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So you think you can't change people? Here's how you can

Three steps to make your boss, colleague or family-member a better person

Big people actively seek unworkability in their lives.

Smaller people spend their energy defending that their lives are already working.

It’s a hard call but its maybe the best definition of leadership I’ve ever heard.
How many of us actively look for things that don’t work in our lives?
The instinct is invariably to find a good reason for why things are ok how they are. They’re good enough, and if they’re not, it’s because of such-and-such a situation, or more likely because of so-and-so.
We all do it. The problem is that whenever we do, we have no power – and there is no leadership. You see, if the problem is ‘out there’, then so is the solution!

So what’s this got to do with changing people?

In my years as a change agent, and before that in personal development, I have seen people realise that the illness that’s about to kill them is the direct result of a toxic opinion they have about someone close to them… and then chose the opinion - over their own life!
The hardest thing to change about yourself is your opinions of other people.
We are hard-wired to have opinions and then forget they’re opinions, then wonder why people act certain ways around us… when we knew beforehand they would!

We relate to people like they really are the people we think (know) they are when what’s really going on is a dance between you. When you give up your opinions it’s like you step away from the dance… and suddenly no-one knows the next step, and something new becomes possible.

We’re all just sparks of consciousness wrapped in meat...

My partner said this to me the other day in the context of coaching me before a conversation I was nervous about having. I was about to call someone I knew was judgemental, opinionated and uncaring – a bully basically. I was angry with them for being that way when they didn’t have to be.

With the help of a coach I distinguished this was an opinion (though I reallywanted it to be the truth) and then rang them. Were they still loud, inappropriate and forceful on the call? Yes, but I started to hear their deep commitment to me and the work we do.

Suddenly I found we were having this amazing conversation, ranging across topics that had been taboo for over a year. Now I feel I can call them about anything. They’ve gone from being a barrier to my work to a partner. Our relationship transformed, all because of one pesky little opinion…