It’s been estimated that the average person will change career focus 5-7 times in their lives.

But whether all of those life-impacting alterations are sustainable and fulfilling, as opposed to short-term ‘band aids’, is debatable. Change is a key buzzword out in today’s business world, including the ability to embrace and drive forward improvements. But that doesn’t always mean that these agents of change fully understand the importance of contemplative, ‘stickable’ modifications.

Avoid the band aid effect: Consider all the changes you’ve initiated in your personal and professional lives, and how many of them have ‘stuck around’ for the long term. How many courses, seminars and other educational activities have you undertaken that haven’t permanently imprinted on you? That’s what we call the band aid effect – metamorphosed from the common experience of applying a band aid that unpeels and falls away when faced with hardships like water and general wear.

Know your values: As stated by James E Faust, “We should not allow our personal values to erode, even if others think we are peculiar”. Imagine if world-shaking entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs had allowed others opinions to clog up his own personal/professional values, such as inventing technology to help others do their jobs better. Your values are what your psychology or unconscious deems to be most important to you in any given area of your life, including relationships, creativity, and making an impact. Always factor in your values before setting any form of professional change in motion – instil a values fulfilling vision.

Blend in the core elements: In addition to identifying your values, there are three main ingredients that should be integrated into change strategy – intensity, layering and accountability.

  1. Intensity (or passion) is what’s going to propel you to implement your life alterations – use channels that will positively intensify your intensity such as a three-day intensive course.
  2. Once your change enthusiasm has been ignited, accumulate layers that add depth and ‘glueability’ to your plans such as reading materials and industry experts.
  3. Make yourself accountable to someone important in your life, someone who’s going to supportively monitor you in driving forward change.

Develop and stick to a schedule: If there’s anything I’ve learnt in my many years in business, it’s that writing down steps and stages makes you more proactive and answerable. Plan out and schedule in each stage of your change process to self-motivate and maintain your focus.

It’s part of most people’s DNA to want to grow and prosper via change and improvement. And it’s far more likely to happen when such alterations have been deliberately planned and executed, as opposed to changing just for the sake of change. Know your values, add in the core ingredients, and stick to your plan, and your change will be exciting, impactful and sustainable.