Facing a BIG change?
It’s time to shift from diagonal thinking.

Written by: Tim McCleary, Chief Experience Officer

Sometimes, change simply feels overwhelming. And sometimes, it seems that no amount of reading or theory on how to handle change provides solace. (Yes, I see the irony here.)

But, human connection does. More on that in a minute.

One early morning this past week, I had coffee at my favorite spot in Uptown Charlotte with Tim Rogers. Tim is a very bright guy, who listens deeply and is quick to pull a Post-It Note pad from his back pocket to jot a thought or draw a concept.

Over our lattes, Tim and I chatted about the way most people think about change – both at work, and in their personal lives. With a swift, quickdraw-like motion, a bright pink 3”x3” Post-It pad made it onto the table, and Tim began to doodle.

He drew a diagonal line from the lower left to the upper right of the pad, with dots indicating the start and stop points. “This is how most people think about change,” he said. “There’s a starting point and a specific, linear path to get to a big goal that seems daunting.”

We agreed that most of us are overwhelmed by this approach. What steps do I take? In what order? And most importantly, where do I begin?

He quickly added a short, horizontal line to the right of the starting point. “This is a starting point. And, most importantly, is a small step that represents progress,” he added.

What this not-so-obvious step does is get us moving. It helps us begin to see the way forward. It breaks us out of the fear of change that can paralyze us, crushing progress.

Here are three thoughts from my conversation with Tim:

  1. When facing change, start somewhere. The first step can be lateral, but still progress you in the direction of the bigger goal. It can break you out of the procrastination cycle. Don’t plan to eat the elephant in one bite. You’ll choke.
  2. Seek out human connection. We’re all constantly facing change, some of us to a greater degree than others, yet we don’t talk about it. Talking it through with others you trust can help you gain a new perspective – and reveal a lateral step.
  3. Reflect on the goal. Once you’ve taken a lateral step, zoom out. Look at the positive impact of that step, and look at your goal again. That progress may reveal something new that will allow you to adjust and reach your goal.

Next step: book a latte with a friend. It might just be the first, positive step in your change.

Thanks for being involved today.

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