Why Hitting Rock Bottom is a Good Thing
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Change is so very hard. And yet, it is what we all must be doing all the time. Sometimes, the toughest changes require us to hit rock bottom first. It’s ok to go there – it may be our only hope.

As a leader, I often wonder why some people cannot see how much their actions deter them from reaching their potential. They are such talented people. They can do so much. How is it possible to have such blind spots? The truth is, we all have them.

Therefore, there are times when we will become painfully aware that we must make a critical change in our lives. If we miss the signs, we will pay the price. And so will those we care about. Staying alert to these signs and acting promptly is key. Otherwise, we will proceed toward rock bottom. And there we will finally realize we need to change.

What happens at rock bottom that causes us to change? We finally realize we don’t want to feel this way ever again. It is our pain in continuing the way we are that finally shocks us into finding the change that we must undertake. No rational thought will do this for us. It is our feelings that create the environment for massive transformation.

Let me give you an example. About three years ago I recognized I was beginning to experience health problems. I had always prided myself on being healthy and in good condition. But, I wasn’t. It was not a decision to be unhealthy. It was a series of habits that resulted in me being in a place that now made me uncomfortable. For me, I finally hit rock bottom. I committed to losing weight and exercising regularly. I lost over 20 pounds and developed regular exercise habits. I also learned how to regulate my weight. How was all of this possible? I hit rock bottom. I wish I had done this sooner. The signs had been with me for years. I just didn’t bother to notice. This particular series of events taught me a lot about myself. I learned to search for areas of my life where I struggled – like sleep, focus, and relaxation. I am now tackling all of them before I hit rock bottom. Rock bottom is sometimes necessary. Not needing rock bottom is so much better.

As you think about your life, what areas of change are you concerned about? When have you undertaken massive changes and what did you learn from your experiences? How can you help others by sharing your own change stories?

As humans, we need others to help us change. Leaders help others live the lives they most want to have. It can be the most rewarding part of being a leader. I know it is for me.