Type B personalities please turn slowly to the next article. Take
your time. These few thoughts will have no relevance to life as
you know it. But to the rest of us, the A types, I want to offer
a few inspired words of empathy and encouragement.
I don't know about you, but I can't stand it any more. How long does change
have to take?
The need for corporate change at your place is unarguable. Anyone with an IQ
above a hockey puck can see the wisdom of your change process. So why has it
taken a year and a half just to get people willing to talk about it, never
mind implement anything?
All you need is a little equipment to make your office semi-functional, but
you'd think you'd asked for a reconstruction of the entire downtown core. Your
sign-off limit barely lets you in on Zeller's $1.49 day, and getting the Board
to authorize a new waste basket is worth six months of committee meetings.
And have you ever tried to get a definitive ruling from the tax department?
We're talking life-long projects here. How does one make the most out of such
First, I want to point out a fundamental struggle. On one side, there are ways
to simplify and expedite change. There is very little necessity for much of
the bureaucracy and red tape we endure. Most of it stems from people's need
for power. On the other hand, in all change there is a process that has to
unfold. Rushing or forcing it is futile, and may make the situation worse.
Given that, there are seven principles that help to make the most of long,
drawn-out and difficult experiences.
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE
For some reason the more stressful the situation the more alone you feel. The
truth is that in very few situations would you be the only one feeling impatient,
frustrated or fed-up. Probably even those who seem to be the source of the
bottleneck are frustrated by the process. Unfortunately, most people won't
admit to these feelings, leaving you playing solitaire with your inner turmoil.
Take the risk of constructively and gently expressing your perception
of the situation and you will be surprised at how many others
will identify with you.
This honesty helps transform the situation from "my problem" to "our
problem" and a much better chance at getting something done about it.
Misery loves company, but so does Hope.
2. THERE IS ALWAYS MOVEMENT
It may be slow, but there is movement in every circumstance. Sooner or later
every situation changes. Unfortunately it's often two days after your funeral.
If the goal is important to you, stay with it. Keep your head up and your eyes
open. When you see a break in the clouds take off. Remember, opportunities
don't stop to knock anymore, they wave as they go by. Grasp the moment.
3. DO NOT FORSAKE MOTHERHOOD
When the system blocks you from realizing your dreams, there
can be a tendency to forsake your personal values. It's our way
of getting revenge - obviously
nice people don't win. "Motherhood" values like honesty, integrity
and love for people don't get you very far. Right? Wrong! Don't sell out. Don't
forsake your principles. They got you this far, don't betray them now. Keep
the faith. To thyself be true.
4. NOTE THAT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND GLORY OF MARTYRDOM IS FLEETING
Our ultimate vengeance against a comatose system is to become a martyr. That'll
show 'em. We slip into self-pity, telling all who will listen how much these
stupid delays are costing us or our company. How it's ruining the lives of
our children if not the entire national economy.
However, most of us can't even be good martyrs. The final degradation
comes with the realization that nobody cares. Oh, they'll stop
and watch you burn
at the stake for awhile but they've got better things to do. You not only end
up toast, you end up alone. It's just not worth it. If you really need to be
a martyr, go ahead-but set a time limit on it: "I'm going to be a martyr
until noon tomorrow." Then get on with the business of changing the world.
5. FOCUS MORE ON THE PRIZE THAN ON THE PRICE
The Olympic slogan is "Go for the Gold!" There is a reason why it
isn't "Go for the seven days a week, 5:30 in the morning practice!" Every
prize has a price tag and the bigger the prize the bigger the price-tag. There's
no getting around that. But if you keep looking at the cost you end up resenting
not only the sacrifices you have to make but the prize itself.
So here you are paying more than your share in time, energy and probably money.
You're paying with your frustration and perseverance. Keep your eyes on the
prize. If it's worth it, if it's your dream, if it's the desire of your heart-look
down just long enough to count the cost and then get your focus back up where
it belongs - on the prize.
6. REMEMBER THE BIG PICTURE
The narrower the focus of your attention and energy the more you begin to disregard
other dimensions of your life. This is particularly true when that focus is
also a source of frustration. When we are consumed by a certain situation,
we need to be careful. The situation may become an end in itself rather than
part of a bigger picture. What is the point, for example, of being consumed
by some business venture designed ultimately to bring a secure lifestyle to
your family if you ignore your family in the process? In short, if fighting
the battle will help you win the war, go for it. If not, you might consider
spending your energy elsewhere.
7. GET READY FOR A CELEBRATION
Your situation started out so positively. But now that you're in it, it's a
different story. You're certainly more informed now and maybe your normally
positive attitude has been eroded by pessimism.
The one thing no one can take from you is the power to choose. One choice is
to extract yourself from your difficult situation rather than fight it to the
end. If this seems like the wisest direction for you, then make it a strong,
clear decision rather than fade indecisively from the scene. Celebrate your
courage and your decision. Once decided, don't keep rehearsing your choice.
Should you choose to stay with it and make the most out of your long, drawn-out
and difficult experiences, be confident of your eventual triumph. Keep Hope
firmly in mind and look forward to the victory party. Because life is full
of difficult experience, it can also be full of celebration.
The following quotation
must be printed at the conclusion of each reprinted article:
"Copyright The Ian Percy Corporation."
Ian Percy is one of North America's most inspirational speakers.
Ian Percy is an international
speaker and consultant and can be reached at www.ianpercy.com