One of the most difficult decisions a person can go through is the decision for change.  That decision can be both elusive and precarious.  It’s elusive because it can take years of living with a problem before we decide to do something about it.  It can be expensive to wait to fix the problem because we typically wait until the problem becomes large, and costly. It certainly comes as a relief to hear someone say he or she is ready to make a change, but what most people don’t appreciate is just how precarious this particular decision point is for a person.

We all struggle in making that decision, but few people realize how shaky and emotional the decision to make a change really is.  Without feeling a sense of urgency, most people can vacillate and take back the choices they’ve made.  Some years ago, it happened to me.

I was driving my ten-year-old convertible. I had recently given my wife my annual, “I’m going to get rid of this car” State of the Car speech, when it finally happened.  At a traffic light, I noticed a little bit of smoke coming from my front hood.  My nose began to go into panic mode, straining to detect that tell-tale smell.  I began to smell the smoke… It was not looking good.

More and more smoke was billowing from the front of my car, and I shot across the first Decision Point a person goes through when contemplating change.  No more whining.  This was the sign I was looking for.  It was time to make a change, and look for solutions!

My mind was now racing.  I would take the next day off and spend the day test driving cars.  I could get online and do some quick research.  I could even make some quick calls to a couple of friends, and try and get some fast advice.  Thoughts of financing and accounting flew through my mind as well.  I would run the numbers by my accountant, and purchase this car through my corporation. I might not have known what this new car was going to look like, but I knew I was going to get a new car.  Yes, the old “ragtop” was finally history!  It was settled.

In the next moment, a strange thing happened.  The light changed and the car in front of me began to move.  When the car moved, so did the smoke – the smoke that I thought was coming from my car!  It turned out the smoke had been coming from the tail pipe of the car in front of me!

In a split instant, a grin worked its way across my face.  I had been spared!  It wasn’t me!  I shot back across the Decision Point.  “To heck with the new car idea,” I thought, “I can get a few more miles out of the old ragtop.”  I sure did, and months later when the smoke did belong to me, it cost me a lot of money to fix it before I sold the car.

This is not an uncommon story.  I hope that your mind drifted off to the many times you have vacillated over a decision to fix a problem, and although you thought you were ready to make that change, you decided it was fine the way things were.  When’s the last time you bought gloves… in the summer?  They’re a lot cheaper than you know.  How about insurance:  How much life insurance did you purchase… in your youth, when you felt great?  You’ll never pay less for it when you’re in your 20’s.

The fact is this:  It is very difficult to help someone move past his or her fear of change.  It might be a salesperson, a mentor, a parent, a coach, or a friend, but that person needs to stay the course and not back off just because someone says, “I think I’m going to make that change.”

The car in front might move, and the current danger may pass.  If you sincerely want to help others, recognize your job begins here.  Just because someone randomly professes his or her desire to change doesn’t mean it’s time for solutions.  In fact, the opposite is true:  It means it’s time for more questions.  It’s time to hear more about the problem that’s on the table to be fixed, and the ramifications of not addressing the issue at hand.  It’s also time to listen.


A BIG change is coming…

A big change coming for 2020 is the launch of my new podcast called, well, I can’t tell you what it’s called yet because I want to protect the name.  But get ready, because every other week we’re going to have some fun!  More information coming soon…





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