Are You An Amateur Or Professional Change Agent?
You can’t change what’s going on around you, until you start changing what’s going on within you.
What is the difference between a professional or an amateur, and what does that have to do with change? Many things, but the first thing that comes to mind is this: An amateur stops with the initial change, while a professional understands that the first change is just the beginning and that many more will follow.
So an amateur might be the caterpillar that builds the chrysalis and thinks he is done. He has changed his life. While the professional takes a much longer viewpoint and realizes that he not only needs to build the chrysalis, but that there will be changes within the chrysalis and that at some point, which those transformations have been fully completed, he will need an exit strategy. Then he will need to emerge into a new world, and that this world will expect more changes and transformations out of him. Just like the butterfly, there is a new life to be fully explored. The chrysalis was just the beginning.
Life is not always fair. Sometimes you get a splinter sliding down a rainbow.
We must live a multidimensional, multifaceted life. The first viewpoint is just that – a first. There are so many angles to view life from. Part of that process of becoming a professional, is realizing that feedback or coaching shouldn’t be viewed as negative. It shouldn’t be viewed as a personal attack, even if it is delivered like one. I remember years ago reading something that really changed my life. If someone is telling you that you did something wrong, and you didn’t do it – you should still listen to what is being said. The very fact that it is being said means that somewhere in the garbage being unloaded on you, is a gold nugget. Instead of getting mad, hurt, angry and yelling at the world for being unfair – look for the gold nugget. We all have weak spots – things that we don’t see or recognize about ourselves. Finding out what those are and working to bring them into our circle of competence is what will make us successful in any endeavor.
You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.
Professionals accept failure as a learning tool. In sports such as baseball or basketball you learn that you can’t hit a homerun or have the basketball shoot through the hoop every single time you try. But you can analyze your process and use the failure as a tool towards growth and mastery of the sport. In the same way, the more consistent we are with our process of change, of transforming our lives through the failures, the better our outcomes will be.
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
Knowledge is power, because we know what to do. But the application of that knowledge is what is really important. It is the correct application of knowledge that brings true wisdom to the fore. It is this – the knowledge of why the rule is there, tells us when it should be followed and when it should be broken. It is the understanding of bringing humanity into our decisions. Of understanding when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, or when the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many – both can be true. It is the focus of both long term and short term results that tell you which way is the right way. It is understanding second level thinking.
Old ways won’t open new doors.
When we first meet someone, we make a judgment about the person. Based on what they look like, how they present themselves, how they talk and move – we make a superficial judgment about who they are. If you were to meet me on the street, because I dress very casually, and love to shop second hand stores and don’t live in an upscale neighborhood you might make a certain kind of judgment about me. If you heard about how poor our family was when I was growing up and that I left school my senior year and didn’t get a college degree you might make another kind of judgment about me. If you heard that I am a Director at one of the top five banks in the world, you might make another kind of judgment about me.
Don’t judge my choices if you don’t understand my reasons.
All of those would be superficial and not take into account a million things that are also true about me. Second level thinking goes beyond the superficial where most of us live our lives. Second level thinking is deep, complex, and convoluted. It is the kind of thinking required to play chess well. It looks at all of the moves that can be made on both sides of the board, and levels that up to all possible plays with each new move. It looks at each piece of knowledge; at where the decision paths converge and at when they then separate. It creates a consensus of all of the data and of all of the probabilities, then it comes to the best decision based on everything that is known and can be guessed.
One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.
It is the realization that the first answer we think of, the first thing we think is the right way to go is rarely so. It is knowing that absolutes are almost never the right answer or the right way to think. That black and white thinking keeps us in first level thinking and keeps us in the large amateur crowd. We need to be curious and consider all of the probabilities and possibilities. We need to understand that true reality is not what we want to see, but what’s true. Get curiouser and curiouser. Take the time to deep dive into exploration; into letting our minds run, and look for the inspiration to do and be different.
We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.
So it all comes down to being curious. To up-level our thinking to the second or even third level. To looking at reality – not from what we want it to be, but what it is. From making big and little changes, even micro changes – but always making new transformations in our lives.