Funny you should ask ... Tim Gamble

What were your favorite toys as a child?

I’ve asked this question many times. It was in the context of a training seminar I used to give on “change.” I would ask the group to close their eyes and think back when they were a child. I’d then ask them to remember their favorite toy. As I would look out at the group, I could see the smiles on their faces. I would then ask each member about their toy. In the end, I would ask “Whatever happened to that toy?” Some knew. Most didn’t. I would then ask, “When was the last time you played with that toy?” Unless it was some tragic end, most couldn’t say. I would then ask, “The last time you played with that toy, did you know then you would never play with it again?” You could see the contemplation on their faces turn into a universal “no” in their expressions.

I would explain that most don’t know the answer. Change is subtle even when it effects an important part of your life. You may not recognize it at the time. When all is said and done, the only thing that remains true is that change is constant and continuous, sometimes subtle, sometimes not. How it affects you is how you process the change. If you’re resistant, you’ll have a raging inner conflict but usually not the desired outcome. In business it’s all about change. Your motto should be “Bring it on.” We don’t grow unless we try new things, new strategies. Ask ourselves, “Where are we, where do we want to be, and how do we get there, plan A or plan B?” Pick one. Measure the results. If it works, keep going; if not, try plan B.

Here’s the hard part. You just busted your tail to develop and implement a winning strategy, and now before the ink is dry on the results you must ask yourself, “how could I have done that better?” That’s when you must remember that “change is coming; it’s always coming.”

I remember a very smart person I’d met while trying to start a business. I had a very detailed business plan and I asked him, “What do you think I should do next?” He said, “Stop trying.” I didn’t know whether to be insulted or not, but I asked him what he meant by that. He said, “You don’t yet see yourself as the person you want to be.” I asked, “Okay, I give. What are you saying?” He said, “Be that which you are trying to be. Stop trying, just be.”

He went on to explain that the difference between a successful person and a person who wants to be successful is all in your mind. Just do what you would do if you were already successful. It allows you to take risks because you no longer see them as risks, just part of a process. Be the change you’re looking for. I told him I wasn’t quite comfortable with that. He said, then you’re not ready for success. Change is hard. Resisting change is harder. Taking chances is hard. Not taking chances is fatal. Stop trying, just do.

After my speech, I’d open the discussion for feedback and have a frank exchange of ideas and feelings about the subject. I would end my meeting by reinforcing the fact that I appreciate everyone’s effort — knowing full well not everyone bought into the idea that change is a good thing, but the seeds of change were always planted. After that, when it came time to discuss new strategies, most were open to new ideas and eager to participate.

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