Take Courage To Change In 2019

Jan 8th, 2019


“Anyone or anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you”

David Whyte, Sweet Darkness

Sweet Darkness by David Whyte is one of my all-time favourite poems. It exquisitely captures the value of reflective time in order to emerge with clarity and focus for new directions. I often share it with clients during their Vision Intensive Days, and it seems appropriate to share it at the start of this New Year, for those of you seeking significant change in 2019.

You may be in control of the change, with a burning ambition you want to make happen. The change may be imposed, a life event such as redundancy. But often change is fuelled by something in between: from boredom – you are coasting at work or no longer being stretched; through to pain – work and personal life out of balance, lack of recognition or career opportunities, a clash of values or an unsupportive boss.

Change means making decisions: doing something that scares you or doing nothing and being resigned. Often this resignation of the status quo builds into resentment, usually unconscious, yet it has the habit of showing up in everything we do and say. Our motivation goes down and we stop growing. It takes courage to make decisions however small they are, yet once you take the first step, things begin to happen. 

To create lasting change in 2019, ask yourself: “What are the decisions I need to make that will make this year a great one for me?” To help you, here are eight prompts:


What do I really want, and why?

Why do you want this change? What do you want it to bring for you? Do you want more freedom, more family balance? Now ask yourself; what are my greatest strengths, my values? What am I passionate about, what brings me alive? Do I prefer giving direction or taking it?  Also reverse the perspective: What drains me? What am I tolerating that I no longer want to?

What drives my success?

Successful people often skip over their achievements and focus on the ‘next thing’. Write down your achievements to crystallise your success. You will see how much you have done with your life so far. Now ask yourself: What is the main thread that led me to this success? And how can I use this as I go forwards?

What do I believe I am capable of?

Many of my clients are exceptionally talented. However, their mindset can sometimes limit them. One particular client was invited to apply for a significant promotion, a responsibility her CEO and other stakeholders believed she was capable of fulfilling. She accepted, but her inner doubts about her legitimacy created enormous stress. She was holding herself too small. With positive feedback from stakeholders, she started to recognise her true identity. We often keep ourselves small, even when others have confidence in us. Who do you need to be in 2019 and how can you be that person right now?

Have I considered all my choices?

Working with a coach or mentor can provide process, structure and perspective to calm a restless mind to make decisions. We often have more choices than we realise and sometimes an unexpected choice presents itself. A client was recently ready to hand in his resignation.  After viewing the situation from different angles, he saw an opportunity and embraced a new challenge. Equally, if a complete change of direction is too daunting or not practical, consider a gradual transition. Another client has changed their role to part-time to give them the time to plan and focus on achieving their ambition. What situation are you currently viewing where the choices seem limited?

What will be my first step?

The first step takes courage but change is a path, not a one-stop destination. Remember, you cannot build a reputation based on what you are going to do. The first change may not be ‘perfect’ but it will get you closer, and clearer on the ideal. My own entrepreneurial journey includes sports coach in Australia, head-hunter in Toronto and property director in Asia. My executive coaching journey crystallised when I resigned as director and was asked to coach a team. This led to setting up Potential Plus International in 2001. What ‘imperfect’ first step could you take today?

What if…?

‘What ifs?’ have served me well throughout my life. What risks are you willing to take to make the change happen? Now prepare a contingency plan for all of them to reduce the level of surprise. For example, if you are setting up a new venture, do you have enough capital to buffer you for the first year? If you are seeking a new role or promotion, have you prepared a succession plan so it is easier for people to say yes?

What will I stop doing?

If you decide on new actions to bring about a desired change, you will need to create the space to fulfil those ambitions. If you simply add new actions on top of your existing ones, your action list becomes unmanageable and unfocused, stress increases and your change efforts will be frustrated. What can you delegate? What can you stop doing altogether?

And if it doesn’t work first time…?

I love Henry Ford’s quote: ‘Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.’ Embrace setbacks as learning opportunities and try again. Inevitably people look back at these times as invaluable cross-roads to a better path.  When have you failed and what did you learn?

Whatever decisions you make in 2019, above all, aim to be your biggest and best self. Celebrate your successes and achievements. And enjoy the journey.


Would you like to take time out of your day-to-day to clarify your ambitions  and make meaningful change for you, your teams and your organisation?  Bookings are now open for our 2019 One-to-One Vision Intensive Programme.


Related Articles:

Think Big To Propel Your Vision

The Power of Personal Vision on Performance

Make 2019 A Year That Matters