Can People REALLY Change? Here’s What You Need To Know
Photo credit: Ann Visser
Wondering whether a certain somebody in your life will always be the same… or if they can actually change?
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Can People Change… I Mean REALLY Change?
I was standing outside of a Paraguayan School, we had just taught junior high students how to facilitate leadership skills. And they were to continue the program for the next thirteen weeks. This was a part of a larger plan for Transformation Paraguay.
I was standing there with another John Maxwell Team coach and he said:
“Do you think this is really going to make a difference?”
I was shocked because I couldn’t believe that he had travelled all the way to Paraguay and he didn’t believe in the cause. It was like he was saying, “Do you really think that people can change?”
What do you think… is it possible for people to REALLY change?
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What People And Potatoes Have In Common
Before I answer that question, let me say first that people are a lot like potatoes. They both require a loooot of tending. A farmer can’t just put them in the ground, leave them and then wait for the harvest.
Instead, farmers need to tend them for the whole summer. They do things like looking for pests and throwing soil over the seed potatoes so they don’t turn green…
Did you know that when your potatoes turn green, that’s actually poisonous?
So, the farmer makes sure they don’t turn green so they’re safe for you to eat.
Another thing farmers do is always watch the weather to see if there’s enough rain. Some farmers will irrigate their crops so they can grow beautiful potatoes.
Because they know that consumers — that’s you (if you eat potatoes) — want beautiful potatoes.
The same thing happens to you and me. So, to answer your question… yes, it’s absolutely possible for people to change — it’s happened to me!
Thing is, growth doesn’t just happen on its own. People don’t just change on their own. And there are three specific ingredients that people need in order to grow.
Photo credit: Ann Visser
#1 – People Need A New Perspective To Change
It’s like a turning point and instead of continuing on the same path that we were walking on, we start down a new path.
That’s what happened to me when I was at a leadership conference. I was sitting in the audience but I was there for other people — not for myself! I didn’t see myself as a leader.
But then John Maxwell said, “If you have influence, then you’re a leader.” I don’t think I heard anything else after that…
I thought, “I have influence! I’m a leader!”
It changed the picture of who I was. I went home and I began to make changes. I began to step into the responsibility that I already had that I had been ignoring before. What John said gave me permission to be a leader. Gave me permission to step into those new places… and old places where I could lead.
It gave me a new perspective and it was a turning point in my life. That’s what a new perspective can do for you too!
#2 – People Need To Take Action To Change
This is about getting down in the trenches and walking the changes out. Because if you change nothing, nothing changes. We can dream all we want about the changes we want to make, but until we take action, nothing will happen.
“God provides the wind, but man must raise the sails.” ― St. Augustine
It means taking full responsibility for yourself, for what you think, what you feel and what you want. For the actions and choices you make every day in order to make the changes you want to make.
And I know from experience that this is hard work.
Photo credit: Transformation Paraguay
#3 – People Need To Find Support To Change
Because it’s hard to make changes, we need to have good people around us who support us and that believe in us. We need people who are further along in the journey so we can continue to be inspired and encouraged to make changes in the way that they’ve made in their own lives.
That’s why I joined the John Maxwell Team four years ago.
I needed to be around more like-minded people who were further ahead than me in the growth journey. And being part of a growth-minded community and getting mentored by leaders who are much further along than I am continues to encourage me to grow more than I ever could on my own.
Another great way to make changes in your life is through one-on-one or group coaching. If you’re looking for someone to believe in you more than you believe in yourself, I encourage you to find and hire a coach that you can work well with.
Which of these three ingredients do you need in order to change? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We love to learn from you!
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