I want you to cast your mind back to Aesop’s Fables and specifically, the Hare and the Tortoise story. Remember it? They have a race and the hare thinks “oh the tortoise is sooooo slow, I’m gonna win this easy” and then snoozes away under a tree. The tortoise takes the race at his pace, suiting his actions to his talents – determination, tenacity and courage. Tortoise wins the race, much to hare’s surprise.
Once you set off on your change journey, you can get tangled up in your own hare and tortoise dilemma.
Part of you will, I’m sure, be super keen to speed away towards your goal and then one or both of 2 things happen: You lose energy and drive, take a nap under your tree and then struggle to get going again. Or you get a lead as things come easy to you, so you back off the gas and take a nap under your tree and then struggle to get going again. Complacency isn’t change’s friend – you have to invest your time, effort and energies into making it happen.
Lesson #1: Don’t go at it like a bunny!!
There is also a part of you who REALLLLLLY wants to win your race. A part of you who can picture life in glorious technicolor with your change race won and is going to work at it until you get there.
But you recognise significant, permanent change requires a sustainable pace – your speed of change needs to be the one you can keep up until you cross the finish line. This means you’re able to tackle the easy and tough with the same level of zest, motivation and commitment. Just like the tortoise, who crossed the line at his slow and steady speed.
Lesson #2: Move at your own pace to create sustainable change.
I wonder what the other forest animals made of the betting odds on the start line. Would they have backed the hare as the likely winner? Or gambled on the tortoise’s wisdom? And how would those bets influence the competitor’s mindset?
The spectators and commentators in your change race might also be split on the outcome. Some will back you all the way and others might have some doubts. Whatever the type or size of change you’ll looking to achieve – your mindset and outlook will have a real impact. Who you gonna believe? Those on the sidelines or your gut, your instincts, your inner oomph?
The tortoise may not have been the obvious winner, but I bet he believed he could cross that finishing line ahead of the hare by doing it at his own pace.
Lesson #3: Believe you can win from the b in bang.
Aesop wanted his fables to deliver morals, ethics and strong values to his readers. OK my interpretation is probably not quite what he was thinking, but heck we’ll never know. My b-mail fable seeks to enable you to stretch your life in positive ways.
Enjoy the newness of the starting phase, but don’t let complacency slip in. Be realistic in your pace to ensure you can sustain your energy right across the finishing line and trust your ability to succeed.
How do these 3 lessons apply to your change journey? Have they made you rethink your timescale or shift your race mindset? I’d really like you to share your observations and thoughts in the comments.