Life is filled with a series of cycles that impact all aspects of our life, some driven by force of nature that we cannot change and some that are within our control to influence or change. These cycles can either propel us forward to success or hold us back, creating frustration and feelings of helplessness and inertia. Consider how often you find yourself caught in the same pattern, knowing that the outcome will be the same as before! We all are! Then consider, when caught in the pattern, how often do you recognize it, talk about it, and conclude that it is what it is? What if we stopped doing that and started to challenge and break negative cycles while nurturing the good ones?
In business, bad cycles manifest in many ways. Years ago, while running a large project, I questioned some of my clients’ processes. They seemed antiquated and redundant, given the system they were implementing. When I challenged the processes and pointed out they were no longer needed with the new system, their response was “we have always done it that way”. Instead of being open to reevaluating and changing a process given new circumstances, they were stuck in a cycle they could not see a way to break. Consider how often companies change their organizational models from centralized to decentralized and back to centralized, reinventing the wheel repeatedly over several years. It may feel like change, but it’s not…. it’s a cycle.
On a personal level, I read a story around Thanksgiving about a little girl asking her mom why she the cut off the legs of the turkey before cooking it. Her mom answered that she didn’t know, but that was the way her mom always did it. They called Grandma and asked the same question, and the little girl got the same answer: that is how Great Grandma did it. So, they called her and asked her the question, and they finally got the answer…the bird was too big for the pot, so the legs were cut off!! Basically, the mother and grandmother had always done it that way, and apparently not for a good reason. Gotta love it! 😊
Whether business or personal, breaking bad cycles is hard. Once you’ve identified the pattern holding you back, it usually requires self-reflection, awareness, proactive measures, and a strong dose of courage to challenge the status quo. It often even requires support from friends, colleagues, or mentors, and as with anything, there is usually education needed. It might be yours to learn new skills and approaches, or even harder, you may need to educate others to your point of view. On the other hand, nurturing positive cycles is essential to reinforce effective strategies, fostering a culture of innovation, or invest in employee development. This too requires practicing self-reflection, courage, and fostering positive relationships to gain support to keep those positive cycles going.
In other words, regardless of whether the cycle is good or bad, we have important work to do. By taking control of these cycles, both in business and personal life, we can transform ourselves and create a more fulfilling and successful future.
So, take a moment to reflect on your business and personal experiences. Are there any negative cycles that hinder growth? How can you disrupt them? And what positive cycles can you cultivate further? Embrace the opportunity for transformation, and you’ll pave the way for a brighter future in all aspects of your life.
“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” – Richard Branson
What cycle are you looking to break?
Have a good weekend.