A couple of months ago, I was coaching a client that was struggling to make changes in his work and home life. He was having difficulty focusing on his responsibilities and felt miserably stuck. Everyday was another lesson in futility. From his vantage point, he had no options to change the situation.
As an exercise, I suggested that we make a list of all the choices that he had in life. He was to write down every single choice that came to mind, devoid of judgment. I was impressed by his ability to list the different choices that he had, no matter how crazy they seemed. After the list was completed, we went through the choices and took a closer look at each one of them.
One by one, we discussed the choices in detail. One by one, he would give me all the reasons why the choice would absolutely never work. I tried to help him see each choice from a fresh perspective, but no matter what I did, he had a whole list of compelling reasons why it would fail.
I looked at him for awhile and then I said calmly, “Do you notice that you’ve vehemently explained to me why none of these ideas work when you originally thought these ideas were great? Why do you think that is?”
Sometimes we are so scared of trying something new that we will stay in a horrible situation. There are a lot of uncertainties in trying something new. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. We aren’t sure how things are going to progress. Fear of the unknown causes us to stay exactly where we are. Fear of failure can take ahold of us and rule our life. The truth is that not making a choice and staying stuck is also failing.
Change is hard. It’s hard for people and it’s hard for organizations.
At some point in your life, you have sat in this very same chair. You have lamented how unhappy you are, yet still aggressively fought the possibility of any change. Fighting the change ensured that you would be safe from failure. Or did it?
My suggestion is to make one change. The change doesn’t have to be huge; it just has to be one teeny tiny step that moves you in the direction of your goal. After you have done this, take another tiny step and another. This pushes you out of your paralysis stage and into an action stage.
Be honest and recognize that your reasoning for shooting down all your choices is tied up in your fear of what waits on the other side. Accept the emotion and continue to take small incremental steps.
Along the way, be sure to remind yourself that the FEAR of FEAR is far worse than the fear itself.