How to change anything in 5 simple steps


Change – one of the most complex topics that we deal with when counselling clients or when we need to attend to this in our own life. The most difficult things when dealing with change are deciding when to start, where to go, and how we are going to achieve success. From time to time, we choose to change and at other times, change chooses us. One thing is a certainty however – nothing ever stays the same forever.

Recently, I have had a few clients that seem more “stuck” than others do. They know they need to move forward and do something different (and so do I), but they are unsure how to make this happen (and so am I). So, while I was out looking for some inspiration and ideas, I was able to view a video from Steve Olsher and I found the suggestions quite relevant. I wanted to share them with you, but with a spin for client-focused interactions.

5 Keys to Successful Change

1.    Find the path

This is the first step; to define where it is you want to be. Find the goal, and define it for yourself. This is what all the actions you take will be centred on achieving. Take the time to focus this goal into a realistic and descriptive statement. You must clearly define your NEED against what you WANT.

“I want to work” is not accurate enough. “I want to work as an Office Administrator, 40 hours per week, within 15 km of my home. I need to be earning a minimum of $15/hour and receiving benefits. I want to wear office casual dress, and I need to be able to interact with people on a regular basis. I want to solve problems for the team, but I do not want or need to be the manager or team leader.” The more details you can include in this statement, the more achievable it will become as you have clearly defined your success.

2.    Actively invest time

There are only two things you can do with your time – spend it or invest it to generate a return. Clients tell me all the time how busy they are, yet when we actually dialogue – they are usually only investing a few hours per week on meaningful activities.

Being on social media and living vicariously through others is not investing time. Creating conversations and engaging others is an investment – simply gathering data and information is not. Help your client – and yourself – determine the difference between investment of time versus spending time. Simply journal for a week – and then decide if you like the results of where time is spent or invested.

3.    Stretch your reality

There is a true difference between stretching reality and creating a fantasy. Take the measure of your goals and decide if they are truly realistic. If they do not make sense – change them. Invest your time in achieving realistic goals, rather than spending time dreaming of an unachievable fantasy.

Say for instance as a counsellor in private practice, you want to increase your income by 10%. If you see twenty clients a month, you need to increase your business by one client every other week. If you do this each year, then your business will grow consistently, and at a pace that is controllable while it scales in service delivery. However, deciding to double your practice in one year without adding more staff or resources may not be possible. In essence, this is not an achievable reality. It is more of a fantasy that you will be able to maintain good service while meeting the goal of doubling your business.

4.    Reverse the poles

In order to overcome certain barriers, it is a great amount of effort. Think of two magnets of similar poles – they will push each other away, getting only so close and then never meeting. However, if you reverse them they spring together. Goals are that way sometimes; the actions we take can get us close but not close enough to achieve them. If we are close to the goal, and never quite getting there, what has to change? What can we do a little differently to meet the goal we set?

Realize change takes work. If you keep doing what you have always done, you will only get what you have always gotten. This is going to take work, more work than you have already put in. Are you ready?

5.    Permission for patience

You did not get here overnight. It took time. There is a saying among Sushi chefs, “First, learn to make rice.” It can take several years to master the flawless foundation of the Sushi, making perfect rice time and again. Sometimes it takes as long as ten years to perfect the art of making rice. Give yourself permission to be patient to achieve your goals. If it is going to take 3 months – you had better begin now.

Job seekers want “instant pudding” in terms of results – they are in pain now, and need help now, they need a job NOW. In truth – this takes time. Give yourself patience to achieve these goals, but set them and begin walking towards them. I try to encourage my clients to send out a minimum of two applications each day, one before lunch and one after. That is ten per week. That is 40 per month. Hopefully, that number will generate one interview per week on average. Then, after 10 or so interviews, there should be a job offer. That is actually mathematically a 3-month cycle. IF…..that is IF….you do two per day, every day, 5 days a week, every week, for three months, and can generate 10 interviews. If you take longer to achieve these numbers – it will take longer to achieve the goals. Are you willing to be patient and commit?

These items rang true to me, and I am sure you have seen many of these ideas – if not all of them – before. I was hoping to perhaps reframe one or two ideas, and give you an inspiration to try something new with your “stuck” clients or processes. I found something new here, and wanted to share these with you on the chance you might find something new or share it with others.

My favourite was the “spending” vs. “investing” of time – I realized that I spend more time than I want, so I am making some changes to invest more time. These systems do not all necessarily need to be adopted, rather give yourself permission for patience, and try out one new idea for a month, and then evaluate the changes. Are you now getting the results you wanted, or do we need to reframe something in order to make the needed change. Did you have a favourite you wanted to try first, and if so – what was it?

Chris KulbabaChris Kulbaba is an Employment Counselor with the London Employment Help Centre in London, ON. Chris regularly delivers webinars for Conestoga College in the CDP program, offers his services as an expert speaker, facilitator and coach on social media and counselling topics, and is creating a new career development tool “Career Card Sort” – but takes the greatest pride in being a dad and a loyal family man. You can find Chris on Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, Facebook and at his new website/blog that is launching in early 2014 – .

Time for Change Image: Salvatore Vuono,

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