The last of the human freedoms [is] to chose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances – Viktor Frankl
People are who they are. Behaviour is consistent over time. Somebody who’s an ass-hole now will probably be an ass-hole ten years from now. But it is possible to change.
Not easy. Just possible. Otherwise nobody would ever be able to quit smoking or lose weight. Change happens one cigarette or one spoonful or one breathe at a time. Repeated. Consistent. Over time.
Behaviour gets changed in the small choices we make in every moment. Learning to pause, or going to a place we can pause, before we act.
The choice to be self-aware, to choose what to change, and how to change it, and to remind ourselves day-by-day, hour-by-hour, or minute-by-minute if necessary, to hold true to what I said we want for ourselves and those I love. To put down the lighter, or the fork, or to wait a breath before responding.
To recognize the moment and sneak up on it over and over again until I’ve rewired my brain. To recognize I cannot change others, only myself or my context. To accept the lessons that failure tries to teach me, and persistently and faithfully reach for the hope of a better future. In the moment. Now.
The same is true when we are trying to create change in a team or organization. Change happens in the small moments, when we are paying attention, and being brave – recognizing the behaviour that needs to move and speaking to it in the moment.
The best sports coaches in the world know that timely, accurate feedback is what allow their athletes to improve. That means speaking to the observable, actionable behaviour as it is happening. Yearly performance management is great for accessing the talent of an organization for the organization, but it does nothing to improve performance.
The big changes happen in the small moments, repeated over and over again.
What we think, we become. ~ Gautama Buddha
Part of my Ten Things I Know To Be True series.