Why is Change So Difficult?

bigstock-Confusion-And-Business-Career-44655397Everyone loves a change of scenery.  What makes personal change so hard?  Part of the reason we love a change of scenery is that it’s the scenery changing – not US.  Many of us believe we love change; usually that means we love to stand in one place and watch change happen around us, especially if it’s change in the direction we want.

Uncontrollable change – change that’s imposed, change started or driven by others, or by events – is very uncomfortable for many of us.  Even when that change is beneficial to us, even when we actually want that change. The hardest change is changing yourself, particularly if what you’re doing is working pretty well  to begin with.

While most successful people are very open to change (we’re always looking for a way to do something a little better, for a new “edge”), it can be risky to tamper with a formula that we’ve relied on and which has gotten us where we are – what if we change the wrong thing and ruin it all?  We know that the million things we do, as a package, work together to make us successful; we may not always know which of those million things are really responsible for our success. We become a little superstious, like the baseball player who wears the same pair of underwear every game because the first time he wore them he got a home run.  That makes it hard to try new things, even when we know in our heart of hearts that we can be better than we are now.  In the worst cases, we get a little paralysed.

We know that we have to change, we might even WANT to change; it’s just hard to identify the right change and make it happen, and to take the risk of changing something that’s working without knowing for sure whether the results will be good or disastrous.

Where the right change begins

Figuring out how and what to change begins with recognizing those things that most contribute to our success; the relatively few things among the millions we do that actually make us successful.  Those things are almost always the result of using our talents.

Paradoxically, while we’re very good at spotting the talents of others, we are usually blind to our own  Identifying them, let alone valuing and developing them, is a really difficult task.  Among other reasons, we’ve always had them; we didn’t have to work to get them.  Using them is second nature to us – valuing them is like valuing the ability to breathe. In fact, the only thing noticeable to us about our talents is how often other people don’t use them. That’s because they don’t have them.

If you’re wondering what your innate talents are, ask yourself: what do you do easily, almost naturally (like breathing) that people respond to and act as if you’ve just pulled off a miraculous feat? Other people’s talents look like magic to those who don’t hold the same talents. By recognizing your own talents and the talents of others you can begin to strategize change. Are you in the best position to capitalize on your talents? Are the team members that you’re managing given the opportunity to use their innate talents to succeed? Be wary of changes that make sense on paper but go against the grain of everyone’s talents. The change you want to create  will allow your best people to blossom, not crush them.

Remember, keep an eye out for indications of your talents and let your talents steer change.  The better you know your talents, the better you can use them, nurture them, develop them – and succeed.