Leadership is about change. If you need no change, you need no leader. In times of change, people seek out more and better leaders. Those successful sought-out leaders embrace the following thought: “The best reformers the world has ever known are those who began with themselves.”
Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must be the change that we envision.” Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
The following comments are about personal change:
1. One person cannot change another person.
When I started as a young leader, I thought that a leader could change the people; and boy, did I work at it. I said, “All right, I’m going to give them thoughts, ideas, and principles; and I’m going to change people.”
After several years, I awakened to the thought that the only person who can change himself or herself is himself or herself. You can change yourself, but I cannot change you. You see, I am responsible to you but I am not responsible for you; and there is a world of difference between those two. I am responsible for teaching you good leadership, I am responsible for sharing things that can help add value to your life; but you are the only one who can take responsibility to change yourself, and that is what this whole chapter is about.
2. Most people need to look at the way that they look at change.
How many times have you heard somebody say, “I sure hope things will change;” The only way things will change for me is when I change. It has nothing to do with hope. You can’t just say, “Well, I just hope things will change around me,” and expect results. The only way that things will change for me is when I change.
I have also heard this before, “I don’t know why I’m this way.” Well, you are the way you are because that is the way you want to be. Let’s expose it for what it really is.
3. When you make the right personal changes, other things begin to turn out right.
So when people say, “I’d like things to turn out better for me, I’d like things to turn out right, I’d like things to turn out better in the organization, or in my family,” I say to them, “Start by making personal changes.”
In the next chapter we are going to delve deeper into this topic with the following six steps to successful personal change:
1. When you change your thinking you change your beliefs.
2. When you change your beliefs you change your expectations.
3. When you change your expectations you change your attitude.
4. When you change your attitude you change your behavior.
5. When you change your behavior you change your performance.
6. When you change your performance, you change your life!