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Purposeful Change

Purposeful Change

Over the years, we have heard of the different names to describe our influences.



Charioteer Unruly Horse
Planner Doer
Rider Elephant

“What looks like laziness may just be exhaustion.” – Susan Heath

Constant conflict between the rider (your analytical side) and a two-ton elephant (your emotional side) is exhausting. So as some people may view others as lazy, they may actually be exhausted from the rider and elephant going back and forth. There are three steps in order to help yourself not have a constant inner battle and become exhausted.

Direct the Rider. Your rider likes to be the voice of the elephant. The rider loves to handle problems. What is working? What’s going well when everything else seems to be collapsing? That is where it’s crucial to find the bright spots. A bright spot is a success that you can learn from and want to duplicate. There is one exception question though: where is the problem not happening?

In order to direct the rider, you must script the critical moves. It’s imperative to be clear about the move. What looks like resisting change is most likely just a lack of clarity. Remember, clear is kind! Unclear is unkind.

Now that you have scripted the critical moves, there must be a destination. The rider will tell you where you’re going and let you know when you can celebrate.

Motivate the Elephant. You will not motivate people to change with information. Find the feeling that will pull at people. If change seems too large, we tend to ignore and avoid it.

In order to motivate the elephant (the emotional side), we must highlight an identity that makes people feel proud, confident, and wanted. “When people come to share a common identity, it becomes part of their culture, further reinforcing the identity.”

What is your identity that empowers others?

Shape the Path. Build a habit to help reduce conflict between the rider and elephant. A habit puts us on autopilot. What if you were able to create an instant habit? This is called an action trigger. An action trigger allows you to picture exactly WHERE AND WHEN you will do something. In order to help shape the path, you need to rally the herd. Behavior is contagious and can help you bring attention to the successes and bright spots.

In order for change to happen, you must make people receptive to want to change. They want and need to know the why behind the change. Change is difficult, but with clarity and reinforcing the bright spots, the goal is attainable.


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