Stop Dreaming of Changing Your Life (Start Doing!)

The other day I watched “The King’s Speech”, which is based on the true story of King George VI of England. The movie shares much wisdom with us how to make difficult decisions and create positive changes in the face of uncertainty and adversity.

After the death of his father King George V and the scandalous abdication of his brother King Edward VIII, “Bertie” (Colin Firth) reluctantly assumes the throne. He has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life and has lived in the shadow of his charismatic brother.

With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and self-doubt about being king, Bertie takes a leap of faith and delves into an unorthodox course of treatment, which eventually develops into a friendship between the two men. With the support and encouragement of his family, his government and Logue, the King overcomes his stammer and finds a voice to deliver a radio-address that inspires the whole nation and unites his people during the war.

Most of us resist change. It’s easier to find a 100 excuses why something won’t work than to deal with the challenges associated with change.

“The King’s Speech” movie offers 10 important lessons for those of us who have been dreaming of making important changes in life but not yet seen the results.

1) You need to want to make a change.

Any change starts from within. Find your voice. What do you stand for?

Having a clear purpose and defining your own reasons why the change is needed will fire up your motivation and activate your resourcefulness.

2) Make a commitment.

Making a commitment is making a deal with yourself that no matter what happens, you will implement the required change. Are you “interested” or “committed”? There are two excellent strategies to commit to change. First is putting a date in the diary when you wish bring your vision to life. You may also wish to circle the dates for the intermediate steps. Second – and this is particularly powerful – make some sort of a public announcement (eg. Facebook) about the date of your anticipated change.

3) There are no quick fixes.

Any worthwhile change is a process, which consists of small steps. Instead of doubting your abilities due to lack of fast results, view it as “work in progress”. The definition of “progress” in Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the process of improving or developing something over a period of time”.

4) Be willing to ask for help and accept it.

Asking for help takes courage. Accepting help is a sign of deep self-awareness of your limitations, and is a strength in itself.

When God couldn’t save The King, The Queen turned to someone who could.

5) Find a trusted mentor.

No matter who you are, how old you are or what is your profession, a good mentor can be an invaluable asset. A mentor can give you the benefit of his or her perspective, wisdom and experience. S/he can help you see a situation in a different light. A mentor can also help you define your career path, plan transition(s) ensuring that you don’t lose focus and that you keep going even when you become distracted by the day-to-day pressures.

It takes leadership to confront a nation’s fear. It takes a mentor to conquer your own.

6) Surround yourself with supportive people.

When you face any transition, you are likely to be fighting with the self-doubt ‘inner critic’. Many other people will doubt you too. In doing so, they may be projecting their own insecurities on to you, which has nothing to do with how capable you are to do what you say you want to do. That is why it is important to lessen contact with negative people who drain you of energy and instead to surround yourself with a “power team” of people who “get you”, who believe in you and who share your purpose and passion.

7) Be willing to be uncomfortable.

Moving from your “comfort zone” into the unknown can be scary. You need to have faith that any temporary discomfort will be far outweighed by the wisdom of the lessons learnt in transition, as well as the joy of reaching the ultimate goal.

8) Prepare “to fail” and to be imperfect.

Any transition is a bumpy road. The only real “failure” is not trying. The perfectionalists amongst us tend to delay making decisions or taking action, because we are desperate to always make “the right decision” and take “the right action”. Procrastination may seem benign but the time spent “thinking” is the time you could have spent figuring out what is “right” by doing and receiving real-life feedback. How about viewing success as a persistent pursuit of a worthy goal?

Perfection is never complete. Instead of being perfect, aspire to be EXCELLENT.

9) Make it about other people.

When King George VI shifted his focus from his ego to leading his people through war, the process of change acquired a new meaning. What would it take for you to be the best you could possibly be for the people you most care about?

10) Express gratitude.

Even the King expressed his gratitude to those who believed in him! People who are a part of your journey of transition will feel appreciated if you tell them what their support means to you. Don’t wait for the ultimate success. Nurture your supporters along the journey, and remember that gratitude has a magic power to come back to you in the most unexpected ways and opportunities.

The King overcame his speech impediment to become the nation’s inspiration. Is there anything you know you should do that you still haven’t done, something that if you did it, it would totally transform your life and would improve the lives of others too?

It’s your turn to find your voice and make that change.

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