The Value is in the Change


the value is in the change

One of the big ideas that stuck with me in my Change Leadership training is — “The value is in the change.”  It’s such a simple concept, but it got me thinking.

If there’s no change, then it’s like treading water.  It’s like the hamster on the wheel.  It’s like below the line vs. above the line.  The value is in the change, and the change is about raising the bar and rising above your status quo.  It’s about changing your game.  If you invest time and energy, then you expect some sort of return.  The return is supposed to come from the change.  Some of the changes might be:

  • Can I do this a little better?
  • Can I do this a little faster?
  • Can I do this a little cheaper?

Sometimes the change is doing what you already do, but better.  Other times the change is doing something new entirely … out with the old, in with the new.  When it comes to personal change, that means changing your thinking, feeling, and doing.   The easiest thing to notice here is a clear change in behavior.

You can use “the value is in the change” as your lens, to help remind you where the value is.  Whether it’s adopting a New Year’s Resolution, or buying a personal development program, or reading a new book, remind yourself that the value is not in the thing itself.  The value is in the change.  Knowing and doing are two different things.

The more that you actually apply the new insights, strategies, and tactics that you learn, the more value you can realize from your efforts.

With that in mind, what will you do differently, to realize more value from the time and energy you already spend?

Photo by Ian Sane.


  1. Thank you for this article.
    This year I am focusing my energy on specific tasks and projects. This is new and different for me because I practice unfolding, so I am used to setting an intent, clearing the space, and allowing for wonderful to be placed. However, in experimenting with commitment and routine (very new for me!) and allowing for forward thinking as I vision, I have discovered the power behind unfolding along with commitment. In learning to embrace new creative techniques, my entire perspective is changing; I am still most centered, yet now incredibly focused.

  2. JD,
    I love your crisp lean and punchy writing.
    Last year was about stabilizing and it was about fundamental needs. It was ruthless, it was about execution and nailing key things first. Now that the fundamentals are there the change for me is to uplevel to a higher needs in the hierarchy. While I will keep an eye on execution I will be focusing more on soft aspects – both at work and especially in my personal life.

  3. This is wisdom indeed: “Knowing and doing are two different things.” What I’m finding is that I just need to keep taking a step forward. As I do, more clarity arises, more options unfold. My experience is fully congruent with your encouragement to act in one way or another.

  4. It is only about change. Nothing stays the same. If you zoom in on some very static object like a diamant, you will see it is moving, it changes.

    If your standig under the shower and stand very still, the water begins to irritate. The Chinese used this long ago to torture people. You have to move, to keep experience the temperature.

    Imagine a world where nothing would change, the ultimate world for extreme conservative people. It would be hell. You would die of loneliness, oh no, you can not die in that world because you can’t change.

    We should embrace and love change, make it our new god!

  5. Hi JD

    Knowing and doing are indeed two different things. The results only come from applying what we know and taking action. And even then, we have to keeping changing and adapting our actions until we get the desired results.

    Sometimes the change that a situation requires is a retreat or biding of our time. Not doing anything can be difficult since it feels as if we are wasting time. But if action is not suited to the situation at hand, then change might mean inaction.

    For me, I will always try to align my actions with the Tao of any situation. Only by doing so will I know the best changes to take to resolve the issues I face. This for me, is the best way to manage change.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

    Irving the Vizier

  6. That’s pure gold, JD… The value is in the change. It’s not always about running up a mountaintop and beating one’s chest howling for transformation, is it?. Sometimes it’s doing the dishes more effectively so we may experience an increased sense of peace in the evening. Most folks are conditioned to complain about their conditions and circumstances. Moving beyond a “poor me” attitude requires habitually asking, “How can I change things?” When I change my attitude, I will see my circumstances differently, and eventually my circumstances will change.

  7. Hi J.D.
    This article is extremely timely for me. I am tired of fear holding me back from doing the things that I need to do to get the success I want. In a nutshell, in order to realize more value for my time I need risk BIG.

  8. Hi JD .. Change is happening .. the thing is to make the best of it all the time. I’m becoming more involved up at the Nursing Home – helping others with two discussion sessions a week, writing memory/stories for them, starting a newsletter, and a blog … empowering others’ lives who are stuck at the end of their journey .. stimulation and conversation all give grist to those mills.

    Make the most of what we have, improve others’ lot and keep learning – there’s so much available to be happy about .. share our joy .. and be positive.

    Happy New Year to you and your family .. cheers Hilary

  9. @ Joy — There is a great power in unfolding and adapting as you go. There’s also great power in focusing your energy. Voltaire said “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking” and I say, no problem can withstand sustained action.

    @ Alik — Thank you. I need to get back to my punchy prose. It’s a trade-off but I think the upside is flowing more value in a simpler way. In the words of Bruce Lee, I’ll be hacking away at the unessential, so I can spend more time where it counts.

    @ Sandra — Very well put. Mopre doors do open if we can keep finding our way forward.

    @ Johan — I like your examples and they really do remind us of the power of taking action and the power of change.

    @ Irving — I like your injection of the Tao and I’m a fan of looking at things in a Yin and Yang kind of way. I think at a meta-level this is about staying balanced and seeing multiple perspectives, so that we can make more informed choices.

    @ Rob — Thank you. I really like how you brought it home with an example of doing the dishes. Back in the day, my sister and I made doing dishes our playtime, and mastered the art of the towel snap 😉

    Once we move out of the victim mindset, we do become the driver and the doer of our destiny.

    @ Lisa — Go BIG. Way to be. There is always something compelling about going for the gold and testing ourselves. I always like the saying, “feel the fear and do it anyway.” In the movie, “We bought a Zoo”, a saying they used is, “Sometimes it only takes 20 seconds of insane courage.” I think that’s true to get over the humps.

    I find fear gets pushed to the way side, when the cause and conviction become the driving force.

    @ Hilary — I think your engagement is great and I suspect it gives you great energy, because you like to help and you like to contribute. I think it’s also a great way to put your skills to use in a way they are valued and appreciated. The Nursing Home sounds like a great arena where you can both great draw strength from and share your strengths.

  10. Hi JD. I like that you emphasized the “above the line/below the line” analogy. I heard this recently and it challenged me to learn something from everything that happens to me. I think there’s something to learn in every situation, even (heck, especially) when we succeed at something. Everything is a teaching moment. A chance to find value. The value often IS the change, I think.

  11. Hi JD.
    “The value is in the change” is a powerful statement when you stop to think about it. It got me to thinking that it also applies to seeing differences between ourselves and others. It keeps our perspective fresh, gives us opportunities to grow and to teach, to not judge and to feel respect and compassion. And then, in the same perspective, seeing the differences in ourselves does exactly the same thing.

    What will I do differently to realize more value from the time and energy you already spend? I’m going to listen and recognize that even when I’m standing still, I’m still moving forward. I’m learning patience!

    Thank you for this post. It was great food for thought.

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