The Illusion of Desire

Recurring gossip, blame, and complaining indicate you want things to change, but you haven’t done anything about it.

Wanting change increases frustration when old behaviors continue.

Tell me what you’re doing to achieve what you want.

life remains as it was until you change what you do


The value of frustration is it tells you what’s wrong.

Nagging frustration indicates it’s time to take imperfect steps to achieve unmet desires.

Leadership has seasons of frustration. The question is, what behavior will you adopt to address frustration. Trying harder isn’t the answer. More of the same won’t work. Try something different.

New behaviors, not desire, changes things.

The question:

What makes you think things will be different? Give behavioral answers.

  1. You respond poorly to negative feedback. What specifically will you do next time to create a positive response.
  2. You’re stuck at your current level. What new imperfect behaviors must you adopt to rise to the next level?
  3. The team fell short. What behaviors will make things different next time?

Life remains as it was until you change what you do.


Wanting different results is great, but inadequate.

An aspiring leader failed because others felt he was aloof, arrogant, and a know-it-all.

“What do you do that makes people think you’re aloof.”

“I stand with my arms crossed and tell them why their ideas won’t work.”

“What could you do differently?”

“I could uncross my arms.”

At the time of our conversation, his hands were on the table, clasped and pointing at me. I asked if he could remove the barrier between us by unclasping his hands and spreading them apart. He sat there with a quizzical look on his face, not moving.

Until we adopt new imperfect behaviors, the past will continue as it was.

How might leaders overcome the illusion that wanting things to change is the same as working to change them?

What new imperfect behavior would you like to try today?