“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” –Albert Einstein
“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.” –Warren Miller
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” –John A. Shedd
These are some of my FAVORITE quotes that inspire me to have the confidence and courage to make a change. And the quote that makes the top of the list is my own current mantra that I’m using, which is:
“You are the problem, but you are also the solution.” Carrie Jackson Cheadle
If you’re not happy with the way things are, and find yourself wanting things to change, that change needs to start with you. You cannot simply wish for things to be different. If you want something to be different, you need to do something different.
What are you sick of hearing yourself say?
What do you keep putting on the back burner over and over again?
Years and years ago– probably in my undergraduate studies while I was working on leadership training and experiential education, I came across this little exercise and added it to my bag-of-tricks. It’s a great tool for assessing what’s working, what’s not working, and what would need to be different in order to gain some momentum in the direction you want to go. It helps you to be honest with yourself and identify how you are the problem, and how you are also the solution. You can apply this tool to many different areas of your life. Grab a piece of paper and write out three columns titled STOP/START/CONTINUE. Think about a situation you find yourself wishing would be different, and ask yourself:
- What do I need to STOP doing in order for things to change?
- What do I need to START doing in order for things to change?
- What do I need to CONTINUE doing in order for things to change?
Or try phrasing it a little differently:
- What do I need to STOP doing for this to be true?
- What do I need to START doing for this to be true?
- What do I need to CONTINUE doing for this to be true?
- What do I need to STOP doing in order to accomplish this goal?
- What do I need to START doing in order to accomplish this goal?
- What do I need to CONTINUE doing in order to accomplish this goal?
You can see here that you can tweak the wording a bit to make it resonate with the situation you want to assess. You can’t just wait around wishing things were different and expect anything to change, but sometimes that’s exactly what we do. If you want things to be different, you have to do something about it.
Being the change often means you are going to have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. It also often means that in order to set yourself up for success, you will need to reach out for support to get access to the knowledge and resources you need to be able to make that change. Knowing both why you want to make this change and what it will mean if you make this change, can give you the courage it takes to do something different. You have more power than you think. No more waiting around for things to be different. Wishes don’t make changes, but actions do. What do you need to stop/start/continue in order to keep moving in the direction you want to go?