Leadership Growth: Improving Yourself without Change
How many times have we been in situations where we say to ourselves, “I wish I had…”, and that’s all we do about it. Wishes are for falling stars. Wishes do not change the world. Dreams… now they can change the world, but only if we remember what Zig said:
Dreams don’t work unless you do. —Zig Ziglar
Ponder this question for a moment: What can we improve without changing?
I enjoy challenging people with this question. It’s surprising the different responses that I get. Sometimes there is a long moment of silence and, I presume, thinking … there must be something. Others respond relatively quickly with “Nothing.” The correct answer is there is absolutely nothing that can get better without change. That tells me that if a person is adamantly opposed to change, then keeping life as status quo as possible is, apparently, that person’s goal. I also know individuals who push themselves to do something different every month, once per quarter, or at minimum, once per year, something that is significantly different than they have done before. The key is to constantly be nudging one’s self outside of one’s comfort zone.
I recall a story that “Betty” (names have been changed to protect the innocent) told of how her late husband, loved to go for drives. One Saturday afternoon, he said, “Let’s get in the car and go for a drive.” Four-plus hours and over 260 miles away from home, they stopped in Valentine, Nebraska—no extra clothes, no toiletries, nothing. They laughed about the adventure and time spent together in the car, went out to dinner, stayed the night, and drove back home the next day. She told this story as a fond memory of the experience because that is NOT their typical experience. It was a great adventure! For them, it was a bit of living life on the edge. It makes me think, what’s the craziest thing I ever did? One such adventure for Kris and me shortly after we were married found us at a store in Crete, Nebraska. We were in the market for a VCR (remember those?), but we came home with a great component stereo system—some of the boxes fit in the trunk of our convertible, and the rest, including huge speakers, were put in the backseat. The speakers were so big, we had to have the top down! And the VCR? Nope! They didn’t have what we wanted! We still laugh about the ride home and no VCR. What’s your story? (I dare you to share it in the comments.)
What kinds of adventures do each of us do to make our world exciting? A muffin and coffee treat? Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane? Hiking in the mountains? An impromptu drive with your sweetheart?
Life is about the memories we create. It is not about the stuff you have (or will accumulate). It’s about using what you do have to make memories with others. Money helps give us options, but many of us remember when we didn’t have money to buy something so we “created” our substitution to get us by, or until we received it as a gift or finally had the funds to purchase it. That creativity is what advances the world—think cars, airplanes, cell phones, air conditioning, etc.
I expect that sharing this has brought something to your mind. I challenge you not to just move on in your day or write yourself a note about doing something “later,” but to take an action to change, to improve, and/or to make a memory!
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