If You Want Change – Change Your Box
Change the Context
If you’re continually focusing on changing yourself, maybe you need to change the context you operate in.
Growing up with Asperger’s Syndrome and dyslexia, I learned to “cheat.” Achieving in the context I was put in often didn’t work for me, so I changed the rules. Specifically, I learned how to do things in ways that worked for me. Rather than learning all the details that people tried to teach me, I got the big picture before concerning myself with the details. Without a map to connect the parts, the parts meant nothing to me.
For example, your limited context could be seeing yourself as an employee. If you see yourself as an employee, you will always be an employee. That’s great if that’s what you want. But if you want to work for yourself, you must not only see yourself as an entrepreneur, you must also behave as one.
Stepping out of the employee box can be difficult when your friends and identity are linked to being an employee. I ‘m not saying this change must be immediate and complete as it can be accomplished in stages. You can start by putting one foot in a new box by hanging with entrepreneurs and then decide where to plant the next foot.
Are you doing the right thing in the wrong place?
You may be one of the fortunate ones and have found your passion. Even so, you might be a round peg attempting to fit in a square hole. If so, then you need to change your context. But if you aren’t sure, how do you know?
Use your body as to teach you what is wrong. If you walk into a situation, let’s say it’s work, and you find you’re tense or holding your breath, your body is telling you something is wrong-It doesn’t want to be there. Use your body as a dowsing rod. Walk around your work noticing where it tenses and where it relaxes. Then ask yourself, what do I need to do to relax?
It may be as simple as telling your co-worker not to take things from your desk. Ask yourself if other simple acts could relieve stress and therefore, your discomfort about work. If the answer is yes, you have a plan. If fixing the little problems still doesn’t do it, you many need to change more.
You may love your work, which is great. But do you love the way you’re doing it? Is your work taking more energy than it is giving you? Has your job become just comfortable? Is it feeding your passion? We often link what we are doing with where we are doing it as being dependent on each other. If only because of familiarity, we will resist changing our box. Imagine what it would be like to do your thing some other place. What happens? Maybe you’re already dreaming of another job.
You may outgrow your context.
Just like when you were a kid, you can outgrow not only your clothes but also your context, and we tend to get attached. That’s a great quality when it supports you but when the change you need to make has to do with the where in your life, attachment can slow you down.
When you change, you may get mixed messages from your circle of friends who don’t know what to do with that change. On one hand, your friends may tell you to go for it as in, “We support you and your change. You need a new job, a new partner, a new home….” But when you go for it, things get weird, your supports start not being so supportive.
What do you do? Do you stay with your friends? Please them? Do you keep moving forward and risk losing your friends?
Unfortunately, this predicament happens more than you might think. There is something about us as humans that causes us to become threatened when a person in our peer group shifts and changes beyond the group. It is as if his or her change reflects back on our lack of change. We would often rather stop your change than change ourselves to keep up with you.
The withdrawal of your friends’ support may first shock you and cause hurt. Left with a choice, do you stop your change or do you risk changing your context? Choosing between what you have and what you want is a hard choice. The first is known, the second isn’t.
A new perspective
Stepping into the unknown is scary and exciting. Change invariably contains some unknown. Changing through changing your context will always generate mystery.
When you step into these new places, you can have help. This blog is one place; new friends are available. Often there are mentors available in these new territories on your journey. In the Five Stages of the Whole Adventure, we speak about how guides tend to show up at the right time from unexpected places.
You may first do a scouting mission to explore a new context. You will at least come back with a new perspective. You may return with a new direction and renewed enthusiasm.
The larger the frame you contextualize your life in, the greater the chance of success. David Kelly the driving force behind Ideo, a premier international design firm, years ago came to the realization that they needed to “stop calling Ideo’s approach ‘design’ and start calling it ‘design thinking.‘” Kelly realized that the breakthrough designs, the ones that create a new product and possibly a new industry, come from re-designing the corporate structure that wants to create the design. The work is in redesigning the organization that creates the design. With a new “design thinking,” paradigms are designed.
Ideo will not take a client unless they are willing to re-design their thinking process. Are you willing to re-design your thinking process? Are you willing to find or create a new context to change into?
Let us know about your context changing.
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