Want Change? There are Only Four Ways

While thumbing through, Full Engagement, by Brian Tracy, this heading in chapter one caught my attention, “Four Ways to Change.”

Tracy says, “There are only four ways that you can change anything about yourself, your life, your work, or your relationships with others.”

The condensed version of Tracy’s list:

  1. Do more of something.
  2. Do less of something.
  3. Begin something.
  4. Stop something.


Stopping is harder than starting. Any fool can start something new; it takes real courage to stop something old.

Failure to stop something creates meaningless clutter, blocks productivity, and weighs down high performance.

If you can’t stop something, do less of it.

Denny Stigl, retired CEO of Verizon Wireless, told me about a position he took that had an office full of people creating monthly reports. He didn’t believe the reports were necessary so he gradually stopped sending them. Long story short, they eventually stopped producing all meaningless reports and freed their staff for income generating activities.

Four questions:

The life and leadership your searching for begins with four questions.

  1. What do you need to do less of?
  2. What do you need to do more of?
  3. What do you need to start?
  4. What do you need to stop?

Getting started:

  1. Include behaviors but don’t forget attitudes.
  2. Focus on high impact behaviors and attitudes, first.
  3. Ask others what you should do less of, more of, start, or stop. Effectiveness always includes evaluating your interactions and impact on others.
  4. Evaluate quickly, if the change doesn’t produce results, change it.
  5. Do one thing at a time. Perhaps today is “smile day.”
  6. Keep doing what works.

What can you change, today?

What suggestions do you have for change agents?


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