We join others – organizations, friend groups, and like-minded communities – for a shared vision. We want to make a difference in the world – or at least in ourselves. Why don’t our best intentions consistently result in the change we hope for?
There’s a huge barrier to positive transformation – one that continually makes change hard. This looming barricade to our success is comprised of our own beliefs and assumptions.
We want to influence positive change, but our beliefs and assumptions continually pull us back. And unless we make a change to them, we won’t stop being tugged away from that vision of a better future. And here’s the honest truth about this: we don’t ever get so close to our vision that beliefs and assumptions don’t pull us back. It is a constant state of renewing.
Overcome resistance to change
The geek in me is going to drop in a bit of the research here. Peter Senge, founder of the Society for Organizational Learning, puts it this way:
D x V x F > R
It reads like this: Dissatisfaction (D) multiplied by Vision (V) multiplied further by First Steps (F) must be greater than our Resistance (R).
When our dissatisfaction with our current circumstances, the pain of staying the same, is combined with our vision and we have clearly defined first steps, we can overcome resistance to change. But – and this is a BIG BUT – leave off first steps, and what we get is cynicism. That’s why our resolutions fail. And our hopes to become fit, achieve more, parent better, improve our prayer life, and change the world are not realized.
We must be transformed
When our current dissatisfaction meets a vision, a big hope, a big dream, a big hairy audacious goal, when we encounter this amazing vision to make positive change in the world and influence the people around us, but when we don’t take the first steps, we meet cynicism every time. It’s true in Scripture: “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” (Romans 12:2) It’s true empirically – each of us has personal case studies. It’s true in the research as well. This is how it actually works for real people. For us to be agents of transformation, we must be transformed. And we must maintain a continually transforming state.
Every, every, hear me, every effective leader with longevity on my senior teams, in my own organization, has continued renewing his or her mind. Talk to any one of them, and you will hear about the courses they’ve taken, the studies they’ve done, the groups they’ve joined, the articles they’ve read, the podcasts they’re listening to – the ways in which they are continually renewing their minds. They are then converting this renewal – their own transformation – into resources to renew minds and transform a larger audience. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s not a single course. It’s not a one-time workshop. If we don’t practice renewal regularly, we will keep being pulled back to the beliefs and assumptions that hold us back and help us to resist change.
What big hopes, goals, vision do you have?
What beliefs and assumptions are pulling you back?
How can you renew your mind and take a first step?
Dr. Teresa Moon, founding President and CEO of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, is an internationally-recognized seminar speaker, education consultant, author, and leadership coach. Each year, she travels globally equipping students, teachers, and parents to become “cultural communicators,” transforming ordinary students into extraordinary communicators and authentic leaders.