Making a Change?
I was coaching a great client of mine yesterday. He has a master plan for his life which includes taking early retirement next year. Suddenly his work situation has changed and he is facing a year of potential misery. This has left him with a dilemma. Does he stick with what he knows, even though it’s painful? (His comfort zone) Or does he make changes which are scary and perhaps risky? (His stretch zone)
Choosing to make changes can be scary for all kinds of reasons. My client may be afraid to apply for a new job in case he doesn’t get it. But he hasn’t got it now so what is there to be scared of? Perhaps it’s about losing credibility or feeling embarrassed because not landing another job might reflect badly on his abilities. It’s really easy to confuse failing to achieve something with being seen as a failure as a person. It might be that he would feel disloyal to his current team if he makes the changes or that they will judge him as disloyal for wanting to leave. Or it could be that he is so emotionally and psychologically drained by the situation that he hasn’t the energy to get himself unstuck.
He will only be able to make the change when he believes the positives of changing are greater than the positives of staying the same. So taking the time to look at what is driving the change and what is blocking the change is a good first step. When the two seem to balance each other out we are left feeling ambivalent and therefore stuck. However, most people overestimate the risks of change and underestimate the risks of staying in their comfort zone. So, the next step is to challenge our assumptions around our list of drivers and blockers. This might be the time to enlist the help of a friend or trusted advisor to help with challenging those assumptions.
To sum up,
When there is a gap between where you are now and where you want to be and you can acknowledge the discomfort that this creates.
When you can list the emotional and rational drivers and blockers of the change and challenge your assumptions
When you reach the point where you see that the positives of making the change outweigh the positives of staying with the current situation
Then you are ready and willing to take the action that will move you forward, help you grow your comfort zone and build your ability to deal with future changes positively.
- How do you make the decision to make difficult changes?
- What helps you to “feel the fear and do it anyway?”