Breaking It In: Overcoming Barriers that Keep Us From Change

Author Joy Engelsman

A few months ago, I got a new phone. I didn’t want to replace my old phone; it had served me well and fit comfortably in my hands and in the little side pocket of my purse. But calls had been dropping and I couldn’t get online for information anymore. The very tool I had loved for communication was no longer doing the job I needed it to do for me. So, I ordered a better, bigger version. Not too fancy, but better suited to keep me connected and help me get my work done.

It was beautiful and sleek. Not a single scratch or fingerprint marred its surface as it lay nestled in its protective purple case. I loved looking at it! Three whole days—I just admired it in the box.  Eventually, I took it out, turned it on and—wow—was impressed at how fast it connected to the web. But then I realized that I had to learn new functions and re-enter contact information. It was going to take work to get used to this new phone and I just didn’t have time for that. Besides, the new size wasn’t comfortable yet. It didn’t fit in my hand the way the old one had. So, back into the box it went.

Last week, nearly a hundred people completed another amazing SCORRE™ Conference in Orlando. They had the courage to set aside their old communication styles to try out a method that has helped thousands of speakers communicate with focus, clarity and power. It’s always inspiring to see a new graduating class head home with their heads full of new ideas and their arms full of resources. But, I wonder… how many of them will treat their new SCORRE™ training like I treated my new phone?

It’s not really true that no one likes change. Most of us love change when it comes in the form of sunnier days, better health, fresh opportunities in a job, increased kindness from new friends, newfangled phones, innovative training or many other positive shifts in our lives. What we don’t like is putting the first fingerprints on our shiny new things, the extra hours and the amount of work it takes to get comfortable in the new setting.

Not long after I got my phone, I was sitting in an audience, excited to hear a presentation from one of the recent graduates of a previous SCORRE™ Conference. He started well with an engaging story using his dynamic stage presence and a commanding voice. I could feel the audience hanging on his words, begging him to communicate something for their lives that they could take home with them. But, as the presentation went on, their attention started to fade. They checked their watches, shifting in their seats and blinked back at him with polite unengaged smiles.

I knew why. More importantly, he knew why. He called me the next day and we met for coffee. I sipped my caramel latte while he pleaded his case. “When I saw you in the audience,” he said, “I realized that I wasn’t using the amazing tools I had learned at the SCORRE™ Conference. I loved the SCORRE™ material when I was learning it. I hoped it would transform my speaking, but when I got home, life just went rushing on and I was afraid of the time and work it was going to take to readjust to a new way of preparing. SCORRE™ wasn’t comfortable yet, so I stashed my workbook and all my notes in a file and went back to my old ways of being dramatic with my audience. But the truth is that my old ways just aren’t working anymore. That’s why I went to SCORRE™ in the first place. I guess it’s time to dig out my materials from the conference and start putting them to good use. Will you help me and hold me accountable?”

I smiled as I deftly entered his contact information into my slick new phone in its pretty purple case. I guess both of us were ready to embrace the change in our lives.

Are you ready for a change in your speaking or writing career? Join us at the next SCORRE™ Conference October 26-29, 2015 at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Colorado! Click here to learn more.


Joy Engelsman has been part of the DCI family for 20 years. She teaches preaching at Denver Seminary, writes on communication and worship, and serves as a part-time Chaplain for a hospice in Denver. Joy and her husband Bob enjoy living in Denver with their two teenage daughters.

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