Americans are in the habit of eating a lot of pizza. We eat over 6,000 slices of pizza in their lifetime. Considering all the different combinations, no wonder carnivores, vegans, children and sophisticated palates all love it. But thin or thick, stuffed or spiced, pizza always starts with the dough. We can add all the toppings we want, but if the pizza dough is too thick, thin, or – well, too doughy – then our effort falls flat.

What does this have to do with change? We’ve all tried to change our behavior, attitudes, and our relationships. And we try, maybe even more often, to change other people! We have different approaches. Tough love. Sweet talk. Bribery. Role modelling. Magic wands. Discipline. Ultimatums. Prayer. Sometimes our strategies work- other times not so much.

What’s the common denominator for change to occur? The common denominator is always about readiness. Is the one needing change ready to change?

For years I was certain I could get people to change if I would carefully (and repeatedly) show them how. I think I believed I had some kind of magical power or authority over them.  Sometimes change occurred, and sometimes it didn’t. As a scientist, the inconsistency and inconclusiveness drove me crazy!

Then one day I was making pizza at home. The dough had risen, but every time I rolled it out, it shrank back. No matter how I pushed it, pulled it, or held it down, it returned to its original shape. It just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. In my frustration I looked in the fridge for a dinner back-up plan. An hour later I half-heartedly picked up the doughy disk, prepared to toss it aside. Now it gracefully hung down on either side of my hand, taking the long, thin oval shape I had hoped for. What happened? That’s when I heard the experienced voice of my 7th grade home-economics teacher. “Let it rest, girls. Let the dough warm up a little more. Don’t force it or it will break and be ruined.”

Ahhh… When something isn’t ready to change under your hand, let it rest. Don’t force people to take the shape you want. Use your best ingredients, warmth, and vision, and then be patient. When you step away and let other’s rest and relax, they will RISE.

SO this is easy: from now on, every time you eat pizza, think about what it takes to create change lives, especially the one you’re living NOW!