Why is change so hard for most of us to deal with? Well, for one reason, it takes a huge commitment on our part to see what needs to be done and then do everything we need to do to make the change successful. Machiavelliknew it was hard. He said “there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” John Kotter, Harvard Business School’s leading thinker on change leadership, suggests we create little wins and develop a culture of success in our organizations. In Good to Great, Jim Collins gives us the concepts of a flywheel, with the idea that we continue to build upon small achievements over time in order to make change stick.
From time to time we also hear about real life stories that are fabulous examples of commitment. A few years ago during our annual neighborhood golf outing to Ocean City, Maryland, a friend of mine, David Burt, revealed that he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. We were all floored. To be fair, Dave wasn’t the poster boy forBody For Life, but he also wasn’t your typical couch potato. We were all shocked at Dave’s diagnosis but what we’ve learned since that day, is that Dave is now the poster boy for the word “commitment.”
In fact, last week, Dave received the good news that he longer was suffering the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes and that he could come off his medications. It turns out that Dave made a commitment to beating his diabetes and he did. He actually ran himself right out of the diagnosis and right into a drug free life.
Dave made the commitment to eating right and running. His commitment lead him down the path of running and eventually entering a number of local 10k races (in fact Dave and I ran a race together last fall). This past weekend, Dave competed the ultimate runners challenge finishing the Under Armor Baltimore Marathon in 5 hours and 19 minutes. Now that is impressive!
We hear a lot of stories, mainly from big pharma, about the wonderful outcomes of miracle drugs, but from my sensibilities, this is an even better story. Think about it for a second. Going from a sedentary lifestyle with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes to eliminating your need for drugs and finishing a full length marathon. This was an incredibly difficult change and the commitment took years to see the full results.
Dave saw the need for change, made the commitment and literally ran his way to good health.
Take that Machiavelli!