Several years ago, I found myself working too many hours and serving too many clients. While I was making a good living, my quality of life wasn’t great. I knew something needed to change, but could never find the extra motivation — or the time — to discover how to close the gap between where my practice was and where it needed to be.
Finally, I decided a bike ride would clear my head. But rather than take to a nearby trail or whirl around the block, instead I went on a 400-mile trek that took me through three states. For the most part, it was a peaceful and uneventful journey, but it didn’t do much to solve my problem. Five days later on the way home, it happened.
As I turned left, facing into the sun, there was a bone-jarring impact, followed by a terrible thud. When I looked up, I saw a black Honda Accord. My bike handlebars were pointing in one direction and my front wheel was pointing in the other.
As I glanced back at the car, and through the sweat running down my face and the glare of the afternoon sun, I realized that no one had hit me. Instead, I had plowed into a parked car. It all took place within shouting distance of my house.
At that point, I took care of things with my neighbor (whose car I hit) and hobbled home, blood running down both of my legs. If ever there was a metaphor, that was it: I rode all that way and still fell short of my overarching goal. That was my business in a nutshell.
Change or Die
With that dose of perspective, I later came across “Change or Die,” a book written by Alan Deutschman, who asks readers whether they could make a major change to prevent their death. It’s unlikely, he says, unless three things are present: relationships, reframing and repeating.
All lasting change starts with a relationship. It may be a connection to a coach, a teacher, a love interest or a best friend. Or it could be a broader organization, like Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers or even the Christian faith.
Whatever the case, for change to stick we must reframe the situation. Take something complex and look at it from a different perspective with clarity and simplicity.
Alcoholics Anonymous does that by telling members to acknowledge a higher power, Weight Watchers by telling customers to assign points to everything they eat and the Christian faith says to turn the other cheek. All are powerful ways to look at the world from a different perspective.