Last week, I posed the question, “Is the Great Resignation Actually the Next Great Revolution?” Personally, I do believe we’re living in the midst of a revolution. Because profound change is unfolding right in front of us on so many levels — economically, socially, politically, and, let’s not forget, with regards to how we work. 

That said, in hindsight, there is a slight flaw in my question because it implies something that most revolutions are not: they are not meticulously planned out!

In fact, it is said that “real revolutions are the ones you don’t see coming.” 

This makes me think of neighborhoods that have undergone gentrification. By the time the long-term residents notice the big picture of where they live being gentrified, it has already been well underway. 

As a non-historian, I’d say the same is true when it comes to a revolution. What often feels sudden has actually been happening for a while. It simply reached a tipping point. And this tipping point often gives the illusion that there’s been a playbook all along, when it fact the “organization” usually happens once the revolution has more people and more momentum behind it. 

Revolutions are in response to and an instrument for a desired change. They represent a period of simultaneously wanting certain policies, practices, structures, and norms to implode whilst those very same things are being reimagined. 

Revolutions upend order. They are about creating something new, and the experience of doing so is often unsettling and messy — on so many levels.

This is true whether we’re talking about an economic, social, or political revolution that is large-scale and very well may be televised. 

Or, if we’re talking about your very own personal revolution (of whatever type) – and that will likely only be known to you and, perhaps, those very close to you. 

Today, let’s focus on your very own revolution. Otherwise known as the one you can actually orchestrate the timing of.

What Do You Want?

Though the macro level revolutions tend to get all the attention, let’s not forget or overlook that you and I undergo our own personal revolutions, too. And they are powerful agents of change – for us and others!

No matter how we fancy it up, ultimately, revolutions are about addressing problems, closing a gap, creating change, and/or making a transition from one state to another

So, when you take a look at your life what do you see? Are you happy with the current state of things? What would you change, and what would you like to change right now? These questions are the “seeds” for starting your own revolution.

Embedded in them are glimpses of your current ways of thinking and doing things; embedded in the answers to them are ideas of new choices to make and new habits to cultivate. You may even discover the need to shift some of your values, too.

And I bet I can safely assume that, specifics aside, whatever it is you’d like to change (right now or in the future) will require you to:

  • Think bigger about yourself and your capabilities;
  • Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone; and
  • Give yourself permission to want what you want.

In the event you need some outside help doing any of the above, I offer the following suggestions:

Get mad

Yes, you may know what you want. But have you reached the point where you’re mad you don’t yet have it, or have it the way you want it. The emotion of anger often gets a bad rap. However, if channeled properly, it can be the fuel you need to once (and for all) change a condition or circumstance that is standing in the way of you experiencing and seeing what you want.

Change the status quo

Getting mad can also give you the clarity of mind you need to identify what represents the status quo in your life, and what is needed to lovingly disrupt your current routines and state of affairs.

Identify the costs

All revolutions, including your own, cost something.

Creating something new requires energy, creativity, and time. It requires a tolerance for uncertainty and risk, as well as a willingness to improvise and adjust as you go. It may also require shedding an old identity for a new one.

Another cost to be considered: the money factor. 

When it comes to the money factor, it is smart to run the numbers to have an awareness of the financial impact of the change you desire. It is also prudent to do “what-if” scenario planning. Because doing so will prepare you as best as possible for a myriad of ultimate outcomes. Plus, it will (hopefully) prevent you from over-correcting when your plans don’t go as initially planned. (Over-correcting is a mistake I often see people make, and it’s one I want you to avoid.) 

And just because you want something new and are willing to create it without a model to follow or mold to fit into (yay, you!) – it doesn’t mean the “cost” is easy to bear. This is why it is beneficial to aim your mind’s eye on what you want – aka: what is the purpose of your revolution – what is the change YOU want? 

They Weren’t Always Butterflies

Perhaps I could have written a very short missive tonight that simply said: In the midst of this (or any) large-scale revolution, don’t forget to (re)shape your own.

In all times, stay attuned to the revolution you want to personally see and experience. And make it happen.

Go ahead: think bigger about yourself and your capabilities; do something that takes you out of your comfort zone; give yourself permission to want what you want.

Make it happen in spite of the uncertainty, the risks you’ll need to take, the discomfort you’ll inevitably feel, the stability you might lose. 

Make it happen because just like large-scale revolutions attract more followers over time. Your own personal revolution does something similar.

Whether you know it or not, you are setting an example for others of what’s possible. You’re helping others find and hold onto a hope that may, at times, feel ephemeral. 

Hence, the phrase: “Be the change you want to see.”

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