But in fact, most of us are rubbish at it.
I, for one, thought I was a great change agent.
Until I decided to change my life direction and found that I instinctively clung on to stuff for no reason.
Last year, I left a solid Executive Director role at a leading UK institution with a board position, good salary and pension. Plus, holidays and bonuses of course.
It was a great job which I had done well, but I felt after 4 years I wanted a change of direction.
For much of my career I have been outside the UK; I have worked and lived in over 6 countries in Europe and the US. So, the plan was to move back to Europe; Barcelona more specifically.
I had planned well – I told my CEO well in advance so as not to disrupt the business and she fully supported me. I started scoping out what I would do in my new world, how I would do it, and which contacts I would reach out to.
I would start my own business consultancy. My wife is employed a global consultancy and works remotely anyway. It shouldn’t be too difficult, I thought.
In one month, I quit my job, rented out the house, sold the car and moved from London to Barcelona.
I jumped off the corporate ladder.
Things didn’t go to plan – I realised that whatever you plan, the end result is always different. I initially regretted my decision but discovered that we all go through the same ‘change curve’ of emotions, so nothing new here for me. I persevered and stuck to my guns, pivoted my new business model into a gap in the market and learnt new skill sets.
The change was tough, but it was totally worth it.
I feel I have come out a lot stronger, wiser and smarter and in a new direction.
And I also realise that I am useless at change, like most of us.
- Make a detailed plan
- Plans don’t normally go to plan. Be prepared to adapt
- It’s tough at the beginning. We all go through this phase
- Keep focused on your end goal
- Build new networks – don’t rely on existing ones completely
- Be pragmatic and take the punches. Covid for example.
- Keep innovating with smart ideas
- Don’t look back