Change is hard. It’s so hard, in fact, that we often choose not to take actions that might be to our benefit, simply because it’s easier to remain in the status quo.
Tampa, FL (PRWEB) October 13, 2012
Since fall is a time of change—reflected by kids returning to school, leaves turning beautiful colors and sweaters being pulled from storage—FPMG, a performance management firm, has chosen this season to announce its strategies for getting things done. It’s human nature to let things slide even if they aren’t to our liking, and no one is immune to this self-sabotaging behavior.
“Change is hard,” said Denise Federer, Ph.D., FPMG’s founder. “It’s so hard, in fact, that we often choose not to take actions that might be to our benefit, simply because it’s easier to remain in the status quo. We’re either wary of getting out of our comfort zone, or we’re simply not uncomfortable enough to take a different path.”
Federer put off updating her own website for years—even though she realized it was outdated. She was resistant to change; the thought of having to expend time and money to go through a complete website design didn’t appeal to her. She also didn’t feel that her old, tired website was having a negative effect on her business, so she talked herself into thinking it really wasn’t that bad.
Federer was also struck by intermittent reinforcement scheduling. Just when she’d get to the point that she was ready to start a redesign, someone would offer a positive comment about the website—and all thoughts of updating it left her mind.
When Federer finally finished the redesign, her sense of glee was overwhelming. She realized she’d been foolish to put off the project for so long, but hadn’t been miserable enough to engage in the months-long website redesign process.
There are four factors that affect our willingness to take action to rectify a situation that’s less than stellar:
- Inertia—many people are more comfortable leaving things as they are
- Pain tolerance—everyone has a different “breaking point” and some have more patience than others
- Lifestyle—some people are sticklers, while others are more apt to “live and let live”
- Coping skills—some people are simply more effective at dealing with sub-par situations than others
Everyone has experienced this—keeping an employee on for too long, staying in a relationship longer than its “expiration date,” or failing to do anything to lose weight, quit smoking, or accomplish other important goals. Often, people are playing the role of the professional victim—thinking “we can’t” rather than what’s really true, “we won’t.”
Federer suggests trying this exercise: replacing “I can’t” with “I won’t.” She’s had many people do this, and the results are impressive; most quickly realize how stuck they are—they can do anything they want, but they often don’t want to.
“There are many things in life over which you have no control, but you always retain the ability to determine how you react to your evolving circumstances,” Federer said. “When you’re faced with a ‘do something’ situation, especially one that may result in some discomfort, you must empower yourself to become a doer by demonstrating desire, determination and dedication.”
Federer acknowledges that following her advice isn’t easy to do—otherwise everyone would be doing everything they should be doing—but it’s also not impossible. Those who are ready to leave their comfort zone may find the benefits of taking action well worth the temporary discomfort.
FPMG is a performance management consultancy dedicated to guiding successful people to be their best. Based in Tampa, we help you uncover the non-financial issues that impact the bottom line. FPMG offers family business consulting, financial advisors succession planning, leadership development, and team building.