right? Right. Until…I started to hit a wall. My body was less able to keep up, my family and friends no longer wanted to try to keep up. It was clear to me, I needed to learn a new way to live! A friend introduced me to a mentor who gave me a whole new set of practices. Practices that invited me to slow down, to find a rhythm between rest and work, to value beauty, calm and reflection. Her teaching blew my mind. None of it made sense to me! But I trusted her (and I was desperate for change) so I gave these practices a try. And I will tell you, engaging these new practices has made a world of difference for me. I don’t feel the need to work all the time, I’m not compelled to compete with everyone around me, and I’m learning to be content with myself as I am.
Most recently, I realized that I really enjoy strength training, but I don’t really know how to do it well. I did some research and found a lot of people quoting Mark Rippetoe. His book “Starting Strength” was the most frequently quoted work on the topic. Then I found “The Barbell Prescription” (an adaptation of Mark’s methods for “older athletes”). He told me to do just 3 exercises and to increase the weight every time I went to the gym. This seemed crazy to me, but following that program has nearly doubled amount of weight I can lift in less than a year!
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
I’m more and more inclined to believe that when I’m running up against roadblocks, when I need to make big changes in my life but I just don’t know how—that I’m not likely to figure it out on my own. If I really want to solve a problem, or gain a skill, I find that the quickest way to make progress (as Michael Hyatt says) is to “Hire the best coaches and instructors that you can afford.” then do what they tell me to do; even if it doesn’t make sense to me.
This idea is one that I fought for years, but I think I’ve about given in. What will it take for you to do something new?