Change Hits Home

Pocket ChangeChange always hits hardest when it affects you personally. It’s even true for those of us who create change for a living. It doesn’t matter whether it’s making those healthy upgrades in the diet, improving business processes, or eliminating an annoying habit – it’s always easier when someone else is doing the changing. When you’re talking about change in my life, I always hope it’s what I found in the bottom of the vending machine or in the jar on my bedroom floor. The other kind is a bit painful.

My life follows the belch theory of change. The pressure to change builds up as more and more good reasons to change begin to press against the reasoning behind my inertia. Eventually, something provides a “shove” to start the change and the pressure is released as the change occurs. (Yup. That’s the belch part.) Once the change is complete, the pressure is gone, and inevitably I feel much better with the change in place.

I went through this entire cycle during the past month as I faced changes in my life. Many of you understand the struggles and hard work that building a new business requires: Developing a strategy, networking constantly to get the message out to the market, and then closing enough business to make it possible to start the cycle all over again. That’s the cycle where Launchpad Partners was stuck. Too much effort to make the business work the way we intended.

There were plenty of reasons to believe we were doing the right things. Our message was clear and concise. The network was growing each and every day. Readership of the blogs and newsletters were increasing. Live prospects were beginning to appear more and more frequently. Still, something was missing.

Change in HandPersonal events lead to more reflection. Death visited our house and my circle of friends repeatedly. Want to gain perspective? Watch a friend deal with the death of his 21 year-old son or another friend say goodbye to his best friend of 40 years. Standing over an open coffin or holding the ashes of someone you love changes the way one looks at life.

For me, it built up the urgency and pressure to address critical issues in my life and with the business. It caused me to work much harder on my relationship with my wife, focus much more clearly on our business model, and be much more aware of the spiritual elements lacking in my life. The exploration took several surprising turns – both good and bad – still the impetus to change was missing. The old and familiar was winning out over the pressure to change.

The giant belch came from a totally unexpected source. Usually, something close to home provides the KITA I need to move. This time it was a friend in Minneapolis who extended an offer to run his interim talent contracting business. The clear alternative pushed me to reconsider my actions in a new light. The solid entrepreneurial opportunity and a familiar city in the midst of family made it clear that change – as uncomfortable as it may be – was in order.

Mpls SkylineSo now I’m in Minneapolis writing this after a week in the new role and less than two weeks after accepting it. The house in Chicago is for sale (Let’s make a deal!). The outpost basics have been moved and are up and running in the new apartment. There are plenty of things that still need to be done in order for the change to be successful, but it still astounds me how the right change releases destructive pressure and replaces it with a healthy tension to get things done. This is a terrific move.

Sure, there are always difficult parts of any change and this one is no different. Leaving behind a Leaves Changepromising business and two dedicated partners makes me very sad. All of the great friends and good connections I made in almost two years of networking will need to be tended from 400 miles away. The growth opportunities Chicago presents each and every day will now be more remote and will need to be replaced by similar activities in the Twin Cities. These were all good and compelling arguments to avoid change.

Still, it was time for a change, the belch has happened, and we are heading to a new place. The blog will continue. New friendships will be formed. Vallon will be the new focus, and helping people find the immediate help they need to solve their business problems will be the new mission. Check us out at www.vallonllc.com and be sure to say “Hi!” when you come through our neighborhood.

In the meantime, personal change will go back to meaning the jangle in my pocket!


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October 2009
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