One of the more challenging aspects of being a human is that we have the ability to cognitively understand the need to change and what needs to happen to bring about a change, but we struggle with practicing the behaviors that will actually sustain the change. Often, we hope that change will occur without us actually changing. Ah, humans. We are a funny species. We tell ourselves that because we understand that we need to change and because we understand what we need to do then that change will occur, when in fact that’s not the way it works.
Hoping for change while not taking the steps to change happens in many areas of life but in interpersonal relationships it generally unfolds in a way that many of us can relate to. We meet people all the time who say they want a different relationship with their manager, spouse or child and yet they continue to engage with them in the same old way over and over again. If you wanted your living room walls to be a different color, you wouldn’t walk by your living room each day simply hoping that one of these times, it would be the color you desired. To get a new color of paint on your living room walls you have to change your behaviors and engage in activities that will change the color of the walls.
So, if you want a different outcome that is sustainable over time, you have to create new behaviors and practice them until they become natural. Period. If you want to change your relationship with your manager, you must change the way you relate to your manager and the best way to do that is to determine how you can show up differently consistently over time. For example, if you want to have more transparent conversations, you should learn how to be more transparent. If you want to meet more often, you should create more opportunities to meet. In other words figure out where you can modify your behavior (even slightly) and you will start to create the new patterns required for the different outcomes.
Waiting passively for your manager, spouse or child to change is a recipe for disappointment and a continuation of the status quo. Remember, none of us believe that our living room walls will “intuit” our desire to have them a new color and magically change colors while we watch TV. Yet frequently, we do just that and hope that others will magically change for us because “they know” we want a different relationship with them.
Today, we encourage you to grab the metaphoric paint brush and start creating the life you were meant to live, with the relationships you want to have, and see just how much more color you will have in your life, color that is inspired and painted by your actions.