Timeline or Transformation?

Hand arranging wood block stacking as step stair on paper pink background. Business concept growth success process, copy space.

I have worked on deadlines most of my life. Whether it was in systems integration, building TV facilities for broadcasters and others; or marketing, where I develop materials, social media campaigns or product launches, deadlines are a fact of life. As a writer for magazines and blogs, timelines are crucial. When things need to get done, almost inevitably, there is a timeline to meet.

So the temptation is, when we are working towards a transformational change, to put it on a timeline as well. I believe that is a mistake.

You see, a transformation change is more than a series of tasks. It combines tasks, looking inward, breaking down barrier thoughts, trying things out (and sometimes failing). A transformational change depends on the never predictable heart and soul as well as the work and actions.

This is true whether we are individuals or organizations.

When we put transformational change on a timeline, and miss a couple of the milestones, our inner critics start to doubt the whole idea of transformation. “What was I thinking?” we ask ourselves. “We can’t do this.” we tell ourselves.

Those thoughts are self-defeating. But they are inevitable if we insist of nailing down the milestones of change to dates. Instead, we should be looking at transformation as a series of steps and stops. Doing and thinking. Allowing each one to work at their own pace. Trusting a process that may have the steps laid out, but doesn’t force you into a series of deadlines.

It’s the trajectory that matters. Persistence.  Doing something towards our goals, even if that something is simply thinking, looking inward. Don’t worry about the big goal. Take the next step. And the next.

You will get there, and when you do, you will get there transformed, not merely having gone through the steps, but letting the heart and soul come to your place of transformation at their own pace, having absorbed and internalized the change.

Only then, is transformation complete.

What happens, whether we are changing as individuals or corporately, is that if we put a timeline on transformation, instead of “getting there”, we get the steps done, but our hearts and souls and minds are only partially there.

The result is a semi-transformation, still full of resistance, and self-recrimination for not actually having transformed, only changed a few methods.

And that’s not what we want.

So slow down. Take your heart and soul along for the journey. Transformation is possible, absolutely possible. And absolutely worth the little extra time.

Be well. Travel wisely,


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