BY ZIVANA ANDERSON, CAREER COACH, SOUL RIVER
‘Early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise’ – Malcolm X
Embracing and making change happen is not necessarily an easy, linear process.
Today, we hear a lot about ‘change being the new normal’ as a rally cry to have everyone onboard, accepting and embracing the shifts, chops and twists that change brings with it.
Change tests our resilience and helps us recognise and identify new change ‘limits’ that we need to work through in order to stay with our tribe.
It comes in different shapes and forms. Some are obvious and externally driven – an approved project, a focus change from the executive team to a different market or technology, a new methodology to change the culture and improve staff engagement.
Change can take the form of the subtle shifts and sensations our body gives us when telling us to listen to its internal messages – a growing discontent you can’t quite pin down, a curious mind feeling unfulfilled or exploring your new ‘edge’ as you take on a different challenge.
Whilst you’re working through these different facets that change brings, I have no doubt you are taking action.
You are talking to colleagues, brainstorming how to get things started, developing project plans, researching for additional information or connecting with mentors for guidance.
Here’s the challenging question – are you taking Dormant or Lively action?
Let’s use the example of exploring your new ‘edge’ as you take on a new challenge.
You’ll know you’re in Dormant action when you find yourself:
- Reading yet another book about the subject you’ve taken on
- Signing up for another ‘how to’ online course
- Having yet another meeting with a mentor or colleague to discuss how to approach the new project
- Re-arranging your desk to have co-ordinated colours and stationery for an uncluttered workspace
- Precooking meals and freezing them to ‘free up more of your time’ as you’ll be doing extra hours on the project
Whilst the outcomes can be justified as these things do need to get done – if you are filling most of your day with them – recognise that it’s keeping you in the Safe zone.
There is a sense of comfort when you’re ‘busy being busy’.
However, it’s not adding up to the fundamental moves that will help create the forward momentum you want to make when taking on a new challenge.
On the other hand, Lively action is when you:
- Plan your week ahead, being honest with what is necessary to be completed and saying no to anything else
- Have an open discussion with your manager about the skills you feel you are learning from the new challenge and how it will set you up for future growth projects
- Call x number of clients to ask for business
- Do the crappy first draft of the project plan and share it with colleagues who will be involved
When we practice Lively action, we are putting ourselves out there. Lively action asks us to dig deeper inside, to recognise what makes us uncomfortable quicker – and find ways to work through it. It challenges us to keep taking the steps to get momentum going that will add value – think beyond the ‘BAU’ phrase that can engulf a diary.
Naturally, you need a blend of Dormant and Lively action to navigate the changes ahead.
The trick is staying honest with yourself that you’re not getting lulled into the comfort of devoting most of your energy to Dormant action and missing out on the stretch and growth that Lively action brings with it.
Zivana Anderson is a career coach who is passionate about guiding people to bring their best selves to work. With over 15 years experience working across a diverse range of industries including executive management, she saw inconsistencies to connect work and purpose. Her coaching includes mind-body, natural horsemanship and behavioural science techniques, bringing clarity and practical tools for career management.
To explore how this may apply to your career journey, book a free 30 minute Discovery call with Zivana today.