How do I move from yesterday to tomorrow?

by Sam on August 3, 2010

One-Minute Answer:  I’ve got some troubling habits to change.


They reduce my effectiveness and my value to the people I love and to those I serve. How do I (and you) reverse patterns of dysfunctional behavior that are based in hard wiring (DNA) and have crept into soft wiring (learned over time)? We both know the answer: With great difficulty!


And what about the struggles of others who rely on me for inspiring change leadership? How do I (and you) equip them to achieve transformation?


Dozens of experts have written books to answer the question at the top of this page. One I recommend is Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People for Change by Miller and Rollnick. While written for clinicians who provide professional treatment, its insights on the subject are applicable to change agents in a variety of settings.


Other experts take a different route. They give us quips, quotes, and clever remarks to inspire us on our personal change journey. The call is yours. Read Miller and Rollnick or check out the one-liners below. Both have been immensely helpful to me.



Five-Minute Answer:  Do these ideas encourage you to strive for personal improvement? And do they give you thoughts of how to initiate change in your leadership role?


Changing Yourself


A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache.”  ~Catherine the Great

[What’s your first reaction when others suggest that you need to change your behavior?]

One of the best lessons children learn through video games is that standing still will get them killed quicker than anything else.”  ~Jinx Milea & Pauline Little

[Do you sometimes wish you can get away with the comfort of standing still?]

History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that’s worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.”  ~Henry Ford

[Do you secretly long to return to an idealized past?]

If you won’t be better tomorrow than you were today, then what do you need tomorrow for?”  ~Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav

[If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.]

When you’re through changing, you’re through.”  ~Bruce Barton

[There will always be room to advance. Have at least one personal improvement goal in progress at all times.]

It is the truth we ourselves speak rather than the treatment we receive that heals.”  O. Hobert Mowrer

[Are you telling yourself that you can change or do you lament the enormity of it all?]

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”  ~John Wayne

[What have you learned from yesterday that you’ll not repeat?]


Leading Change in Others


Be the change you want to see in the world.”  ~Mahatma Gandhi

[Do people see you living what you expect of them?]

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.”  ~Abraham Lincoln

[Point out when your people get bogged down in nostalgia. Stay away from there yourself!]

Time makes more converts than reason.”  ~Thomas Paine

[Be patient with others; they may need more time than you do to come around.]

It is not patients who should comply with their doctor’s demands, but doctors who should comply with their patients’ informed and considered desires.”  ~S. Holm

[Consult people for their ideas before implementing change that affects them, and once implementation is underway listen to their fears and concerns.]

What people really need is a good listening to.”  ~Mary Lou Casey

[A great way to eliminate their resistance to change.]

That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another.”  ~Adlai Stevenson

[Give your people concrete examples of outcomes accepted as a matter of course today that once were considered impossible to achieve.]

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”  ~Yogi Berra

[Thanks for the insight, Yogi.]

The big won’t beat the small¾the fast will beat the slow.”  ~John Chambers

[Do you and your people understand the need for speed?]

If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

[The “Pygmalion Effect” really works!]

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this generation.”  ~Robert F. Kennedy

[Don’t expect miraculous turnaround from others. Celebrate each discrete transformation and you’ll encourage them to make bigger ones.]


Enough Said:  “Nothing endures but change.”  ~Heraclitus


Breakthrough!  Pick two quotations from above—one in the first section that will help you  thrive in the midst of the change the world throws at you and one in the second section that will help you be a better resource to the people who look to you for change leadership.


Two Weeks Away:  On August 18th our final set of quotations for the summer will help us all on the topic of convincing others to accept our ideas, buy our products, and use our services. The question for the week will be, “What are the most inspirational thoughts about selling?” A special link imbedded in that ASK will lead you to a brand new book featuring insights from the top 100 sales teachers in America. And you know someone who’s on the list!

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