Change Your Life. Change The World.

Social Entrepreneurs need to question the status-quo and be the agents for change in the world, but change is not always easy. Often as social entrepreneurs, we can focus on the change we want to see in the world but I think the first place we need to start is the change we want to see in ourselves.  “You must be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi. As we learn to be more introspective and make the necessary changes in our lives, it will give us the skills and abilities to bring change to the world.

Most people know the changes in their life that would make the most difference but often these changes sit on their ‘to do’ list. Almost all change requires us to give and take. Often, the hardest part of change is not the change itself but what people must give up, the sacrifices we have to make for the better.

Human beings are creatures of habit. 95% of our behaviours are habitual and only 5% of our choices are consciously self-selected. Most of us greatly overvalue our willpower and self-discipline…we think that we only need strong willpower to change things. Think about all those New Years Resolutions, how many of them did you actually keep!

The fact is, the more behaviours become a ritual and routine, in the form of a deliberate and consistent practice, the more they will become automatic and take far less energy to carry out.

5 Steps to making change happen

1. Understand your ‘why’

This is a major factor to you being successful in the change you want to see. It is your purpose or commitment to a process that will eventually determine your outcome. Write down what  your ‘why’ is and refer back to it, so you have the motivation to change. When the challenges come, you can refer back to your ‘why’ because this will become your anchor. Build a foundation of motivation and commitment before you even think about making changes.

2. Challenge your comfort-zone

All of us get a sense of comfort and security from doing what we’ve always done, even if it isn’t working for us. We all know the definition of insanity – “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”Albert Einstein. Researchers Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey call this “immunity to change.” We have competing commitments to change – on one side there is our passionate commitment to change but this is counterbalanced by an equally powerful competing commitment to keep doing what you are comfortable doing.

This is an easy way to find your competing commitment. Think about the change you really want to make and ask yourself what are you doing or not doing to undermine that initial commitment. What is it costing you to continue doing the same thing over and over?

3. Be Specific about the change you want

Saying something like “I want to be more organised” is a recipe for failure because it is too general. Say something like “I am going to spend 10 minutes everyday writing a to do list for the day” or “I’m going to spend a day organising my office and finding a place for everything.”

4. Establish a support network

Many of us have an idea in our heads that “I can do it on my own.” The fact is though, that you are more than likely to actually implement change if you have others alongside you who are trying to do the same thing. You can connect through the challenges, learn from others, and feel part of a community. The community also serves as a reminder that this is important in your life. On the flip side of this, stay away from small-minded people who want to stamp on your dreams because their intent is to hold you back with them.

5. Believe

Your belief will develop your faith. You can’t change your behaviour without first changing your belief.  Believe that you can and challenge any thoughts that say you can’t. Get rid of the doubt and the fear of failure because these things will always hold you back.

The average person launches a change effort six seperate times before it finally takes. Change is hard. It can even be painful. You will  experience failure at times but it is through our failures that we can find success.

As social entrepreneurs, you may be seeking change for yourself so you can be a more effective leader or for the social problem that you have identified. Determine in your heart and your mind that you will not quit because success is connected to action!

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