Search for “self help books” at Amazon.com and, in the blink of an eye, you’re staring down a cool 207,734 results. Anyone doubt that there’s a market for change out there?
But before we leap into the “how” of change (don’t worry, we won’t be reviewing 200k+ books in this post), let’s take a moment to consider the “why.” As in, Why change?
Does that seem like a strange question even to ask?
We live in a culture dedicated to the belief that we can always do more, have more, be more. Each and every day, we’re exposed to thousands of marketing messages making sophisticated appeals to our emotions and our deep-seated desire for status and relationship. Look better! Feel better! Have more fun!
For most of us, the net result is a powerful and pervasive sense that I should change! I should work out. I should read more. I should spend more quality time with the kids. The problem, all too often, is it doesn’t work: The hoped for change doesn’t come. Clients consistently ask us, Why isn’t the change I’ve said I want happening?
What we’ve found is that, if the answer to Why change? is inherited (from an ad campaign, your mother or your boss) and lives as a should, the odds are stacked against you. Should, it turns out, is not an especially powerful motivator. Sometimes, it’s a powerful de-motivator (it certainly is for me and don’t get me started on the impact it has on our teenagers).
What does provide a strong, clear and personally meaningful answer to the Why is, simply put, something that is true to your values and thus worthy of your commitment.
So… before you pick up that hot new self-help title, whether personal, relationship or business focused, do a reality check on your reason for change. Explore the “why?” and, in that questioning, listen for whether the answer is true to your values or if it is inherited, external, a should. If you’re really looking for change, this is the place to start.
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