Category Archives: 40 Days Change

What if my spouse is not happy about my change?

(This question was posed to me after finding out his attempts to go to bed earlier was being met with resistance from his wife.) If your spouse is not happy about your change attempt you get a first-hand look at why most corporate change attempts fail – no buy-in. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. If change is happening around you whether you like it or not there is going to be resistance. Try these five tactics. Curiosity and empathy If you were your partner, why would you prefer things to stay just the way you are? Why might this change be threatening or at least annoying? Ask. Don’t ask if you don’t really want to know the answer. That’s just a leading tactic and people sniff that out. Real questions trigger the frontal cortex – the smart part of our brain that looks for connection. Faux questions and a lack of curiosity trigger the amygdala – the dividing part of the brain. ‘Us vs. them’ becomes ‘me vs. you’. You also might get curious about what change they might want to make in their own lives so you can support each other. Let yourself be vulnerable Vulnerability is the cornerstone of trust, something essential for a team, and a marriage is a team of two. This means not having such heavily fortified positions facing the enemy also known as the love of your life. Vulnerability might look like: “I am not happy about this part of me and here’s why I want to change it” “This is important to me. I realize I can’t do this alone – I can’t stick with this change without you.” Get clear about why you want to change and how it could help the relationship Your partner’s resistance might force you to get clearer about why you want to change, not just for you but for both of you – and your kids too. Change works best powered by purpose – making a change for something larger than just you alone. You’ll want to be able to answer the other person’s unspoken, “what’s in it for me?” Disconnect to reconnect There is a time in the evening we can safely call, “no good will come from an argument now” time. You’re both worn-out. When we’re tired the amgydala in the brain is ready to call anything a threat. If it’s heading downhill fast, pause. Stop. Then… Schedule your time to talk When is the best possible time in the day for you both to connect? Every couple has a block of time that’s the sweet spot. Midnight after a long hard day at work is usually not it. Tomorrow in your sweet spot time is a better time to have this conversation. It’s worth it to wait. (In case you’re keeping score, he told me later that he tried #2 and #3 and it worked.)

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Charge or retreat?

“Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” – Latin proverb which means ‘Fortune Favors the Bold’ “Sit quietly, you happy, lucky idiot.” – Nanao Sakaki Your 40 days change initiative is either a charge or a retreat. A charge is action-focused, creating something new, building something, saying yes to something that’s scary. It’s a leap of faith into the unknown. The charge is action. A retreat is just that – a withdrawing from the outer circles of your life and the world’s sad pants-tugs. You stop doing something. You create space where there was none. You sit quietly, assess, reassess and plot a new course. Working on my posture for 40 days calls for a charge. It needs action to succeed. There are three legs to the stool of support for change – action, thinking and feeling. In changing my posture thinking and feeling are used, but secondary to action. Looking at what I’ve harvested in my first 50 years on earth and determining what I want to grow for the next 50 requires a retreat. It requires the other two legs of the stool – thinking and feeling primarily. Actions I take support the primary work of thinking and feeling. Support is essential for a successful change initiative. Determining whether the desired change will be most helped by a charge or a retreat helps us target the support needed.

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If I ignore it, it will go away

Weird lumps don’t go away when ignored. They grow. Opossums playing dead don’t deter an approaching automobile. Leaders hoping their people and culture problems will solve themselves? What do you think? When I start coaching a leader I usually hear some variation of the “if I ignore it, it will go away” hope/failed tactic. Also, “I’m too busy/tired/worn down to do anything but give up.” Often managers will add, “It’s just easier to do it myself.” That means your people have trained you well. You’re now doing their work for them. What’s an important challenge you’re ignoring? Has it gone away yet?

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I tried once and nothing changed

“I tried to play the guitar once.” “I tried to drive a car once.” “I tried to use a smart phone once.” “And when I was really young I tried to walk once. I also tried to use a fork once, to use the toilet once, to say my first word, etc.” When I begin coaching a leader I usually hear some variation of the above words about the people they’re leading. “I tried to change their behavior once, nothing changed. I tried to change the culture once, nothing changed.” Yep. I bet so. That’s not how change works. Or more specifically, that’s not how change succeeds. It’s important to initiate change. But the next step is more important. How do you persist after initial failure? If you can walk upright, use a fork and use words to speak you’ve got what it takes to keep trying.

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What if my spouse is not happy about my change?

  If your spouse is not happy about your change attempt you get a first-hand look at why most corporate change attempts fail – no buy-in. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. If change is happening around you whether you like it or not there is going to be resistance. Try these five tactics. Curiosity and empathy If you were your partner, why would you prefer things to stay just the way you are? Why might this change be threatening or at least annoying? Ask. Don’t ask if you don’t really want to know the answer. That’s just a leading tactic and people sniff that out. Real questions trigger the frontal cortex – the smart part of our brain that looks for connection. Faux questions and a lack of curiosity trigger the amygdala – the dividing part of the brain. ‘Us vs. them’ becomes ‘me vs. you’. You also might get curious about what change they might want to make in their own lives so you can support each other. Let yourself be vulnerable Vulnerability is the cornerstone of trust, something essential for a team, and a marriage is a team of two. This means not having such heavily fortified positions facing the enemy also known as the love of your life. Vulnerability might look like: “I am not happy about this part of me and here’s why I want to change it” “This is important to me. I realize I can’t do this alone – I can’t stick with this change without you.” Get clear about why you want to change and how it could help the relationship Your partner’s resistance might force you to get clearer about why you want to change, not just for you but for both of you – and your kids too. Change works best powered by purpose – making a change for something larger than just you alone. You’ll want to be able to answer the other person’s unspoken, “what’s in it for me?” Disconnect to reconnect There is a time in the evening we can safely call, “no good will come from an argument now” time. You’re both worn-out. When we’re tired the amgydala in the brain is ready to call anything a threat. If it’s heading downhill fast, pause. Stop. Then… Schedule your time to talk When is the best possible time in the day for you both to connect? Every couple has a block of time that’s the sweet spot. Midnight after a long hard day at work is usually not it. Tomorrow in your sweet spot time is a better time to have this conversation. It’s worth it to wait.

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40 days of coming home

“So, what have you gotten so far?” Mike asked me halfway into this year’s 40 Days to Change For Good. (How’s yours going? Tell me about it.) I’ve been reviewing my first fifty years alive and pondering what is most important for me to aim myself for my (hopeful) last fifty. The first intuitive words that came to me are “coming home.” I’ve notice core threads of what I love running through my childhood into this moment. And I’ve noticed how I’ve strayed from those ‘golden threads’, how I’ve put away parts of me, covered them up with the dust of everyday life. And how I’ve been pulled from my passion core by cul-de-sacs that seemed like highways at the time or listened to fear’s bad advice. This noticing is helping me make bolder, wiser choices for the second half, helping me to ‘come home’ to who I am meant to be. What is there to lose? It’s these pauses that make us smarter and wiser. This is what happens for teams in the locker room at halftime. It’s a chance to see a bigger picture, notice what is true to our identity – ‘who we are’, and reorient back to that. In short, the locker room pause is the best chance for us to come home. Let’s be honest about Decembers. No work is really expected of anyone the last two weeks. There’s a two-week last push and then the foot comes off the gas pedal until after New Years. You have a two-week window to get the locker room wisdom of the pause. Review this year. What choices made are aligned with your core passion? And what pulled you away from home? What reorienting is needed to follow William Blake’s ‘golden thread’ to who you are meant to be, for you to come home for the holidays, and come home for 2019? I give you the end of a golden string; Only wind it into a ball, It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate, Built in Jerusalem’s wall -William Blake PS: the photos are my wood shed – this year’s and last – one way I come home…and keep that home warm.

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What’s better than producing?

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi   I wrote recently that if you want to produce, stop consuming as much – information, news, Facebook, stuff, drama. Even better than producing? Simply…being. Just simple enjoyment of this moment. Awake. Alive. At ease. Engaged in NOW. Here’s our order of priority: Fully alive Producing Consuming Where are you giving your time and your attention? Where do you want to instead? What needs to change?   “If you have time to chatter, Read books.   If you have time to read, Walk into mountain, desert and ocean.   If you have time to walk, Sing songs and dance.   If you have time to dance, Sit quietly, you happy, lucky idiot.” – Nanao Sakaki

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The consumption fast

If you want to succeed at 40 days to change for good, you’re going to need time, energy and focus. That doesn’t just show up. Good intentions don’t automatically produce additional time and energy in a crowded life. Something has to give. Try a consumption fast. We each have our consumption habits – news, Facebook, Netflix, podcasts, TV shows, and on and on. There are endless possibilities to consume. Our modern culture would love us to keep our head down, keep on ‘eating’. Like the caterpillar about to go in the cocoon, perhaps we’ve eaten enough now. Every caterpillar has to stop eating in order to take the next step towards flight.

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If you want to produce more…

Consume less. Imagine that your production and your consumption add up to 100%. If 70% of your available energy is devoted to consumption that means you have 30% maximum left. That’s all that’s possible to give to producing what you’re meant to produce in the world. Flip those numbers around and you’ve got a lot more space to contribute what you’re put here on earth to contribute. If you consume more, you are less able to produce. You have less time, less energy, and less internal guidance. If you consume less, you are more able to produce. You have more time, more energy, and more internal guidance. What do you need to say NO to in order to say YES to what matters? Try any of the following: Turn it off. Shut it down. Lift your head. It’s a simple equation. Not easy, but simple.

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A small, clear creek

“Constant, slow movement teaches us to keep working like a small creek that stays clear, that doesn’t stagnate, but finds a way through numerous details, deliberately.” -Rumi (from the poem Deliberation)   Having trouble keeping going? Are your work and family commitments overwhelming? Try constant, slow movement. Movement always helps. Even more helpful is the speed of the movement. Yet this speed of movement isn’t actually the process…it’s the teacher, read that first line again. It teaches us to keep working. And not just continuing to work any old stressed-out, exhausted-will way. Work like a small creek, a clear creek. Not a raging, muddy river. Not a dam-burst torrent. Not a dried up puddle. A small, clear creek. Whether you’ve been lucky enough to spend quality time next to a creek like this recently or not, we all know intuitively what that looks like. “I’ll take that right about now!” we say longingly. Anything is better than the current approach to the fire-hose of work. Constant, slow movement – keep going and go slower – is our calm, deliberate path through all those details tugging at us today.

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