Change is hard. It’s a seemingly never ending rocky road, full of ups and downs and obstacles at every turn.

But it’s worth it.

Want to affect change in your life? I’m talking big change – impossible change. The type of change that others admire in awe.

Recently, I witnessed such change. Here’s what happened.

The other day, I was watching a team of young men adjust a dock on Table Rock Lake, near Branson, MO, amidst high winds. Having arrived like a team of freshwater pirates, they appeared fully equipped to take on the challenge.

During a high water stage last year, one of the anchors holding the dock in place had dragged along the lake bottom and wound up under the floats. This watery dilemma had rendered the owners ability to pull the dock in and out useless. A “no Bueno” situation for most lake dwellers. Given the water level fluctuations, especially on Table Rock, you can either be left high and dry or gazing forlornly at your unreachable dock from the shore. Both scenarios can put a real damper on your pocketbook.

Needless to say, it was a big job.

The men worked silently, cohesively – a grizzled group of synchronized swimmers is the image that came to mind (albeit sporting much more facial hair than your typical bathing beauties). Nonetheless, these guys were gorgeous in their own right.

I couldn’t possibly grasp how in the world they were going to move a two ton block of concrete from under a dock back to its original resting place, in the middle of a 125 foot deep cove. Could they get it done?

Despite the challenge, they had something going for them – a plan. When they arrived at the dismal scene, they knew exactly what needed to be done to get the solid cement ton back into place. They began the seemingly impossible task with a clear direction in mind.

So far, so good.

And there was something else on their side, which some might overlook. They had a clear starting point. They could see where the block sat, and where their work began.

With those pieces in place, things are looking good, right? They sure are – yet the saga of the wayward dock anchor would never have changed if the not so salty swashbucklers hadn’t been up to the challenge.

At first, their pushing, pulling, and prying efforts seemed to be doing nothing. The dock floated away from them at several points. Time and time again the wind thwarted their efforts to move the anchor, pushing the entire structure up against the shore multiple times, stranding the floats in the shallows.

Here, it was clear that they possessed the third factor necessary for change: perseverance.

Even when all looked lost, they kept at it.  Eventually, they overcame and successfully changed the location of a 4000 pound piece of concrete.

As we march toward our ultimate goals, things won’t always go as planned. We might feel derailed. Obstacles will stop us from progressing. But with a clear direction, an end goal, and a whole lot of perseverance, you too can affect change.

Ready to move some massive mountains in your organization? Take a cue from these freshwater pirates, and implement these three necessary factors to start seeing change where you need it most.

  1. A clear destination. Many change programs fail because not everyone understands where they are headed. Be clear up front with everyone who needs to change about what the end point looks like.
  2. A starting point. Big goals are intimidating and sometimes paralyzing. Get started by taking small steps toward your goal. Momentum will build.
  3. Persistence. Most change efforts look like they will fail at some point, usually in the middle. Don’t give up prematurely. Find a way around obstacles, make necessary alterations, and keep going.

That’s how workers move tons of concrete, how ant moves a rubber tree plant, and how you affect change. Armed with these tools, you can move both docks and mountains!