Changing Anything Starts with Changing Something

money-graphics-2007_880151aIn their new book, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, Kerry Patterson and co-authors discuss the three dimensions in your life that merit scrutiny as you seek to do better in your life, business or career.

The three dimensions are:

1. Personal

2. Social

3. Structural

The need for change

As you do what it takes to reach a higher level of achievement and satisfaction, you must cast off some beliefs, people, practices, and even places that have been bringing you down. You’re also going to need to add in some extras that you might never thought you needed.

This is a bit like the Keith Richard myth/truth that in order to pass a drug test, the ye old Rolling Stone had his blood exchanged. He’s both denied that and admitted it, so even if it’s half-truth – he passed the test and we suspect something changed to accomplish it.

Perhaps the most painful finding in Change Anything’s scientific look at successful change, is the notion that you are going to have to exchange your friends for better ones. There’s good evidence that bad behavior is contagious.

For example, obese people typically have obese friends, and they all didn’t start out that way. It’s just that over time, they engaged in activities together – like lots of eating and an equal or greater amount of sitting – that did them in. And, because people naturally compare themselves with their peers, well, if you’re about as out of shape as everyone you know then you are NORMAL. At least when you’re in that group.

The real surprise about career or business success, is that lack of achievement is akin to engaging in poor eating and exercise habits. That is, if you’re with friends who all complain about their bosses, their companies, their clients and their colleagues, well: you’re going to do the same. And no complainer does well, except among other complainers.

So consider your situation. If everyone you know is unemployed or underemployed, then you are likely to be as well. If not now, then just watch the clock. Your time will come.

First step to moving forward

Check your friends and see if they are accomplices in spiraling you downward – or more like coaches who encourage and support your ascent upward.

–       Are your friends enjoying cultural events?

–       Are your friends abusing substances?

–      Are your friends putting aside money while they’re employed, so they can start a business on their own in the near future?

–       Are your friends buying video games or shoes with every extra dollar they have?

The questions can go deeper and wider, but you get the drift. If you look around and see people who don’t reflect where you want to be – who aren’t go-getters, and lemonade-from-lemons kind of people – then consider putting some distance between them and you.

Your transformation may not be as difficult or dramatic as Keith Richards, but remember his buddy and band mate Mick Jagger graduated from the London School of Economics. Not bad company to keep.

Now what’s your next step? How about starting with a friend inventory and performance evaluation? Then take remedial action. Sound harsh? It’s nothing compared to going nowhere with them.

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