How do I make a change?
This is a central theme when I work with my coaching clients, and in my own life. So it’s a question I think a lot about.
The other day, I was reflecting on my process. Mostly I was having fun playing with ideas and words and the letters in my initials! Here’s what I came up to simply describe the arc I follow when I making a change in behaviour, thought, or action.
Making a change
- Irritated. I get annoyed with something or feel off about a circumstance and my desire for change grows.
- Inspired. I see someone or many someones who are/have/express what I want for myself. This can feel like admiration or envy or anything in between.
- Investigate. I look into what it would take to shift things. I explore the various pathways that could lead to that desired state I yearn for.
- Initiate. I take action.
- Invest. I contribute mental, emotional, intellection and other energy towards the change.
- Intentional. I reflect on how things are going and make course-corrections as needed.
A work-related example
In addition to being a career coach, I work as an educational developer. Below I describe a recent change-related process using my “ii” (i x 6!) way:
In my educational development identity, it bothers me that I am not engaged in scholarship. My scholarly activity has diminished significantly since I completed my PhD more than 10 years ago and this has been a source of mild and ongoing frustration.
I coach research active faculty members and I work part-time at a research-intensive university. As such, I am constantly surrounded by people who are actively involved in doing research and publishing. I read about my educational developer colleagues’ work through various channels.
“Being scholarly” is a broad concept that I’ve (unhelpfully) limited to meaning doing research and writing. I have imposed rules about what counts as being scholarly and being “legit” as an educational developer. They sound like this:
I’m a good educational developer only if I…
- do research on my work
- read peer reviewed publications in the field of educational development (do occasionally)
- share my work (do occasionally)
- share at conferences or other public events (have not done since 2020)
- engage with theory (barely)
- am part of my professional body (yes)
- review papers (yes)
- am known
Once I surfaced these rules, it was easier to question them and then to come up with my own definition of what constitutes scholarly for me, given my values, interests, and “reality”. I decided that being scholarly means: reading and learning in educational development (books, blogs, podcasts, peer reviewed publications), sharing my work, creating resources, and writing (but not in peer reviewed publications as I don’t have the stamina for that right now).
Initiate and Invest
Action usually flows easily once I’ve made decisions: I am currently creating resources on the topic of peer review of teaching and writing a piece for University Affairs.
I’m content with my current actions but want to make more time for more reading educational development books and blog posts. Sometime in the next 6-8 months, I’d like to revisit the research and (peer reviewed) publication “issue” as this still niggles away at me.
Making a change: Resources
I mentioned above that the central theme in my work as a coach is supporting people to make the changes they want. As such, I read extensively about change. Here are a few books I can recommend on the topic:
- Atomic Habits by James Clear (no time for a book? subscribe to his 3-2-1 Newsletter)
- Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg
- How to Change by Katy Milkman
Looking for a change?
If you’ve been trying to implement a change (that could be in habits, career, ways of being, etc) and are facing resistance, contact me to find out how coaching can support you!