To Change Anything You Need the Push and the Pull

[ PDF Download ] For many, the New Year represents an opportunity for change. Whether that’s at the personal level with resolutions that require a change in habits, like losing weight or getting a promotion, or at the team level with new initiatives or objectives. 

Once you decide to make a change, the question then becomes, do you push through the change or pull the change forward?

Pushing is about moving away from your current situation, and pulling is about moving towards something new. 

The mistake many make is choosing a side — a push or a pull. But, most of the time that only leads to failed efforts and frustration because just pushing or pulling only motivates you for a short while. 

It’s been my experience that successful change whether that’s in beliefs, habits, behaviors, or results comes from the right balance of both. In fact, I find the most successful change makers have a two-step process that I am suggesting to you today. It is simple yet very effective. 

Step one is to PUSH, and step two is to PULL.

push pull of change

The push is turning the engine on and the pull keeps the engine running. You need both to reach your destination.

To explain, let me give you a personal example. A few years back I was very unhealthy. All the vision boards and dreams of losing twenty pounds didn’t seem to motivate me enough to stick to any fitness or diet program. No matter how many pictures of women with abs I stuck on my bathroom mirror, nothing lasting. Then one day I saw a picture of myself that horrified me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was at that moment that I had enough. I remember being so angry. I went straight into the kitchen, threw all the junk food away, and went for a long angry walk as I plotted how I was going to get away from my current reality. The push of not wanting to be in the situation I was in was the kickstart I needed to get moving. But, that kickstart does wear down. You can only be angry or fed up for so long. I quickly realized I needed to also create a compelling future for myself. I didn’t do vision boards or any of the usual goal setting. Instead, I created a 30-day calendar with a list of all my “whys.” Those whys were my compelling future. You see, I needed both the push and the pull of change to succeed. 

Again, the push is turning the engine on and the pull keeps the engine running. You need both to reach your destination.

A colleague of mine once told me that she hit a breaking point one day at work that became the kickstart to taking her business to the next level. She had had enough of low-paying, high-maintenance clients. She told me she threw her computer across the room (don’t suggest you do that) and vowed, “no more.” She said no to some potential work that would have fed her current frustrations and then mapped out a new path to her seven-figure business. The rage of her current situation put her on the path and then her compelling vision kept her moving forward. She told me, “I kept the busted computer as a reminder to never go backward, but it’s the new possibilities that kept me motivated on the tough days.” 

If you lead a team, what about today is so painful your team can’t stay there? 

Both at the individual and team level, you’d be amazed at how comfort and status quo makes it easy to put up with a lot of unacceptable behaviors and results so dig deep on this one before deciding what is creating the push. Once you find the real pain that you desperately want to move away from, build a future so compelling it propels you forward