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The Challenge in Changing Behaviors

by Leadership Participant

I have read the pages in our binders on Neuroscience and Leadership many times in the last few months.  It comforts me to know why it’s so difficult to change my old habits.  On some level I realize that making changes to behaviors will cause a certain amount of pain or unpleasant feeling.  My instinct is to stay in my comfort zone and try not to leave it.  However, the cost of staying there is missing out on ideas, opportunities, and new relationships.

When I review the goals I wrote last November they seem so simple on paper.  Nothing I wrote down is difficult, complicated, or even remotely impossible yet I have not made them my priorities.  They are still relevant goals in my work but I have yet to make them habits.  What am I waiting for?  I have changed habits in my life.  I know I can do it.  I know there are benefits to doing so.  I have made some changes at work that are helping me work more productively but I admit I have only picked the low hanging fruit.  Adding intentional focus to my life has helped me face the pain of change and made it shrink.  At the very least just recognizing when I’m falling back on an old habit is valuable because I’m forced to be intentional and confront the change I need to make.  It’s not quite natural yet but I’m hoping in time it will at least feel less unpleasant.  To quote Jillian Michaels – You need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable!  It’s time for me to reach for the top fruit.  I’m ready.

A very valuable change I’ve made during this program to date has been in working with my local cohort to practice coaching, doing the SWOT analysis and also taking what we’ve learned to the other managers in our department.  We have improved communication within our department, identified some issues that need addressed, and are working on implementing some initiatives to take advantage of opportunities.  I’m excited about the way we have clicked and the direction we’re taking our department already.

I also want to reflect on the value I see in the relationships we’re all building with each other across the campuses.  I had heard about the MOR program from a previous attendee who had traveled to various other schools with cohorts outside of Nebraska.  At first I thought that we would be missing out on the diversity of being in a cohort with other schools and the perspectives that could bring.  But now I believe we’re very lucky to be working within our university system and building the relationships that will serve us well for many years to come.