hi! I haven't been posting lately because I'm involved in a super cool project that's been taking tons of my time. I'm sure I've mentioned here before that I coach probation officers in Motivational Interviewing. Well, for several years I've been doing that by phone, but I've recently started traveling to various locations around the state of Colorado to help train probation, parole, and corrections personnel so they can in turn help their peers to implement this evidence-based practice. It's beyond exciting to be surfing the first wave of a significant systemic change, and I feel tremendous respect for the folks I'm coaching.
So anyway, although I'm short on time I am still chock-full of ideas, and my desk is littered with tiny scraps of paper where I've scribbled things I want to write about. Unfortunately, if I don't post while the inspiration is fresh, I lose the thread and my notes don't make sense to me anymore. So I thought I'd better make time right away to write about an idea I heard from Elma Mayer at the end of her monthly teleconference this morning.
She was talking about change, and how sometimes even when we've made an internal shift, we go back into situations that have been problematic for us in the past expecting them to be that way again, which can make it tough to notice that anything has actually changed. Her suggestion was to notice what is new, rather than what is the same as before. I was immediately intrigued by this strategy.
So often we hear people write each other off: He's just that way. She's always been like that. See, this is how it always goes. I wonder what fun stuff might show up in our interactions if instead of seeking confirmation of what we've noticed in the past, we look for what's new.
There's always something new to focus on - I think it was Heraclitus who pointed out that we can't step in the same river twice. Maybe it will be something small; a change in tone, a pause, a tiny diversion from a routine, or a qualifier where there used to be an absolute (sometimes instead of always or never, some instead of all, etc.)
But since the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, the size of the change is not important. Noticing what is new could be a really great way to track progress, nurture optimism, and maybe even bring out the best in people.