Everyone knows that making change is one of the scariest things we deal with as adults. We recognize and acknowledge a need to make a life or professional change and then find it impossible to do anything about it.
Why does it become hard?
Conflicting Responsibilities. We have our current career. We have a family or trying to find someone to date or be in relationship with We want to have a little fun in life and, heck, there is that new series on (Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, etc.) and there is no time.
Fear. Change involves risk. As adults, we don’t often recognize fear. We couch in pop culture terms like “procrastination” or “anxiety” to disguise the very fact that we are afraid of doing something new.
Habit. Imagine driving a bus on a one lane dirt road. Every bus drives on the same path and the rut in the road becomes deeper and deeper as more buses travel in the rut. That’s what happens to many of us as we start to think of our lives and our careers. We are driving on the same rut as every other bus.
I Don’t Know How to Change. Closely coupled with “I don’t know how to change,” is “I have to figure it out by myself.” Add to this is “I don’t know where to start,” and you have a very powerful cocktail for inertia.
We Know How to Trick Ourselves. I was working with a group recently and a man said something that sounded like he was changing his intentions for change after so passionately advocating for the very change the week before. I asked, “I’m confused. Does your fear tend to send up a signal of danger that causes you to change your plans?”
“Yes,” he said. “It’s probably the biggest way I trip myself up and stay in the same place.”
My recent article on “Stuck: Deciding Between Resignation, Perseverance and Acceptance in Your Career” struck a chord with many people about their feeling of ennui and frustration in the workplace. The interesting thing I heard from the LinkedIn messages I received was frustration—anger directed at oneself instead of at the party that should be the recipient.
The need to inhibit one’s responses is a well-learned condition for most employees. No one should act out of anger and harm someone but there needs to be institutionally approved ways for employees to express themselves when they are angry.
Which takes me to the question of what should you do when you are paralyzed and unable to make a change.
How do you move forward and attain what you want professionally and personally?
- Decide who you want to become. You are going to need to change as a person in order to change your career and life. What sort of change do you want to make in yourself to have the life you want or the career you want?
- Decide what you want to do over the next 90 days. Major changes may involve longer periods of time than 90 days but certainly there are large chunks you can carve out in 90 days.
- Why? Why do you want to engage in this effort? What difference will it make to you and your life to make this change? It is important to connect with the deep reason for doing this by asking yourself, “Why,” to your first three answers. Why does this matter to you? Go deeper.
- What can you do (each day, every other day, this week) to move the needle forward in the direction of what you want to attain over the next 90 days?
- Start telling people. When I trained to run the New York Marathon, I told people I was going to run New York. They got very excited for me at the beginning and excited for me in the last few weeks before I ran it about what I was doing. Knowing myself as I did, I knew I needed that extra boost at the beginning to get started and at the end and but would need to rely upon myself in the middle.
- Get support. It is so much harder to do things like this by yourself than doing it with others. Hire a coach. Join a group of people who also want to achieve something in their lives. Just don’t do it alone.
- After one week, review how you did. Most people dread the word “accountability” because it has become weaponized by businesses and government to punish people who make certain mistakes. Instead of accountability, review how you did and ask, “What did I learn from this,” whether you accomplished it or not. Maybe you could have done more. Maybe it was easier than you thought. Maybe you bit off more than you could chew. No matter what outcome you attain, ask yourself what you can do to move the needle forward and advance.
It starts with the courage to face the truth. You are going to have to expend effort and make change as well as the wisdom to know you need support to do so.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2017
Note: I will be launching an online group in January to help people advance their lives and careers. If you would like information about the group pre-launch and would like to join a new group on Facebook to prepare for January, email me at JeffAltman@TheBigGameHunter.us and in the subject line, put the phrase, “Facebook Group.” I will message you when we are ready.
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for JobSearchCoachingHQ.com and NoBSCoachingAdvice.com. He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” “No BS Job Search Advice,” and “Job Search Radio.”
Are you interested in my coaching you? Email me at JeffAltman@TheBigGameHunter.us and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line.
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