Making a real difference – being our choices, not our habits

We spend a lot of our lives getting good at things. We build experience. We learn to do things well and quickly. We know how to tackle situations, and we know the useful tools and shortcuts. We build habits that work. We’re designed to do that, and it’s all great.

Until our situations or aspirations change, and our habits aren’t enough.

We can cope with change, so long as it’s not too big a stretch. Maybe a new plan; a new budget; someone leaving; someone joining. We can adapt.

But when change is disruptive, we’re stretched beyond the edges of what we know. Operating at our edges is draining. It demands our energy and attention, while our body is in flight or fight mode. It’s like pressing the accelerator and the brake at the same time. It doesn’t help us make progress, and it often feels c**p.

We don’t get to discuss how it feels much, because we’re expected to be ‘businesslike’. Professional. Performing. In control… We don’t like not knowing what we are doing, but not knowing is exactly where disruptive change puts us. So, we pretend it’s OK.

Except, despite the abundance of tech and AI we are, at the time of writing, still human. So we need time to make useful new sense of things. Trying to pretend otherwise just creates tension and friction, which at best slows everything down, and at worst blows holes in your plans and your business.

Major change isn’t just about strategy, structure and budgets. It’s also about how we stay resourceful to make sense of everything, so we can bring the aspiration to life. How we create space, clarity and focus when it’s in short supply. First for ourselves – putting our own oxygen mask on – and then with others, so that together we can make new sense of what’s needed.

Having spent the first 20+ years of my career doing the businesslike stuff, I’ve spent the last 20+ years developing better ways to handle how it feels – the human stuff – and integrating the two.

I’ve taught elements of this to hundreds of leaders now, and I’m still learning. It’s not a quick fix, and I don’t teach theory – I coach you through the realities of what you are handling now, and start you off on the road of doing less by habit, and more by design. A few models and theories help, but I focus on the practice where it shows up. Inside us, not in textbooks. It’s worth it, because with practice you get to choose how you feel, and then what you do. To be your choices, not your habits.

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