Are YOU Handcuffing Your Own Radical Change?

That is a crazy question, isn’t it?  Could we be  getting in our own way?  Could we be the own own worst enemy to creating radical change?

If you are like me, it is easier and much more comfortable blaming others. After all, why beat ourselves up, right?

But let’s face it. We are often the problem.  We think radical change is too difficult.  It requires paying a price  that makes us uncomfortable.  So we don’t.  We stay put, play it safe and justify why we shouldn’t make the radical change.    Here is the brutal truth:


The problem is not THEM but US. We are each capable of incredible things if we can break free.   Let’s look at 7 ways we handcuff ourselves and how we can free ourselves.

Problem #1. We say is not worth the cost. 

We look at the price of change as an expense rather than an investment.  We handcuff our radical change with statements like,

  • “I cannot afford it financially.”
  • “I cannot risk my career.”
  • “I don’t want to lose my friends.”

We let our fears of failure  dictate the level of cost.  But what if we didn’t fail?  What if we actually were successful and made the radical change?

Different story, right?

Solution:  Free yourself by focusing on the success, not the fear of failure.     

Problem #2.  We like mediocre but won’t admit it. 

We all like to be included, surrounded by friends and working in a safe environment.  Unfortunately, that safety often fosters playing it safe and avoiding risks.  The allure of inclusion and popularity often keep us from provoking radical change.

Solution. Be honest.  Admit there is an allure to the mediocre.

Problem #3.  We are satisfied with incremental change.

We spend so much time in, around and awarded for mediocrity that we rarely notice the radical.  We look for those who are the best of ordinary.  No wonder we don’t notice nor strive for the ultimate.  We obey the rules to avoid punishment.  We follow the fashion trends so we are not considered weird.  We do what everyone else does so we are not seen as an outcast.  In the process, we learn to play it safe. In the process, we learn to favor mediocrity.

Sure we all want to stand out just a little bit.  We want to be above average but still part of the group.  So we commit to being better, doing things a little faster or selling products a just little bit cheaper.  In the process, we focus only on incremental change.

So we walk this tightrope, trying to fit in yet trying to be just a little better.  We fight to find and preserve our unique value while not wanting to stand out too much.

Solution.  Become dissatisfied with incremental change. 

Problem #4.  We forget to consider the consequences of NOT changing.  

We get so focused on the dangers and potential costs of radical change that we don’t see the problems of playing it safe.  Failing to change in an ever changing world is the recipe for disaster.  By staying put,playing it safe, we are paying a higher price but we ignore that.

So we resist change, refusing to

  • disturb our established approach,
  • disrupt our old habits or
  • dismiss our old way of thinking.

To make the radical change, we are wise to first admit that we like being comfortable but there is a high cost to that comfort – maintaining the status quo guarantees mediocrity which equals FAILURE.

Solution:  Count the cost of NOT changing and then compare it to the realistic potential of radical change.  

Problem #5.  We chant their mantra. 

We spend so much time playing their game that it doesn’t take long and we become them. (Whoever “they” are.) It starts by listening and learning their thinking.

In many parts of our lives, we are rewarded for playing to the middle instead of the extreme. Let’s face it, there are no rewards for those that risked it all and lost.  There are no organizational accolades for those that make the biggest mistakes.  Instead, awards go to those that play the organizational game the best.  No wonder we chant the organizational mantra:

“Play it safe.”

“Make no mistakes.” 

“Be one of us.”

What many don’t grasp is that managers simply repeat the company mantra.  Leaders forge a new path.  Disruptive leaders have no time for repeating the success of others but instead grasp the importance of cutting edge development. Disruptive leaders don’t follow – they lead radical change.  They don’t repeat the mantra of their managers.

They learn to listen and learn on a higher level.  They develop a different sense.  They watch the trends and forecast the opportunities that others do not see.

Solution.  Develop and chant your own mantra. 


Problem #6.  We don’t see that mediocre is invisible and easily replaceable.

As leaders and entrepreneurs, mediocrity is the kiss of death. If we are just another good worker, we don’t stand out and rarely will be recognized.  They won’t tell us the truth but there is a short shelf life for ordinary, obedient workers.  It might work fine in a changeless world, but when drastic change happens, you will be left out in the cold.  It is at that point that organizations and consumers demand memorable products and services.

Solution.  Stand out by embracing and embodying radical change. 

Problem #7.  We handcuff ourselves. 

The sad part is that no one is holding us back from making the radical change.  We handcuff ourselves.  We become so infatuated with the norm that it becomes part of our identity and DNA.

No wonder we never do anything significant.  It appears foreign, unattractive and extremely dangerous.  What we don’t understand is that freedom is frightening at first especially to those who have lived in captivity  of organizational thinking.

We have the keys to the handcuffs.  We all have access to information via the internet. We all have people that we can trust.  We all have the freedom to choose.

We just need to make a different decision and that is OUR CHOICE.

Solution.  Free yourself.  You already have the keys. 

3D PWR Tip: Take off the handcuffs. 

(C) 2016 Murfield International, Inc.

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