We emerge from hibernation- a winter to remember- when a lack of electricity and treacherous roadways kept us indoors and close to home. We are re-energized with the sun and with spring’s beauty. And during this time of rebirth, we hire and train seasonal, front-line interpreters, doubling our staff for the season. This experience can either be as daunting as an ice storm or as hopeful as sun-kissed dew. A new season brings new opportunity! And with opportunity comes change. A universal concept many of us champion, can also evoke fear and intimidation.
Just as a gardener tills the soil, augments its nutrients, and prepares the holes for planting, so to do Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the New York Times best seller, Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard. They prescribe three measures to ensure successful growth. Similar to interpretation, the authors emphasize both intellectual and emotional connections dosed with optimism.
1.) Direct the Rider by finding the bright spots. Concentrating on what works rather than on what doesn’t, focuses the brain on success rather than failure. Pointing to the direction- the goals- supports the vision and strengthens the intellectual connection with change.
2.) Motivate the Elephant by finding the feeling, tapping into that emotion, and building identity, ownership, and a growth mindset supporting the feeling. By harnessing the emotions, the Elephant can’t run away with the Rider, but be directed by the Rider.
3.) Shape the Path by breaking the pattern, clearing the way, and rallying the herd. Provide specific, concrete direction; remove unnecessary obstacles; and cheer for change.
By following these three steps, we become intentional about the message we convey to our audience, those we mentor and train, lead and supervise. By harnessing the power of interpretation through connecting hearts and minds with the change, and by eliminating unnecessary steps within the status quo and rallying around the change, we support the journey.
We are entrusted with a new life- a new career- and although budgets, supplies, and time may be our limiting factors for growth, we have the power to propagate strength and life as we sustainably grow a profession of ethical, life giving, life affirming interpreters.
We are gardeners! Plant the seeds! Nurture their growth! And marvel at the resulting bounty!