Dr Peggy Marshall

All In  Change Agility

When I am coaching clients about changes they want to make, I ask them if they are “all in” for the change. It sounds like a weird question yet for us to make changes, we have to be “all in” or we will struggle with our own agility to be successful with change. Recently, I read a book “All In” by Gostick and Elton about what it takes to be all in from an organizational culture perspective yet I found that many of the principles apply to individuals. I am going to borrow a formula that I think exemplifies being all in. The formula is E + E + E which means you have to be engaged, enabled and energized to be all in. Let’s start with engaged.

To be engaged, you have to decide and be clear about what you want, commit to what you want, and follow-through on getting what you want. You would be surprised how many people come to coaching to find the answer to “what do I want?” The world is a veritable candy store and it is our responsibility to decide what we want yet with the unlimited choices available to us, it may difficult to truly decide what we want. There have been several research studies which demonstrate that when people have more than three choices, making a choice becomes overwhelming. Sometimes a deeper dive into the possibilities will surface the answer. Also, creating time for reflection is essential to deciding what we want. When we get caught up in the day-to-day activities of our world, we can get lost in activity and lose focus on our dreams, goals, hearts desires and ultimately our purpose. We can even let go of what feeds our spirit in order to meet these demands of living. We end up feeling disappointed, conflicted, drained of energy and devoid of true satisfaction. My best coaching advice is to take time to reflect and then narrow your choices down to three choices based upon what you are passionate about, what draws your attention and that which allows you to answer the question, “what do I really really want?”.

Once we have made the choice of what we want, we commit to what we want. Commitment means we have to let go of our stories that keep us from committing. Jim Loehr in “The Power of Story”  tells us that our stories can take us into our best selves or derail us from our full potential. Storytelling is part of the human condition and yet the wrong stories can completely disengage us from going after what we want. Asking yourself “does the story I am telling take me towards the change I want or away from change? Being completely honest with this question will provide an answer to the strength of your commitment. Commitment also means avoiding “Plan B”. Shawn Achor in “Before Happiness” , advises us that having a plan B when we are making a commitment is a really bad idea. He believes that it takes energy to make the alternate plan and then it distracts us from staying committed to “Plan A”.

Following-through on what we want, requires us to let go of habits, excuses and distractions. Sometimes we are not even aware of these situations as we often do not take the time to examine how they influence change efforts and they can occur stealthily in our lives. I often ask clients how previous change efforts have been thwarted in the past. Questions like “what took me off course?” and “what triggers made it difficult for me to stay firm with my commitment to change?” can surface what derails and distracts us from success. Making a list of these habits, excuses and distractions can go a long way to ensuring awareness of them and allows for a strategy to be developed to counteract them.

After you are firm on your decision about what you want, you have to ensure that you are enabled to go after what you want. Do you have the skills you need to accomplish what you want? Can you leverage your strengths to achieve your goals? I am a fan of assessments so often I work with my clients around specific assessments that will provide them with information that guides success. If you haven’t taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, the link is available in the book “StrengthsFinder 2.0”. I highly recommend finding out your strengths and then using your strengths to create pathways to success.

How else can you enable the change efforts? Think about any tools or resources you might need to be successful. A great tool for making change is a journal as it allows you to both track and reflect upon the change you are making. People can be resources too. Who can you count on to help you stay accountable to the change as well as provide you with support when your commitment wanes? Finally, don’t forget all of the resources that are available on the internet that could help you with your specific change.

All in on any endeavor requires energy to succeed. We know from a number of sources what drains our energy. First, food can either lift or drain our energy. Processed foods and foods with high glycemic indices will give us short bursts of energy followed by crashes. Maintaining a consistent blood sugar level each day by eating “light and often” a practice offered by the Human Performance Institute will provide the energy needed to succeed. Next, getting enough sleep each day energizes us. Experts are now recommending 7-8 hours of sleep daily. Without giving our bodies an adequate amount of sleep nightly, we risk not getting the needed sleep cycles to replenish our bodies leaving us drained for the following day. Finally, exercise can help us with energy. Most people believe that exercise robs the body of energy. In fact it is quite the opposite depending upon the exercise you choose. Walking, yoga, and other low intensity exercises actually will energize you.

Think about the following questions as you evaluate the changes you are trying to make in your life. How does the E+E+E formula fit into your change agility? How could you make slight changes in your engagement, enablement, and energy that will support any change you are trying to make in your life? What would your life look like if you were able to use the E’s to bring the one change you have been desiring into your life?

To Your Success!