Go with the Flow or Be the Change You Want to See?

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As leadership styles have changed over the years, perhaps one of the biggest shifts has been towards the idea of ‘going with the flow’. This approach would have been considered a bit too soft for the dynamic leader of a decade or two ago, when the main focus was on ‘making it happen’. Recently, however, the value of the concept is becoming clearer.   Let’s start out by defining these apparently opposing approaches:

Be the change you want to see

This suggests deciding what we want, and then putting into place structures and action plans to achieve our goal. We could also choose to behave as if what we are aiming for has already occurred, thus setting an example for others. This is an approach that can take us far. However the downside is that when things don’t go according to plan, it can be very stressful and frustrating.

Going with the flow

This implies a greater acceptance of change and making use of the circumstances we find ourselves in, rather than trying to actively control them. A certain amount of letting go is required as we learn to roll with the punches, rather than getting upset by them. It can be far less stressful and allows us to take advantage of new opportunities. However the danger is that we may end up getting side-tracked from our goals.

So which is better?

Perhaps true mastery lies in a combination of both of these equally powerful approaches, each of them used appropriately. So we might start out with a good idea of what we want to achieve and perhaps even how we’d like to get there. We would then put into motion as much of that plan as we can conceive of at that point.   Then as circumstances change, rather than feeling the world is conspiring against us and getting angry about it, we could try to step back to see the bigger picture and a different perspective: perhaps the world is conspiring for us as it presents new and possibly even better possibilities. With that in mind and given the new set of circumstances, how could we adapt our plans to make the new opportunities work for us?   As we practise this skill and in the process learn to not only catch the waves of change but also harness their power, we may even find ourselves beginning to enjoy life more – in all its perfection and all its chaos.

If you’d like to learn how to ride the waves of life on the way to your goal, contact me on coaching@denisehuntglobal.com for a free Discovery session.

3rd September 2014