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Lead the Change so the Change Doesn’t Lead You

Lead the Change so the Change Doesn’t Lead You

“If you always do what you always did you always get what you always got.”

Shawn Stratton

Have you ever felt bored in your position? Has the fun and challenge your in role offers vanished? Do you feel you are spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere? Perhaps you are waiting for your situation to change.

In work and in life, you often find yourself reaching plateaus, when you are not moving forward, where you are repeating the same things because that’s what’s worked in the past. The problem is that you desire more: more challenge, more responsibility, more influence, more security, more money, more success.

When you find yourself in this situation, it is time for a change. Change can be a scary endeavour, especially when it is out of your control and if you wait too long to make a change, someone or something will usually do it for you. If you lead the change, you retain control. If you wait for someone else or some circumstances to bring about the change, you lose control. Which would you rather have?

I have had a few situations in life where I needed a change…

In one of my last years’ leading expeditions, I was at the branch where a new and excited group of students would be showing up in 15 minutes. This was always an exciting time. I was about to meet for the first time the 12 students I would spend the next month with backpacking through he Yukon wilderness starting this afternoon!

Shawn Stratton

© Shawn Stratton

As an instructor, I was usually a little nervous and excited in anticipation of these students and what the next month would bring. Just before they showed up at the branch, a supervisor heard me let out a big yawn and responded “wow, there’s an excited instructor”.

I find it funny that years later I still remember that moment and comment. The fact is that this dream job had actually turned into just a job for me and I was feeling burnt out. I had lost that excitement and passion to be the quality leader my students, co-leaders and organization expected of me and frankly, I expected of myself. I had not only become a little bored and burnt out, but also a little cynical. It was time for a change and if I didn’t make the change, my state of mind would eventually affect my performance enough that a change would be made for me by my dwindling performance or worse, an accident.

Shortly after that course, I decided to come up with a plan to leave my life on the road leading expeditions. I had seen many co-workers get to the stage I was at and continue leading expeditions well past their expiration date and I didn’t want that to be me.

Was I scared of the change that was about to happen? You bet I was but I knew it was essential for me to continue to grow and reach other goals in work and life that I desired. The change would be so hard that it took three years to gradually play out and have me fully transition out of that line of work. At least over the three years, as I got closer to my goal, I knew I wasn’t spinning my wheels anymore and that I was working through my plan.

Shawn Stratton

© Harro Heijboer

Are you stuck in your career development? Are you spinning your wheels? Does your lack of desire, passion or commitment show in your work? If you answered YES to any of these, it may be time for a change. You owe it to yourself and the teams you lead. Start today with a plan to move forward and give your wheels some traction. Get the passion and excitement back in your life that you deserve. Your change could be a lateral move in your organization or change in responsibilities, or it could be a major career change. If YOU desire it, there is no change too big or too small.

As you start out or continue your journey, remember the saying “The psychological affects of regret are far more severe than the psychological affects of failure. “ Take control and create the change. YOU want don’t let the change come to you.