Lately this topic has been coming up in conversation. In general people have been asking me how they can ‘change’ their partner, parents, children, friends, colleagues and many times how they can change their boss, manager or supervisor AND my answer is always the same, an answer that most don’t like … “You CANNOT change other people”. One thing coaching and training has shown me is that people will only listen, learn, grow or change when they themselves genuinely want to and are genuinely ready to create change for themselves. Yes, I do believe that we can, maybe, influence and affect others but to think that you can change someone’s thinking, attitudes, habits, beliefs or behaviours, is usually an exercise in futility and frustration, no matter how ‘right’ you think you, or your message might be. So here’s an idea, instead of trying to change the person, look at them, sitting in front of you and accept them the way they are. Save yourself the stress and frustration. Instead of trying to change them, focus on three key areas…
- being the best you can be,
- leading by example,
- getting rid of judgement.
And there’s a number 4, make a choice! Can you change your attitude toward them? No? Then walk away. It’s that black and white in my mind. Either way it’s up to you to decide they are worth having around despite all your misgivings. It’s up to you to decide if you want to make the effort to strengthen the relationship or not. It’s up to you to decide if you are ready to adjust and understand your reactions and expectations. If not? You have a choice! Now writing that down, makes it all sound so easy and I know it’s not, which ever way we go. And I am a firm believer that we are not put on this earth to fix each other, we can’t force each other to change. Sometimes the best choice we can make is to let go and trust that each will create and handle their own journey, wherever it may lead them. And if you decide to be with them, stay with them, continue to associate with them, then truly stay with “them” as they are. I see it too many times that people say they are happy with others and yet they remain caught up in all the drama that goes with not being honest, still wanting to change them. I have had to walk away from people I love because being with them stifled me, had me spending all my energy trying to be okay for them. It took me a long while to realise that it was me who had changed, they were happy with who they were and what they were doing and it was me who had the choice to walk away. I have also made the choice to stick with those I choose to stick with, as they are, not as I want them to be. That too is a choice and one that has made me a better person because it was a choice I made and a choice that required me to take action around changing my perspective, based on my choice. I have also learnt that your influence has great powers. You can influence those around you. Influence the world around you. It’s just not by trying to change them. Here in China I love to play and experiment with this having found that the best way to have others change is to channel the change into yourself. In our community people do not smile, say hello, talk to their neighbours etc especially if they are foreigners (as we are). Whenever we move into a new apartment building or I enter a new MNC company one of my first goals is to smile at everyone, say hello to everyone I meet no matter whether they are the guards, cleaners, reception etc. Everyone here tells me Anna it’s not our culture to do this and you can see it. So, I set myself a goal of having as many people as I can say hello, smile, wave, whenever we meet. With some it takes time and it does happen! Everyone around says hello now when we meet, they wave, we chat if we can (even with the language barrier) it creates a whole different outlook to your day. So many comment on it when with me, amazed at how people around me are so different to normal. So here’s my take on the matter. You cannot change others. And you can change how you treat them, how you react to them, your opinions and judgements of them and your relationship with them. Manifest the change you would like to see in yourself, not for any selfish reason just for the fact that it makes you a better person. Demonstrate what you would like to see and you never know where it will rub off. Food for thought … and it’s a choice we make! What do you think? Are you wanting to make change happen? Are you unclear of how to do it? Do you know how to do it, yet you’re putting it off, scared about making the wrong choice, the wrong move? Book a 20-minute discovery session with me to see how I can help you build your confidence, create change and begin living the life you desire. Book a discovery session here and join my Facebook group Quantum Leap for Women