Chances are, you are sitting on a change that you want to make in your life. It may be really big…perhaps a move toward a new career, entering or leaving a personal relationship, selling or buying a home. Or, it may be somewhat smaller…a change of hairstyle, getting a tattoo, or hiring a professional to redo the garden.
What’s stopping you?
That’s not to say that every change we think about should be acted on. In fact, I tend to think toward the other end of the continuum. We should save our change energy for the really important ones, for those changes that are imperatives for us. So, if you are sitting on it, and it doesn’t feel as if it is an imperative, see if you can let it go. Saying no to these ideas–sometimes really good ideas–is necessary to conserve our change energy. Let it go for those things that you have to say yes to.
But what if that change you are sitting on is one that you have to say yes to? And you are still sitting on it? What’s stopping you?
It’s not uncommon for me to work with clients who find themselves “stuck” in this way. They want to move forward with an imperative change, but they don’t know how, or they are uncertain as to what to do to move forward, or they are afraid they might be making a bad decision, or they are uncertain as to whether they will be successful, or…
The reason for moving forward on an imperative is simple. You must.
The reasons we find for not moving forward are many. They are often strong. And most of them are legitimate.
So, what do you do when there is a change you have to make, and something is stopping you?
The first thing to do is to identify what that something is, or those somethings are. Naming it will help you to find the “antidote” to overcoming it. Don’t do so casually. Really dig deep. For example, at first you might think “I don’t like to take risks.” Ask yourself, “Why?” Take that answer, and ask yourself again, “Why?” Keep going deeper. Go for five “Why” answers if you can. You may end up at that “Don’t take risks” tape that you heard from your parents for your entire childhood and that still replays in your head endlessly. Or, you may find yourself at the memory of a risk you took that ended up badly, perhaps causing significant pain for yourself or others. The antidote may be as simple as using as a mantra Wayne Gretzky’s quote, “I miss 100% of the shots I don’t take.” Or it may mean re-visiting that “risk gone wrong” to see what lessons it has to offer other than “don’t take risks.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Depending on the “what” that is stopping you, it may be that family, or friends, or co-workers can assist you in removing the obstacle. Or, it may be that it is more appropriate to get assistance from a therapist, coach, mentor, or religious or spiritual advisor. Be thoughtful in where you seek your support. Remember, you are working to remove an obstacle to progress on a change you have to make, not to reinforcing it.
If the support you seek is through a professional, she or he should be ready to tell you if someone in another profession is more appropriate for you to be working with.
Another way in which you can work to break through whatever is stopping you is to strongly, deeply create your change story. (I provide both an overview and more detailed discussions of doing so in the Create Your Change Story section on my blog.) The process of creating and embodying your change story actually uses the neuroplasticity of the brain to more strongly connect you to that future state. This will increase the pull to “get on the road,” and help motivate you through the tough times including, if need be, moving through whatever is currently stopping you.
Don’t regret not acting on an imperative for change. Dig deep to uncover what is really stopping you, and find the antidote for it. Seek help if needed. And create your change story to help get you on the road.
What do you do when stopped on a change imperative? Comment below.