Truth in Truisms #1

I love truisms because they’re true, but I hear them so often I ignore them. Like marketing quicksand words and phrases.

Eventually, and it always happens with truisms, something occurs and I realize “Wow, that’s just like….So it is true!”

For years I’ve heard “no-pain, no-gain”. Just recently I’ve realized the literalness of that truism. That when change comes it’s gonna hurt.

  • Little change => discomfort, irritation
  • Big change => emotional upheaval, total confusion, big pain
  • (I’m talking about emotional pain, not to be confused with physical)

And only when the change is through does the pain stop. When the new becomes the normal, familar, and comfortable -again.

Here’s the Irony

The most important things I’ve learned, those that really matter in life, are all lessons linked with pain.

For me to learn, to grow, I’m going to experience some hurt. “That which doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger”.

Don’t Believe Me? Try This!

Here’s an exercise. Think about the top three things you’ve learned that have been the most important to you in your life. Don’t rush, think about those most important life lessons.

Now, with those in mind, think back to how you felt when you were learning them. Try and remember what you were feeling at that time.

I’ll bet if you were to describe your feelings they might include “scared”, “hurt”, “confused”, “lost”, “angry”, “frustrated”, or “disappointed”.

Irony Restated

Human instinct understands change is painful. Our early warning system for pain is fear (probably tied to the physical). Instinct says be scared of change because it’ll hurt. Fear and pushback is meant to protect.

But it’s pain that helps us grow. If we were to avoid every instance of pain, as instinct wants, we’d never learn anything. The irony is, to grow we’re going to hurt, and by nature we avoid hurt.

Selling Change

When selling change, prepare for the instinctual fear. Develop bridges that link the new with the known. Present the inevitable and logical progression. Context for the new is everything. Without a link and rationale back to the known, the new is off floating in space. And instinct says no way.

Those are rational tactics. Prepare yourself for the emotional as well. Not that you can avoid emotional response to change, someone else’s or your own. But awareness engenders compassion. And if you’re expecting some form of emotional pushback, you’re in better shape to work with it. Rather than strangling it.

This is true for sales of new services or products, making business changes, even for dealing with change yourself.

We’re all in the same boat when it comes to growth-change-pain. Individually, we just take it at different speeds.

I once read that without pain we wouldn’t know we were alive. That’s the good news about pain. It means we’re alive and there’s an important lesson waiting to be learned. Even if it’s not immediately visible.

How Do You Sell Change?

Technorati tags: growth, change, learning

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