What Stirs You To Change?


A speaker once caught my attention in a unique way. He began by saying, "What can't you stand anymore? What is that image or thought that stirs you to change your behaviors? He continued by giving an example near and dear to my childhood-Popeye the Sailor Man!

For those of you 40 and under who are saying, "Who is Popeye?" let me help you out. The Popeye cartoon series was built around a scrawny sailor named Popeye and his girlfriend Olive Oil. Olive Oil was frequently in danger or being kidnapped by a bad guy. When Popeye could not take seeing Olive Oil in peril anymore (or became overwhelmed with jealousy), he would say, "I've had all I can stands, I can't stands no more!" He would then eat spinach, his muscles would pop out, and he would save his beloved Olive Oil. You can find out more about Popeye by clicking here.

For all the talk about data, organizational growth, increasing market share, and a hundred other valid reasons to change, a primary driver for most of us to change is something that stirs our emotions in a meaningful way. Even if the person being asked to change won't be significantly affected by the outcome, they are often willing to give it their best effort if there is a high degree of trust with their supervisor. If their supervisor is fired up, they tend to feed off that energy.

Stop for a moment and look around your work area. Where do you feel your emotions rising? Look at your task list or calendar. What meetings or events do you see that you "feel" a sense of dread, fear, or frustration about? While taking action might require some "mental spinach," you know that handling them now (in an appropriate way) will give you a sense of clarity and resolution that will return those negative emotions to a healthy level later.

About what can you "stands no more?" (With apologies for the grammar to all English teachers).