How to Navigate Change by Choice


I’m fascinated with the topic of “Change,” because change is an ongoing process that we never outgrow nor can we eliminate it from our agendas. Change will always be a part of our lives. So then why do people put off deliberate change knowing that change is inevitable? I’m sure there are many answers to that question. In my own life fear has been a huge factor and while I know what scripture says regarding fear, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. 2 Timothy 1:17, I’m not so sure that this particular scripture can be applied as broadly as it has been.

Modern Christians can be as fearful as non-Christians can. Like everyone else we too are fearful of the things which come to disrupt our lives and leave us bewildered wondering what to do next. The topic of change is increasingly important given the times that we live in. Change has become the order of the day. We either change or get swept away by the changing tide of new technology, new business practices, new business models and the new normal in communications known as Social Media.

Strategy for Change

In a presentation given at Catalyst by Jim Collins he spoke about his book, Great by Choice.  He spoke of how people attempt to reach the same goal using different choices and methods. That talk has helped me to understand several vital aspects about change and goal setting. It has also helped me to understand that there is a type of fear which hasn’t come to destroy me but to give me an awareness or warning of the possibility of an impending danger. This type of fear can lead to something Mr. Collins called “productive paranoia,” which is not necessarily a bad thing when encountering the unknown. Productive paranoia can cause you to examine the details very carefully with a healthy dose of humility realizing that you don’t know everything. This will allow you to seek helpful information from someone who already knows what to do.

In the presentation Mr. Collins talked about two explorers who set out to crossAntarcticato reach the South Pole. Although their goal was the same their approach was very different. Both explorers and their teams successfully reached the South Pole but their arrival times were different although they started out at the same time. While one explorer and his team reached home safely, the other explorer and his team all died on their return home. The difference was in their choices.

Knowing when to change

I’ve noticed Christians who set out to make their dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur change their mind and exclaim “maybe God didn’t call me to do this after all.” Sometimes to me it seems as though the decision to quit was based on one of two factors:

1)     They’re not getting the results that they anticipated they would. (money)

2)     They’re not getting the results in the time that they anticipated they would. (time)

While both of these are important, they may not take into account the systematic problems due to incorrect choices. They may be an indication that some change is needed. In stead the choice taken is to prematurely throw in the towel and retreat to the familiar feeling justified that God has changed His mind!

It’s far more likely that the decisions have been based more on emotions or intellect than on faith. Rather than making a sweeping change right away it’s always better to test the evidence first.

Mr. Collins, in his presentation gave the following advice and analogy for testing and change: “Fire bullets first and then fire cannon balls.” The idea is that bullets do less damage when looking for a target but once you have found the target you are then ready to fire a cannon ball.

Before you quit

Fire some bullets by exploring the following questions before quitting your God inspired business:

  • Do you have the correct advisers/mentors?
  • Do you have the correct product?
  • Are you offering the correct service?
  • Are you reaching the correct audience?
  • Are you in the correct location?

Before you fire that cannon ball (quit) make sure that you’ve already fired enough bullets to find out about possible minor changes that might have a huge impact toward your success as an entrepreneur. I once heard a formula taught that said “Measurable progress, in a reasonable amount of time, or substantial change.” It’s a good business formula but to apply it one must bear in mind that all progress is measurable and a reasonable amount of time is relative to the task at hand. A substantial change may be something as simple as making a phone call to a client that you’ve never spoken with on the phone. Sometimes small changes may be all that’s needed.

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All


Question: Have you made changes to your business before quitting? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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