It’s a word and an entire subject.  It’s frequently talked about, relentlessly pursued but seldom achieved.  It’s what we’ve all been conditioned to expect from other people or from things around us.  We want to lose weight but we look to books and trendy diet plans to do it.  We want to get in shape so we look to purchasing a gym membership or buy exercise equipment off the TV.  We don’t like our jobs but we stay there because enduring the unhappiness is easier than looking for a better one. 

It’s no different in business.  We’re not getting enough sales from our website so we consider paying someone to build us a new one.  Our employees aren’t performing as we wish so we decide to do their jobs ourselves.  It’s an endless list of unfulfilled expectations and the only area we seldom take a real close look at is ourselves. 

When 2012 was ushered in with the usual fan fair, the typical mindset was one of “I hope this year is better than last year”.  Or “Man, I’m glad 2011 is over.  Maybe things will turn around in 2012”.  See how it works?  Our subconscious is so trained to look for change to happen everywhere else, we completely disregard the need for us to change how we think, what we do and how we do it. 

Right about now, most of us have fallen into the patterns we are most comfortable with.  We may not like the outcome or the current circumstances but its familiar territory so we put up with it.  Only when something serious happens or we find ourselves gripped with a new found passion do we launch ourselves in a new direction and in fact, change our course.  

What’s Really Required for Lasting Change? 

Change is not an easy goal.  It requires a fundamental desire for something better, more fulfilling or more productive.  The phase ‘I want to give back’ has become all too common as people make decisions about doing worthwhile activities, even if it cost them to do so or they receive no compensation in the process.  So the first thing to understand about ‘change’ is that you need to have a vision of what you want to change to.  Wanting to rid yourself of bad habits like smoking, poor eating or no exercise are powerful motivators for starting but they are insufficient to keep you on track. 

My Recipe for Meaningful Change 

So, what do you want to change to?  If you own a business, what about your business do you want to change?  Whatever it is, it will have to start with you.  Wholesale change in your daily routine will most likely cause you to abandon your efforts.  Small but significant changes can have huge benefits and move you quicker to your desired outcome.  Here are four things that have worked for me.  

1.  Decide what you want from your business and write it down.  Be specific and leave nothing out.  Make sure you include personal rewards like income levels, time off or a favorite charity you want to support.  Write what’s important to you, not what you think you can achieve based on your current status. 

Now, format your goals and print them out so you can display them and look at them daily.  Your subconscious cannot tell the different between current and future events or between reality and dreaming so getting a daily visual dose of these goals will help you align your actions with what you want to accomplish. 

2.  Look at how you spend your time.  How much of your time is spent on truly meaningful endeavors as opposed to minutiae.  Sure, little things have to be taken care of but without a realization of what’s important, many people will work endlessly on minor things and never get anything important done.   

Time is our most precious resource and one we cannot replace.  If you identify your highest priority tasks and devote time to them, you can actually get more done in less time.  In order to do this, you must recognize how you use your time so you can develop the discipline to focus on different more important tasks. 

3.  Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses.  Are your strengths supporting the real drivers of your business?  Are you focused on things you are weak at instead of finding others who can do them better?  Your business will change into what you want if you match your core strengths with your highest priority tasks. 

The reason so many business owners continue to do the same things over and over again is because it’s what they know.  If your highest priority areas are things you don’t know or are weak at, getting help is far better for achievement than trying to master them yourself. 

4.  Invite feedback from others you trust.  Ask people who know you or that have expertise in the areas you want to change to give you critical feedback.  If they are really there to help you, they will give it to you straight.  Take this opportunity to listen.  The value of doing this can be life changing.   

A few years ago, I asked 10 people I knew to look at a project I was working on and give me their candid opinions.  The feedback from 7 of them was brutal but eye opening.  One of them wrote me an 8 page letter which blew me away.  I have never forgotten that experience or the lessons it taught me about what can be learned from people outside my business. 

The Real Secret to Sustainable Change 

In the end, it’s all about changing the way you play your game.  When sports professionals have poor seasons, they usually make changes including their playing strategy.  When movie actors start to decline in popularity they usually change their direction as a way to build a new image with the hopes of rising again in the future. 

Ultimately, your desire for real change boils down to your commitment to do the things that produce different, better outcomes.  Most people will try and ‘tough it out’ by themselves with the all too familiar return to the ‘old ways’.  A few people will get serious and get help.  These are the folks you read about who made miraculous achievements and realized their dreams. 

Want to change your game?  Don’t just treat it as a word or a topic of conversation.  Treat it as the key to your future and get serious about achieving what you really want! 


About the Author:

Steve Smith works with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help clarify their direction and improve their decision making abilities so they can take action and move forward with confidence.  If you have a question about an issue or important decision in your business and you’d like Steve’s council, go to for answers that you can work with.

Originally posted 2015-08-22 17:39:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter