In a previous life, I worked in Human Resources and Organisational Development projects. A key part of this work was leading large scale change, and teaching others how to manage change. The model that we used most in this work was John Kotter’s Change Leadership model.
The first step of the model, and the step that I personally think is the most important, is to create a sense of urgency. In an organisational sense, this stage is about having a compelling reason for making the change, and making people not just understand but feel the need for change.
This step has been floating around in my brain a lot lately. Because although there are a lot of great things about being a lady of leisure, one of the greatest challenges is creating this sense of urgency. And putting that lady of leisure in perhaps the most relaxed country on earth, certainly doesn’t make it any easier. When I get up in the morning, sure I could do the dishes straight away. But there are 9 more hours in the day for those. When I sit down to write, sure I could have a mammoth session, and get a few thousand words down. But there are so many more days for that. When I’m feeling a bit down, sure I could make a real effort to work through it, but there’s no real need – I have the time to wallow for a bit.
In some ways this is great. When I am exhausted, I love having the flexibility to have a nap in the afternoon, and do my writing later. If a friend wants to meet for a coffee, I love that I can just do it. If I feel like a massage would be nice, I can head into town and get one.
But in some ways, it’s not so great. I love my life, but there are also things I want to change. I want to be a more consistent blogger and housewife. I want to write more and read more. I want to walk and think more. I want to meditate.
So I’m getting back to my roots, and trying to find some ways to create urgency in a very non-urgent life. The first step of the change model is really about WHY change is necessary. In my situation, the very simple reason is that I want to change. I want to come back from Brunei a different person, and I want it to be a positive change. I want to get a better understanding of what motivates me, and what creates positive energy in my life. I want to know as much as possible about myself, and how to live an authentic and awesome life. And every day that I’m here can either be a move forward along that journey, or a step in the wrong direction. I want most days to be the former.
I understand that vision. I feel it. But even so, I need some strategies to translate that urgency into action. Here are some of the ideas I’ve had so far:
- Put it out into the world for accountability.
It’s very easy to keep these things to yourself when you’re home alone all day. I hope that putting this out into the internet, and letting my friends, family, and readers know, will give me the little nudge I need to make some changes.
- Create a solid morning routine.
Usually, if I get off to a good start, my day will be fairly productive and satisfying. So if I have a consistent start to my day, involving yoga, meditation, and writing, it will be a step in the right direction. I’m not sure exactly what the routine will look like, but I’m working on it.
- Get someone else on board.
As much as I would like to have intrinsic personal motivation for everything, there are some things that just don’t do it for me. Like dishes. Having some else (The Engineer) check in to make sure that I’ve done those things helps me to stay on track. Fortunately, he’s a pretty good boss.
- Create deadlines and challenges, even if they’re arbitrary.
One thing I have always found very effective in my life is to create short term challenges. For example, in 2011 I didn’t buy any new clothes, to challenge myself to be more creative with my wardrobe. In September last year, I did a Whole 30 (cutting out sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, soy, and alcohol) to understand how food affected my health. And there have been numerous others. The length of these challenges, and the goals included are fairly arbitrary. But once I’ve committed to them, I’m pretty good at sticking to them. Using this same logic, I am currently working on Yoga Every Damn Day for the whole month of June, and will soon be adding something for July (a writing challenge, but I’m not sure what yet!)
It has taken me a while to write this post. The idea has been floating around in my head for a while, and I’ve been thinking about what to include. It’s been surprisingly difficult to admit that the life of leisure is not all plain sailing for me. I understand that this is a great opportunity, and that is why this has been so hard. But I think that admitting the challenges is absolutely necessary for making the most of this opportunity, and the list of ideas I have above feels like a positive, but not too strenuous way to do that.