For several years, I’ve wondered why many people have a negative association with the word “change”. When employees hear “We’re changing the company’s procedures”, it’s followed by groans and speculation. If your spouse says “I need a change”, your heart drops. In baseball, a pitching change means the pitcher walks off the mound with his head held a little lower. Change, why are you met with such disdain? Why don’t we realize you signify one of the most awesome and powerful forces on earth?

Many of us interpret change as failure, the unknown or just plain annoying. This may be true some of the time. I’m more interested in looking at the positive side of change, because it exists and you just have to look for it. Many feel getting outside our comfort zone is a negative thing. What if getting outside our comfort zone was viewed as a positive action? Now you’re talking about life transformation by embracing change. Since external change is mostly out of our control, let’s talk about internal. It’s a much more exciting topic anyway.

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” — Jim Rohn

Notice Jim didn’t say life gets worse. He views change as a positive tool in life. You want a better life? You NEED change. A seed in the ground can’t grow to a beautiful oak tree if it just sits there for decades. It has to break out of its shell and change. It also doesn’t become an awe-inspiring tree overnight — it takes time.  Notice that same oak tree didn’t consult his tree friends if it was ok if he became gigantic and wonderful. He also didn’t check to see what the other trees were doing first and then followed suit. He sure as heck didn’t wait around for five or six seasons thinking about doing it and then said “I’m not sure I wanna change, sounds kinda tough.” He just did it. (Yes, I just personified a tree)

A seed changing into a tree is natural. Why is change for humans so…unnatural? (see the comfort zone reference above) If you’ve tried tirelessly to change internally, perhaps a few tips for success are in order:

  • Assess how you look at changeDo you catch yourself saying “It’s going to be difficult” or “I have a long, bumpy road ahead of me” or even “I’m not looking forward to this”? Maybe it’s time to flip that perspective to “I’m excited to be on this journey”, “Something fantastic will come from this challenge” or “This will all be worth it in the end” An internal change means personal growth, positive outcomes and brighter days ahead. Who wouldn’t want that?
  • Picture the outcome
    Are you striving to be a smarter entrepreneur? A more organized employee? A more compassionate parent? A more influential leader? Picture it. We are visual creatures. If we can’t see the end result, our belief falters and soon, change looks cruddy and unreachable again. Take a few minutes every day to picture how this positive change will look. Are there 100 more clients in your roster? Do you have more balance and less stress at the workplace? Do you picture less arguments with your children? Are there 500 more people following your vision? Be vivid in your picture. What’s it look like? How do you feel? How are others reacting?
  • Remember your courage
    Many people want you to get ahead, just not ahead of them. When you look at change as a positive, exciting aspect of life, you’ll still be surrounded by those who don’t. You’ve changed your outlook, you have a vivid picture of the victory, but your social circle says “Are you serious?” This is a tough one that I’ve struggled with. When you’re ready to break from the pack and do something “unnatural” in their opinion, there will be friction. It takes courage to overcome this. It may mean associating less with negative people who don’t support your life-changing dream. It could mean while you’re getting outside your comfort zone, someone else watching you strive for excellence jumps out of theirs too. They’re uncomfortable with this new-found “you”. You’re taking control of your life while they’re still chilling out in the ground happy as an ungrown seed. I brought this issue up to my mentor once and he smartly responded, “Don’t ever let someone else’s insecurity to grow stop you from improving yourself”. I was trying to make others comfortable by blending in. What good is that? How do you become a better you by being like everyone else? Let your vivid picture of an awesome life feed your courage.

Make positive change work in your corner. It opens the world to new ideas, better opportunities and a passionate life. Who wouldn’t want that?

“Change your thinking, change your life” — Brian Tracy