Gauging Your "Fuel" In Times Of Change

It was quiet inside the car. Where just a few minutes ago there was laughter and talk of a delightful evening out with friends, now there was just silence. All eyes were focused on the small gauge showing that the fuel level was at "E." With rain pouring down outside, the last thing any of us wanted to do was walk home. The driver had ignored the warning light signaling that the fuel was low, and now around each turn he expected the car to sputter as the last drop of gas was consumed. With no gas station for a few miles, the outcome did not look promising. As the digital fuel information now read, "0 miles until empty," the driver was already dreading the grief he would get from the other occupants in the car.

If you guessed that the irresponsible person driving was me, you would be correct. I had seen the warning light, but reasoned that I would have time to get gas later. Unfortunately, we were running late to meet with friends, and I again did not take time to purchase fuel. And while we were only 5-6 miles from our home, the hassle of either walking to get gas or calling someone to bring us fuel was not something I was looking forward to. If you're wondering, yes, we made it to the gas station.

The dilemma I faced is similar to the one experienced by many people when they are beginning to initiate a change. They strike out on the change journey but don't take a moment to determine what resources might be needed to move the change from idea to reality. Maybe they think the resources will just magically appear (like a gas station), or that the change won't require any additional information, support, or planning. More often than not, change of any size does require more resources than maintaining the status quo. And the most lacking resource (In my case, gas) becomes the point of focus instead of making the change a success.

If you are buckling up for a change journey, you might be wise to ask yourself some of the following questions to make sure you can go the distance:

  • What amount of time is necessary to make this change work? Do I have it available in my schedule? If not, what can I cut out (I call it "prune") from my current schedule to make room for working on the tasks associated with the change?
  • Whose support do I need in this change initiative? If I don't have it, what are my steps to get their approval? What type of support do I need from these individuals?
  • Do I have the personal motivation to work through this change? Do the thoughts of a successful outcome get me excited enough to stay the course when the curves, speed bumps, and detours start appearing?
  • What needs to change in my daily routine to support the change?

Failure to take a moment and review your answers to these "fuel sources" could mean that you are stopped short of achieving your desired outcomes... and the consequences would be much worse than having to walk a few miles in the rain... or endearing some grief from your spouse and children.