This past weekend I was at a wedding where I had multiple conversations with people who I haven’t seen in a while but who have been following along with my journey through social media. The common thread through these conversations was that people were not satisfied with where they were and had wanted to make a change “for a long time” but hadn’t taken any action because there wasn’t a “clear path forward.”
Ever since I quit my job to start Project Endure, those conversations have become frquent and this blog is an inside look into how I view the most common barriers to change.
Addicted To Comfort
We tend to find comfort in things that are familiar, even when those things are no longer serving the person that we want to become. It’s often more comfortable to stay in a stagnant place that feels safe than to venture out into unchartered and uncertain waters. However, the open ocean is where growth happens – it’s where we can catch wind in our sails and find new lands. I’ve been learning that sometimes the biggest risk is taking no risk because nothing is guaranteed. If you’re worried about transitioning identities, understand that you can change AND stay the same.
Paralyzed By Perfection
The best changes are often thoughtful but as it goes, nothing changes if nothing changes. In other words, it’s great to be intentional in planning and preparation, but as Arnold Glasow once said, “an idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” With each minute that passes, we are losing the most precious resource that we have: time. I’m driven to make the most of the time that I have and that means doing what I feel called to do even when it means moving into resistance. If you’re feeling stuck, consider these questions to help find the best path possible.
Afraid To Fall Short
Most people that I speak with are afraid to make a change because they’re concerned about what other people might think (especially if they fail). People panic that if their new endeavor isn’t a shining success that it’s the end of the world. This thought process can be categorized as a fixed mindset – one where (among other things) people believe that outcomes define them and abilities are unchangeable. The truth is that we, as humans, are more pliable than we give ourselves credit for. When we stretch past the limits of our comfort zone, we find opportunities to learn, adapt and grow (growth mindset). If we never fall short, I would argue that we’re leaving potential on the table and I’m not ok with that. To learn more about the power that lies within imperfect action and the skill of being wrong, click those links.
Can’t See The Whole Picture
Too often people assume that other people have it “all figured out.” Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that I have very little (if anything) “figured out” and I’ve been transparent about that. To go further, I would argue that almost nobody with a heartbeat has life completely figured out and that should be encouraging. I decided to take a step with faith that the next one would be revealed to me (action creates clarity) and that’s been true so far. When imagined all at once, the path forward feels overwhelming and to make a change, we don’t need the whole picture – we need the general direction. If you have a vague sense of where you want to go, take a single step that way and see what happens.
Stuck On Sunk Cost
Many people are hesitant to make a change that requires them to leave behind something that they’ve invested into (careers, relationships, identities, strategies, etc.). I struggled with that perspective in the weeks leading up to leaving my job but in the end, I decided that life was too short not to take the risk that comes with complete ownership. Instead of viewing life through the lens of “what was,” I decided to adopt the perspective of “what it could be.” Leaving full-time healthcare has allowed me to build a business and learn about who I am as a person – the process has been both incredibly challenging and absolutely beautiful. If you’re considering a change, just know that the past doesn’t define your future.
Before we end, let me just be explicit: this blog is not me telling you to do anything. The concepts above are ambiguous on purpose because we all have different circumstances and different responsibilities to weigh when making decisions. However, let me just ask that you be honest in your reflection when it comes to what might be holding you back from change. I’ll leave you with this food for thought…
Thank you for reading!
Here’s to 28.
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