Change. It keeps happening.
Yep, change is one of life’s unchangeable inevitabilities.
I came across a video the other day from the very first interview I ever did, in 2010 with John Garrison at a monthly gig I used to run with my friend, Steve Jones at a coffee house in Coventry.
Watching it made me realise that wow, I have come along way in 5 years. My confidence has grown as well as my self-awareness and understanding of what I want to acheive in each conversation I have.
This improvement didn’t happen over night. It didn’t take one course or book. It is something that I learn bit by bit, allowing change to happen slowly, steadily, incrementally, over time. It’s the kind of change that is only evident from a vantage point in the future looking back at the point from which I have come.
And it is driven by showing up doing; ticking another one off, trying something small that I picked up from the last time and learning something small to try next time.
Change is Inevitable
There is a fundamental point here for all of us. Change happens whether we want it to or not. It happens whether it feels like it or not as well.
You can’t watch your finger nails grow in real time, yet they do.
It’s the same with the seasons. We adapt gradually to the way life changes, forgetting that it’s not always been this way.
In the UK the seasons can be really stark in their contrast. When it’s 30 degrees and baking summer it feels impossible to imagine what it will be like a few months down the line come winter. But it comes around. It changes, regardless of my ability to imagine.
Profound and great transformation is affected by the smallest and seemingly insignificant actions. The earth changes position slightly each day.
And the good news is we can play a huge part in directing change in our lives by doing seemingly very small things.
What Would a Time Lapse of the Past Year Look Like?
I love watching time lapse videos. It’s one of the wonderful features about David Attenborough’s Private Life of Plants series. It basically shows, at a comprehensible speed for humans, the change that happens over a long time in nature.
It may be difficult to comprehend change in our own lives because it can happen so incrementally. It is sometimes difficult to notice; a bit like walking up a hill via the slightest of inclines. It may take a very long time but with each stride you are closer to the top and only after a long time when you look back will you realise how far you’ve climbed.
There is no time lapse for us to instantly see our own progress. We can however reflect and consider the different points of our journey back over the past year or so. And it can become evident and encouraging to realise that we are perhaps not as stagnant or stationary as we feel.
Change happens, we adapt, and we move with the current of our lives. And the good news is we can affect change in small and painless ways by shifting the direction we point by ever so small and subtle ways every day.
What small thing can you do right now to contribute to long term change? Perhaps it’s making a commitment to walk around the block each morning, to write 500 words a day, or read for 15 minutes before bed.
Don’t underestimate how much of an impact each of those would make in the long run.
Small things add up over time.
Don’t focus on the end. Embrace and enjoy the process and challenge of doing something small today that will contribute to something major in a month, a year, decade etc.
The next most important thing is far more important than doing it all right now. We look at others and desire to be that good or have their level of success. So we give up, deflated and discouraged; then we probably stop before we even start.
Celebrate the Small Wins
A few weeks ago I sat down to analyse some of the statistics for my blog and podcast. I hadn’t realised but it’s grown by more than 70% this past year (mailing list subscribers, podcast listeners, and blog engagement).
I had no idea that things were growing at that rate until I looked at the stats. In fact it felt to me like things have been at the same sort of level forever.
We don’t realise how far we’ve come because it gets normalised so fast and we forget to reflect and celebrate the small wins.
We often live in a perpetual sense of stress (being here but wanting to be there) or a perpetual sense of unhealthy comfort (never pushing or allowing ourselves to grow).
We need a healthy balance. Setting goals that will push us, but not goals that are driven by a feeling of inadequacy with where we are right now.
Change happens. It already happened and will continue to happen until the end of your life. What relationship do you have with the change that happens in your life?
Even one small step every day is going to be a big push forwards when you look back from a point in the future.
Over to You
When you feel stagnant and stationary ask yourself these questions:
Think back to 12 months ago…
What Did You Hope Would Be True for Now? If it didn’t happen, why not?
What Do You Hope Will Be Happening/Will Have Happened This Time Next Year? What step can you take today to make this outcome possible?
Do you find it hard to acknowledge the progress you make? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave your answer in the comments below.