Career Success – 5 Ways to Give Yourself the Best Chance of Succeeding at Change

Change, like death and taxes, is one of life’s certainties. Sometimes change is imposed on us; other times we are in the driver’s seat. You will be promoted more quickly when you prove your ability to initiate and adapt to change.

Regardless of how and where change originates, there are 5 things you control which make it easier to embrace and that stack the deck in your favor to succeed at change. All require watching your language (and bosses respond well when you do).

1. Speak Specifics

When setting goals relating to change, vague is not in vogue. Always be specific. Be definitive. Be concrete. Ambivalence attacks the belief you can achieve your goal and sucks the energy right out of your desire to persist. You must train yourself to ban phrases like “I’m trying to do x” and “I’m thinking of doing y.” Replace them with “I’m doing x” instead. Be exact about what and when. “I’m getting my black belt in Lean Six Sigma this May” creates much more personal power than “I’m thinking of doing some more work on Lean Six Sigma.”

2. Ditch Denial

Ditch denial of responsibility. Forget fancy talk; keep it simple. Don’t put control of events outside of yourself. Use present tense, active voice and indicative mood for greater power. Compare “I’d like to get it done” to Nike’s famous example “Just do it.” You experience greater feelings of mastery and enhance personal effectiveness when you eliminate excuses for evading or reducing your responsibility.

3. Nix Negativity

Nix negative statements. No exceptions! They automatically limit you. You’ll start to believe them and instantly hinder your progress. Turn all self-limiting, self-defeating “I can’t” statements into positive ones simply by changing the semantics. “I can’t” becomes “I choose to” or “I haven’t yet but” and “It’s too late” becomes “There’s still time to.” Reversing negative talk immediately expands your possibilities.

4. Package the Past

Put all previous negative habits and self-defeating behaviors into the past with the phrase “I used to be”. Let all your ideas of self that aren’t serving you well go. Don’t hang onto them needlessly. Expressing them only in the past tense instantly categorizes them as things that have changed, are changing, or can change. As you think and say so you are.

5. Pitch the Present

Pitch all positive attributes and habits in present tense even if you haven’t fully mastered them or aren’t consistently applying them yet. This creates a demand to be congruent by living up to who you say you are and how you see yourself—you will not become the person you want to be if you are constantly telling yourself “I’m not this” or I can’t be or do that.” Feel the difference between the person who says “I always find a way” and the one who always says “there’s nothing I can do.”

Change does not have to be hard. Make it easier on yourself starting today!