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Personal change as a force for good.

imagesCZZQZUD2Richard Ellis is pursuing a portfolio career; formerly he was the head of Research and Development at Reckitt Benckiser.

Stories of personal change seem to fall into two camps. The spontaneous ones where the story goes something like” well I bought a boat and then I sailed across the Atlantic navigating by the stars and the vapour trails of airplanes”. The alternative is the meticulously planned where the story contains details of great preparation “ we spent 10 days living in a deep freeze to prepare us for the arctic conditions”.
Both type of story have one element in common and that is that the participant took action. Having recently decided to move out of corporate life to pursue a portfolio career and a different lifestyle I am frequently met by people who lament their lives. It must be so nice to be like you they say; so what is stopping you I reply. Their reply is not usually the obvious things you might spontaneously suggest like ‘money or my spouse’ but usually they are waiting for something to happen. Something that does not lie in their control and therefore provides a reason for inaction.

So how do you get to action? For the spontaneous types amongst you I cannot offer any real insight – presumably you just act! For the planners the first step is to write down what you want to achieve. The act of writing something down sets up a commitment with yourself and forces an examination of the logic of your goal. It is easy to convince yourself of the logic of an argument when you run through it in your head, spurious logic seems to defy the writing process.

Having written down your goal spend sometime envisioning what it will be like when you achieve it – what will it really be like to see your book in a bookshop what will be the benefits and the downsides. Then spend sometime on what are the benefits of your current situation; you will act when the benefits of the new goal outweigh the benefits of being where you are today. You become a marathon runner when the joy you will feel at crossing the finish line is more appealing than staying in bed avoiding the training run.

Having convinced yourself of the benefits of your new goal take some action. If you want to be a good photographer hire a great camera for the weekend and start taking pictures. Action builds momentum.
The quote attributed to Goethe sums it all up: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!” Good luck with your personal change.