How to Be a Change Agent

My daughter was in junior high and chomping at the bit to go out for the track team. There was only one problem: she needed new running shoes and we were flat broke.

change agent article by Laura Benjamin

I asked her, “Sweetie, can it wait?”

“No Mom. We start track next week and if I don’t have the shoes I won’t be able to join.”

Talk about feeling guilty. It had been my choice to follow the self-employment path, which meant I gained freedom but gave up a steady paycheck for “income ambiguity”.

Clearly though, it was time for a tradeoff.

We both wore about the same size, so we cooked up a plan where she would borrow my shoes until I could buy her a new pair.

The only catch was MY running routine. I was determined to lose weight and get into shape, so the thought of compromising my own goal wasn’t too attractive.

So here’s what we did. I’d run at the track on her school grounds in the morning. Then I’d stick the shoes in her locker, to which she’d given me the combination. Trusting girl! She’d run with her team in the afternoon and bring the shoes back home from school so we could do it again the following day. It was a scathingly brilliant idea! 

What a team. We were so smart; we thought we could change the world!

You may not want to change the world, but I’ll bet there’s something or someone you’d like to have influence over. Do you want to:

  • Persuade employees to dress more professionally?
  • Encourage a client or co-worker to treat you with more respect?
  • Negotiate expectations in a relationship?
  • Tell your boss “no”?
  • Cope with a non-negotiable change, such as loss, disability, etc.?
  • Get control over your life?

Something for change agents to ponder:

  • Is there really a problem? Name it. Use my CARLA Concept™ to analyze.
  • Decide to be successful. Intend to solve the problem – that’s half the battle.
  • Incremental change is still progress. Few of us go straight from 0-100.
  • Assume there’s plenty for everyone (Habit 4, Dr. Stephen Covey)
  • Tradeoffs are to be expected. What kind of horse-trading will you do?
  • Test a small solution before committing all your resources.
  • Realize you DO know enough, you’re smart enough, thin enough, young enough.

We all want to have an impact, and we can, even if it means we do it one person, one problem, one small opportunity at a time.

I wish I could say my daughter still welcomes my wardrobe suggestions. Those days are long gone. There’s little in my closet she would wear today – and I mean that literally!

Reading Recommendations:

  • The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, Eric Ries
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey
  • When Was the Last Time You Did Something New?

Comments

  1. Great article Laura. How to Be a Change Agent! I like that, “We all want to have an impact, and we can, even if it means we do it one person, one problem, one small opportunity at a time.” I need to remember this along with the quote by Robert Louis Stevenson, “Don’t judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

    Thank you again for the time and kindness that you have given and shown towards me Laura. You are a good person. God bless you and your family Laura.

    Craig

    • Thank you Craig. I love that Robert Louis Stevenson quote – very encouraging! We all need encouragement to keep putting one foot in front of the other, especially during times of transition. You are on your way to great things, Craig!