“Our own dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” – Sydney J. Harris
We might hate to admit it, but Mr. Harris was correct. We want things to get better, while at the same time nothing changes. That’s never going to happen. There is no ‘Same but Better’ in the world. ‘Better’ in and of itself implies change has happened. Nothing ever got better without changing. It’s a physical impossibility.
Yet that’s what we say we want. “We’re hoping next year will be better”, “We expect next year to be better”, “Maybe next year will be better” – but what does ‘better’ actually mean? We don’t take time to figure it out so we end up with groundhog years that just repeat over and over and over.
So break the cycle. Start by thinking about what you mean by ‘better’. What about your business or your life would you actually like to see improve? Is it sales? A certain process? The quality of your people? The quality of your product? Is it a skill you have or want to acquire? Is it something to do with your family life? Those might seem like elementary questions – and they are – but far too few leaders really drill down to the details about what they’d like to be better in the future.
Now ask yourself this: How much better do I want this to be? For example, if you say you want better sales, and sales increase by $.01, is that good enough? It’s technically better, right? I’m guessing that’s not what you had in mind. So what did you have in mind? Maybe you want sales to increase 20%, or for profits to increase by 20%, or to develop 3 new products, or to read 2 self-improvements books, or whatever. How much better do you need to be happy?
Some leaders actually get to this point (congratulations, I’m sure you’re one of them). The problem is that the hard part is up next: actually doing something to attain your ‘better’. It’s actual work. It takes time. You can’t just meditate on it and wait for it to magically appear.
For most people that’s where it ends. There seem to be a hundred things that have to happen to get better, so we just get overwhelmed. We can’t fathom the day where we can accomplish it all.
And we don’t have to. We don’t have to do the hundred things in one day (you can’t even if you try). But you can start on the first thing. And when that’s done, you can start on the second thing. It might take weeks, or months, or even years – but whatever your ‘better’ is, it’s doable. As long as you get started.
So what’s stopping you? Why aren’t you starting today? Stop reliving the same years over and over again. Start getting better.