Chances are you’ve had a go at some form of behavioral modification over the years. The multi billion dollar self help industry is a testament to our desire to improve ourselves and change things. Just check your local bookstore Amazon.
Money, fat, sex, cigarettes, fame… and on the list goes! We’re constantly dissatisfied – always wanting vastly MORE of some things and radically less of others.
Despite the plethora of guides out there, my experience helping people move closer to goals has taught me that there’s really just two ways people change and grow. This article lays down the pros and cons of both, for your consideration.
This is the closest thing to a shortcut you’ll ever get…
The Slow & Steady transformation model
The name says it all really – this is self development the way your grandparents did it. Insert tortoise metaphor here.
The pros of Slow & Steady:
- Beginning is really straight forward. Day one of “the new you” feels a lot like the old you.
- You build momentum. Incremental change gets easier and easier as time goes by.
- Other people tend to admire the progress you’ve made, because they see you working hard at it.
- You’ll find it easy to connect with a bunch of cool people on the same journey (find a group training for a marathon and you’ll see what I mean).
The cons of Slow & Steady:
- It takes enormous willpower to make slow and steady work. Building momentum without radical acceleration requires huge torque.
- Since we tend to have limited quantities of willpower, it’s usually only possible to change one thing in your life at a time this way.
- You will come across people who have achieved what you’re trying to achieve as a tortoise… except they did it as a hare. Observing them is the definition of demoralizing.
- People who don’t share/are jealous of your objectives will attempt to sabotage your progress, almost daily.
The Phoenix from Ashes transformation model
Again, no real intro required. This is the explosive existential crisis that results in a monumental shift in one’s life. Big change never happens faster!
The pros of being a Phoenix:
- You’ll burst from the ashes in such a tower of flames and bright lights that your whole world will pay attention. People will want to idolize/interview you.
- You’ll have really good before/after photos. Or financial statements.
- The acceleration of your change will be such that you’ll have to fall really, really far to get back to where you started.
- You’ll feel super satisfied with yourself – similar to placing in a marathon or summiting a huge mountain.
The cons of being a Phoenix:
- (following on from the above) … but other people will, behind your back, call it “luck”.
- The cost of burning yourself into ashes (the necessary first step) will literally destroy you. That’s kinda the idea.
- You will, for a short while, drop every single ball you’re juggling.
- The impact/power of ashes-to-phoenix experiences diminishes at the same rate the frequency increases. Change this way too often and it becomes an act of theatre – not for real.
It’s a tough choice
That’s my ultimate point. Most people attempt one or another (or a trial of both) by unconsciously selecting a method. Perhaps it’s our childhood conditioning or our mentors to blame… but overall, we have a strange habit of not deciding how to change when we first set out to transform ourselves.
Both options have merits – both come with enormous price tags. The decision is difficult but the act of making it is simply overlooked! Most people don’t actively choose, even though they can and should.
I’ve done both, personally. I’ve built a business using both techniques – slow and steady built my private therapy biz (it took years) and I was as close to phoenix as I think I could get with my whole online thing. Took me 4 months from launch to completely replace my corporate consulting income. Also required me to ditch all my old clients, have a melt down and run away to the mountains.
I’ve also done the same with more personal behavior change. Exercise has ALWAYS been a phoenix thing – which seems counter-intuitive to a lot of people. If you think phoenix weight loss is impossible, just watch The Biggest Loser. Those people get completely broken then built back up again… and it WORKS.
So, important questions for important readers (you’re one of them):
What kind of change have you favored?
How’s that working out for you?
Do you transform your business results the same way you change your personal-life behaviors?
What do you think made you lean toward one or the other in the past?