Whether you want personal change or institutional change, there are some things you need to accept about how it will happen.
There is no magic wand
It would be really nice if there were. Imagine “Poof!” and things are the way you’d like them to be. No messy transition. No some things are better but a lot of things are still not great.
Don’t let the fact that things won’t instantly be better stop you from doing anything. And don’t mistake the lack of immediate results for evidence that the change you made was pointless.
There isn’t a highway, either
When you know where you want to go (personally, institutionally, socially, politically, whatever), it is tempting to look for that straight, well-paved road that will take you there quickly and directly.
That doesn’t exist either. Sometimes it seems like you are on it, and then it turns out it doesn’t go all the way, or someone blew up a significant section of the highway and there is just a big crater.
Don’t let the fact that the path from here to your vision is twisty, narrow, potholed, or overgrown in places stop you from doing anything. When travelling a twisty road, it sometimes seems that you are going in the wrong direction and then you come to a curve and are suddenly back on track. When it’s overgrown and you can’t even see the destination, you have to trust that hacking through this stuff will bring you closer.
It will be slow. Some days it will be really really hard to move at all. Some days it will feel like the movement is all in the wrong direction.
Trust. Stop and look up from time to time. Adjust your course, but do so knowing that it is not a direct highway, but a twisty road of variable quality.
There are many roads that lead to this destination
You need to pick one. Other people may pick another. Try to accept that.
“When we are always focusing on the place we would like to be there is no true and honest place from which to begin the journey.” (Donna Farhi)
Try not to focus on all the things that are wrong with the road (yours or someone else’s). Focus on the part that helps you get where you want to go.Your road may merge with someone else’s and you can work together for a while. You have to focus on what you can do now. You have to trust that any contribution to this change is worthwhile.
Do what you can do. Get the support you need. And be the support someone else needs, even if only to say “You have chosen a different road and I wish you well on your journey.” The energy you might be tempted to put into criticizing others can be devoted instead to travelling the path you have chosen.
If you’d benefit from some help clarifying your vision and figuring out your next steps, I offer a Wayfinding service.
Edited June 1, 2016.