"Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes" (and two ways to master it)

I love that saying. The funny thing about change, is that you don’t even know it’s happening. It usually begins when you decide on a goal that: ‘is a must’. Whether it’s personal, career, financial…it’s where your focus and attention are being drawn to. It’s not until you contemplate your journey, do you see how embracing Change played its part. It usually shows up during the difficult times.

Achieving something you have never done before lends itself to the understanding that you are going to have to do things differently than you ever have before. Up to a point, you can rely on the tried and true practices that got you where you are. But when a challenge doesn’t succumb to the tried and trues, change is often what’s waiting. If the promised land of the goal has a strong enough pull on you, you will find yourself choosing to walk through those walls rather than continue to bang your head against them.

This is where the fun begins. Oh, and the work: Change is hidden in the process.

One of my biggest challenges was, and still is at times, overcoming inertia. When I got to an inevitable scary point in the journey, when a change in my behavior was required to proceed and to succeed, I froze. Paralyzed to take the next step (avoiding putting out a sales pitch on social media for instance), I would of course, stay busy and dance around “it” justifying the paralysis because I was still “getting stuff done”. I would research, read, engage on Facebook, practice, study, all to avoid what I needed to do. Next thing I knew, the day was done…nothing to be ashamed of I would tell myself, I accomplished tons! I would then falsely promise: Tomorrow, Priority 1…Get that nagging pitch posted. Inescapably, tomorrow would come, and the whole process would repeat itself.

I remember sitting on my patio one Sunday morning, reading a training book, when finally I said to myself: “You’re doing it again!” I threw my book down, marched over to my Mac, and wrote my post putting myself out there as a coach. Walking through that fear was the first time I had engaged in the market, I made an offer! I was not only elated when I hit ‘Post’, but felt immense relief, joy, and rushes of excitement. Instantly…I was in a new place. This catapulted my confidence. I thought of myself differently and now I was armed with confidence I didn’t have prior to posting that message. Note: the confidence came from the act of me posting…not the results of the post itself. And that is still my formula to walk through my fear of rejection. There is no way around, I have to walk through.

Change is in the process.

This means you still have to walk the path, do your part. One secret is to just pay attention to the action required, NOT to the fear surrounding it…the ‘what could be’s’, the what if stuff. It’s like not looking down if you are afraid of heights. That helps me not be so scared. I also make the scary thing sound ‘less big’ to myself. People are so busy these days, not more than a mili-thought is given to what I’m doing. I may not always get the answer I hoped for, but: Action leads to data leads to clarity. The perceived failures, rejections, all are pointing you in the direction you need to be ultimately taking. Think of them as bumpers on a pinball machine, funneling you to the action step that will matter, that will produce the result desired.

Two of my Greatest Realizations to the Art of Change

First, you will need a way to rejuvenate your mind and cultivate your mindset. Anchors. Some kind of space, activity, ritual something that gets you out of your head. When I feel the brain pangs striking, I grab my gym shoes and walk the trail behind my house. It serves a multitude of amazing purposes, but most importantly, I’m in my happy place. The wide open space of nature, visually entertaining with spectacular colors, physically empowering, and feeling the warmth of the sun and breeze of the Pacific; it’s so powerful, it illuminates my soul. Gratitude sets in, I am enthralled by the physicalness of walking and where I get to do it. Fueled by serenity and adrenaline, I find new degrees of clarity here. If there is something weighing in heavily, no doubt it will resurface to front of mind on my walk. But, I’m interacting with it differently now. My mindset has had a shift, my body is engaged in the process, and it provides space for me to allow new thoughts in. I cannot tell you how well this serves me. You have to find your anchor, it provides inner peace and is a secret weapon in your quest. 

The second is to Find Your Passion. Find out what matters to you. If you haven’t thought about it, I suggest you start. Don’t let the automatic pilot of life drone you out. Why is passion important for change? Because as much as the quest to the goal is where all the magic happens, what keeps us humans walking through the challenges that bring about change…is the prize. It has got to be important enough to you to make you do uncomfortable things. You will only change your behavior if what’s on the other side is the most important thing in your world. When you picture the life you want, what does that look like? Can you look at the roadmap to get there and see where you will excel and where the gaps are? What are the changes you can make that lead to finding yourself better positioned for your future? What is the mindset shift that matters? There are of course hidden gaps that will keep you on your toes. Those typically show up when you’ve exhausted your attempts to replicate what you have done in the past and find yourself in the same spot…it’s time to think and do differently.

Everything is figure-out-able. Stop giving all the power to the painful part of the task. Flip that thought around and start thinking: ‘what is the pleasure that could come from doing it’. Having the knowledge that you have the power to choose your focus, choose your action, ultimately lends to having a hand in your own fate. Harness that.