There comes a point in any change process where things start to backslide. It happens with human change as well as organizational change. In the past week I’ve had at least 3 people come to me feeling a little disappointed in the backward movement they were experiencing. I, on the contrary, was thrilled for them.


Why was I thrilled that my clients were moving backwards? Because your power lies in what you notice.

 In August I attended a powerful 8-day retreat run by the folks who started the Challenge Day organization. They have a very simple formula for change: notice, choose, act. Note the first step is notice.

If you can’t notice something you can never change it.

So, this week when my clients were feeling poorly about the fact that they’d experienced a bit of backward movement, I explained why I was thrilled. The fact that they’re able to notice when this happens is what will carry them forward long past the time when we’re working together. Noticing is not only the first step in changing anything; it’s the foundation for resilience. Being able to notice when old habits, patterns or behaviors are creeping back in gives you the power to change them.

Progress is not a nice, even, uphill slope, as much as we’d like to imagine it that way. It’s often a very jagged path made up of big leaps forward, small steps backward, small steps forward and big falls backward. This is completely normal and needs to be normalized in the world of personal & professional development. There is no expansion without at least a little contraction; so if you’re like the folks I talked to last week and are feeling down about some progress that’s slipped, take a breath and try to be kind to yourself. This is all part of the process and the fact that you are aware of what’s happening is proof that you’re moving in the right direction.