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Change management: it’s still you, only better

Each and every personal development program gives you at least one big thing: a promise of change. It tells you that during this program or challenge, you will change your habits. That’s something pretty big. And, most of the time, overlooked or ignored. People tend to forget that changing is a difficult process. Not because you have to spend your time and energy to make it happen, but because it will shift your identity. It will, literally, make you another person. Are you totally in sync with this new person? Are you identical with the new you? Are you congruent in thoughts and actions?

Perhaps not. It’s trivial to know that because you do that personal development program in order to change something about you, and that something is something that you don’t have yet. And those things in the old new and those things in the new you will collide, sooner or later. At that moment you will have an identity problem. If the change is small, the identity problem wouldn’t be big, not even noticeable, most of the time. It’s like loosing 3-4 kilos, it will show a little difference, but not so big, many people won’t even realize that.

But if the change is big, like a total lifestyle shift, then the identity crisis will be for real. You will notice it and people around you will notice it. It will make you question yourself almost every minute. It will challenge your thoughts and values. It will be something really important. 

After I sold my online business I hit a wall. The wall of inactivity, the trap of freedom, the whole of the free time. After 10 years of entrepreneurship, management and business development, I had to face a new situation. A situation with worries packaged and with inner tension: what the heck should I have to do now? I don’t have my usual routine, I don’t have to work my ass for a living. I solved my money problem, and I suddenly feel like I have to do something with my life. Something that doesn’t involve money at all. Something with my life, not something for money… Have you ever asked how many of us are doing things only for money? How many decisions you make and change only because you have the make some money? 

Imagine that one day, let’s say tomorrow, you don’t have to work for money anymore. You just have enough money for yourself. The real number may vary according to each and every one’s expectations, from a few bucks to a few millions of bucks… But the main point is that you don’t have to do anything in order to make money,. So, what would you do tomorrow? What would you do when you won’t need money anymore?

Your life, your real life is not the things you do to survive. Is the other part, the smaller and ignored one. The tiny and simple things you do when you are totally relaxed, in sync with your true self.

I find myself puzzled by this after I sold my business. I had to compare my situation with a huge truck which, after it reached the last station, will continue to run for a few miles only by the initial momentum. The truck will run because this is what the truck does, is the only thing it knows. It doesn’t really need to run after the final destination was reached, but for some strange reason it still does… The bigger and older the truck, the longer the distance it will run by inertia… If you want to stop it earlier you should hit the brakes, you don’t have any other option. And that will put a lot of stress on the truck…

When you start to change you will have to deal with a lot of resistance from yourself.

Most of the time you will feel fear because you don’t know the new person that you’ve become, and you tend to be attached to the past, because it is comfortable. In my case, I walked to my office – although it wasn’t my office anymore – everyday with a list of tasks in my mind. Of course, all of the tasks were delegated long before the business was completely sold, and the only reason I still walked to the office was fear from change. Fear from the new person that I’ve become.

In the beginning I thought it will take a while to accommodate with this new person, and I felt it like a lot of stress and pressure. I have to admit that I still feel that stress from time to time, same way the truck feels the brakes on its wheels. I manage to get over it, most of the time, but it’s still there. This new person is different from the person I was a month ago. 

And then, all of a sudden, this afternoon, I realized that I was wrong. No, I was still the same person, only better. 

I finished what I intended to finish, I succeeded in my plans, so why worry? Why should I continue the old pattern anymore? Only because now I’m different and that really scares me? Yes, I am different, but I’m better. I still have the same core, I’m just getting better. And it’s time to accept it.

I realized also that this situation happens in almost any personal development program. It occurs even in much simpler and mundane situations like exercising or dieting. You settle to a goal, you start to work on it and monitor the progres… When you start noticing the first steps ahead you tend to back up. Because you are different from the person that started this. You are somebody else, and you don’t know that new guy. 

Well, guess what: you’re the same person, only better. So keep going, and let the fear and shyness to the old you. 

Whatever change you embraced, if it was a conscious one, at the end of it it’s still you, but only better. Even if the initial goal was not reached and the challenge will knock you out, you don’t have to take it as a failure. The simple fact that you were up to try this, makes you better than before. The person that failed is better than the one that wouldn’t try this in the first place.

It’s time to feel better about the fact that you’re getting better.


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This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. […] In a month, my business was sold. Needless to say that I had to keep those exercise for a while even after the business was sold. It was a part of the process which in change management is called “freezing the change”. A very necessary step in order to keep the benefits of the intended change. I even wrote about that on the blog in order to have a deeper understanding about the fact that I was still me, only better. […]

  2. Change, is one of my favorite subjects even if I didn’t write about it yet on my blog.

    I think in times of change you realize your capacity for self discovery and planning.

    I would start doing meaning (as Guy Kavasaky was saying) , start an ONG, get involved in things that would still challenge me and offer to myself and environment to development, meeting new people, facing new challenges (this is on “the other people” side).

    On “me” side, I would prioritize all the small things that makes my life healthy and my mind happy for all the good things I have, or all the opportunities that I have to profit from them.

    All the best !

  3. Hmmm, I just realized that I log my gym activity daily and aim for some specific goals too, but the metrics are still foggy to me. I mean, I can run 3 km every day and want to go for 6 km, but never thought it can be incorporated into a GTD approach.

    Sounds interesting…

  4. Even that I exercise for pleasure, I personally have some targets also at gym which could go well into the GTD: attend a specific level of strength and skills – by following a specific list of steps like in any project.

  5. @Io_da: truth is coming from your mouth, master 😉

    @Mihai: I remember that after I finished my military service I dreamed about alarms almost every night, and it was not a pleasant dream, that I can tell… My GTD contexts are: office, home, shopping, on-the-road, phones and blogging, but I can safely shave office out, as it will blend with the home context, pretty soon, I suppose… The gym and the swimming pool are not really contexts in which I have to get things done, I just enjoy them 😉

  6. For some people the worst nightmare is taking exams and they have it long after they finished school.

    What are yours GTD contexts, others then family and work?
    … traveling, swimming pool, the gym, library/studying

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