A very wise mentor (Marvin Weisbord at http://futuresearch.net) reminded me in a recent meeting of this eternal truth—that the future is now. He should know, as the organization he founded, Future Search, is clearly all about the future.
He knows that it is what we say and do today that brings about the desired future. Each step, each word today creates the platform for something that is either growing or decaying. Remember that clincher line from the movie Shawshank Redemption? “You either get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’”.
I sit on my local Y’s strategic planning committee. We want so badly to change, to engage in stronger causes for our community, but we struggle to define them clearly and distinctly from the “gym and swim” services we are known for.
How do we get busy livin’? We kinda sorta know it’s about the steps we take today, but we’re caught in the worries of recessionary times, and the fear of doing something different. We know the community is changing, the needs are changing, yet we grapple with how to hit the right needs and stay solvent as an organization.
Comfort is the enemy of change. Like the frog who is put in a pot of cold water, which is then set to boil, it’s often too late to jump out of the boiling pot, the old comfort, when we finally realize the old comforts aren’t serving us any more.
I ran into this twice today, once on the organizational front, and again in a personal coaching session. The comfort of habit is powerful. For organizations, the addage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is the sinker. For individuals, it’s the devil I know that seduces us, versus the devil I don’t know?the gamble of change, that scares us away. We fool ourselves into thinking that it’s OK, it’s as “good as it gets”. We each ride the sine wave of life, not realizing that we have the power to supercharge it with something more.
And though the answer is easy, it surely isn’t simple to do. It requires us to get up and move, to ask others what they think, to find the common ground between what we can offer, and what the world needs of us. And this requires us to think together, to borrow other’s ideas, to look at the whole picture before we invest in changing a part.
Whether it is individual change or organization change, understanding the whole picture and building bridges that lead us away from comfortable old habits, which threaten to boil us, is the most important place to start. Fear is a pretty ugly four letter word.
The future is now. What are you thinking, what are you saying, and what are you doing, right now? How do you get busy livin’ today?