“Dissatisfaction that is more forceful than the status quo”
While I’m a firm believer in learning to be content where we are, there must also be a measure of dissatisfaction with things always being the same.
Contentment helps us learn to survive and be happy with what we have. Dissatisfaction helps propel us forward to better things that we know can be achieved. While we cannot live in a state of unhappy dissatisfaction, we can use that dissatisfaction to grow our measure of success.
Aren’t you content? Yes and no, I can let the contentment go by allowing many things to tempt me to step out of contentment, just like you. What things interfere with contentment? How about stress, anxiety, worry, striving, jealousy, greed, envy, bitterness, angry, fear, insecurity, or uneasiness?
For many years, I was able to think of contentment only in terms of material possessions.
During that time, if you asked me why people are not content, my automatic answer was, “Because they want more and more stuff without appreciating what they already have.” Unfortunately, my canned response didn’t bring me much comfort as I worked through my own issues with contentment.
I never struggled with wanting a larger home or fancier car or designer labels in my closet. My challenge was fretting over whether our lives would work out the way I thought they should. I was raised with the belief that if you work hard and stay out of trouble, you will get ahead in life. As good as this notion sounds, unfortunately it has not always been our experience in real life.
In the same way, your contentment issues may have nothing to do with material possessions but rather with circumstances challenging situations in life that haven’t improved despite your best efforts. There needs to be a balance between satisfaction with fine accomplishments and striving to do better. That’s where my organization is right now. We want to grow and expand. A lot of good companies go bad because they do not go outside of the box. Blockbuster is an example of a company that used to be the #1 movie rental store. However innovators such as Netflix and Redbox quickly emerged, making it cheaper and easier for us to rent movies. Each found their own niche, i.e. Redbox machines at the local grocery store and gas stations and Netflix mailing movies to people’s home and now leveraging XBOX and Wii to capture more clients.
Evaluate the status quo
This aspect of leadership concerns the mandate for change. Leaders should strive to create “a burning platform” for change. The status quo, or current state of affairs, must be carefully described and evaluated. Two aspects of this challenge are conducting the diagnosis and creating dissatisfaction.
Diagnose the status quo. Leaders must first diagnose the status quo and determine why change is necessary. Leaders should assemble evidence in support of the change. This begins with the leader taking stock of his or her own role in the change. Accountability on the part of the leader will result in more credibility when the leader asks for others to be held accountable. In addition, the status quo should be evaluated for the overall organization as well as its component parts. In diagnosis, leaders must draw attention to performance, which should be described with objective metrics.
Create dissatisfaction with the status quo. Performance metrics are also useful for creating dissatisfaction with the status quo. A sense of urgency will come from understanding how performance will suffer if the change does not occur. It is important for leaders to create dissatisfaction with humility and without assigning blame. Change is a necessary part of every organization. Everyone involved in the change effort must be “in the same boat” and understand why the status quo will lead to failure.
Many people are stuck between satisfied and dissatisfied, but won’t make the change. If you want to be happy in all areas of your life – get dissatisfied with the status quo.
About Matt Sileno: Matt Sileno, the President/Founder of The Intuitive Group, Inc. is no stranger to hard work and overcoming adversity. He has taken his small Sales and Marketing Firm to new heights working directly with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies across the U.S.