Why fear change?
The way we think about change is not helpful. We treated it as too disruptive and confusing, therefore change is to be resisted. We take this attitude because our tools for managing change are inadequate.
I’ve learned personally and through my client relationships that we need to understand change is a transition from one point to another. We live life in stages; some long, some short. There is a logic to this transition. When we see it, we can plan a path forward that takes us to a new level of fulfillment and impact.
For more than a decade, I’ve used the Circle of Impact process as a tool to help people see clearly where they are and what they are to do. Some of my best work has been during discussions about a transition. My purpose is to assist people who are in transition. This isn’t about managing change that happens to us. Instead, I am addressing the logic of change embedded in the transitions that we experience in our life and work.
What is A Transition Point?
A transition point is that moment in time when you recognize that you can either advance or decline. It is a moment of change.
My coaching process is more than historical reflection for understanding. I focus on the present moment of change – the person’s pressing issue. The Circle of Impact is a strategic development process that moves a person through that point of transition towards understanding their mission or future potential.
The Circle of Impact process addresses any transition, regardless of the context or reasons for the change.
To begin, we are all in transition, all the time. It is the only way we can fully live. We gain insight, understanding, and perspective through the recognition of a change.
Think over the following list of life’s twelve most common transition points:
- What used to be easy is now hard.
- I find that my performance has reached a plateau, neither getting better or worse.
- I am clearly not doing well, as my life and work are in decline.
- I lost my job, and I’m forced to rethink who I am and what I have to offer an employer.
- I am unhappy in my current life and work situation. This could come from a range of issues. Some may require professional counseling. If so, I can find that help.
- I am tired of doing the same thing over and over.
- I don’t know how to spend my time at work. My motivation to create good things is low.
- My relationships are not healthy.
- I am confronted with life decisions that have no easy answer or application.
- I am thrust into a leadership role in which I feel unprepared.
- I am entering a new stage of life as children leave the home or a marriage ends.
- I have a general uncertainty about life and work purpose.
If any of these twelve conditions are your current experience, you are in transition. Every transition point is a point of decision. You don’t always know what that decision is, even though you know you must make one.
I’ve learned this personally as twice in my professional life I’ve lost all my clients in a very short period of time. The most recent was a result of the recession. From the peak of my client work to nothing in six weeks. That is a transition point.
If you recognize your transition point, the question is: what are you going to do about it? It is as simple as change or be changed. There is not a no-change option. So, take charge of your transition point and create the best future that is possible.
5 Essential Questions You Must Answer
My process is based on a set of standard questions that I ask everyone. These five questions provide the basis for understanding where we are and what we need to do.
- What has changed in my life and work? How am I in transition?
- What is my impact?
- Who am I impacting?
- What opportunities do I have now?
- What problems have I created? What obstacles do I face?
The five questions are simple. The hard part is being honest with oneself.
The questions bring clarity to your perspective about the change you are experiencing. They lead to actions that you can take to create the impact that validates our sense of who you are and why you exist.
I’ve shared these questions with just about every person I’ve met over the last decade. Rarely, does someone find insight that is not beneficial.
The goal is to reach a sufficient level of clarity to know what you must do next. This clarity will reveal the impact that you can have in your life – impact being the change we create that is the difference that matters.
The basis of these questions is an understanding about people. I’ve come to see that every living person has three desires for their lives:
- A meaningful life
- Healthy relationships
- A life that makes a difference that matters
These three desires become the measure of every aspect of our lives. We want them to work together so that our lives may be full and good.
Once we’ve reached that clarity, then we begin to strategize about what needs to be done. As the questions show, we need to address the problems that we have that stand in the way of our fulfilling the opportunities that are ours.
Achieving Clarity in a World in Transition
The Circle of Impact model takes you through the questions, and then we focus on the specific areas that need attention. What I’ve found is that the greatest need is for a clear understanding of who you are and what your life means.
This is an important question because we tend to measure our lives by what we do, rather than who we are and the impact we create.
I know the questions can work for anyone. I’ve seen it. It does take commitment and a willingness to be self-critical.
With my clients and relationships, this is possible because of what I bring to the coaching relationship. I believe in my clients. I believe in them so they can believe in themselves. I see their potential. It is tangible to me. And, I want you to see it and achieve its fulfillment.
The Circle of Impact process works for leaders and their organizations. It is possible to coach a group of people through this strategic development practice.
The Circle of Impact has always been part of my organizational consulting work. Today, I deliver a stand-alone program that can be done with individuals, groups, in private and retreat settings.