This was the impassioned question that Chuck Rhoades, a US attorney in New York, asked his mate in the quiet seclusion of a sauna in an episode of ‘Billions’. He said, ‘You put in the hours, the years, to get to a certain point and then you get there and it’s not everything you want it to be. I could be the president and still be boxed in from above and below’.
Do you ever dare to ask yourself these types of questions? Do you ever want things to be different or just to shift the focus of your life a bit? One part of you possibly wants to meet this challenge head-on, but the other part might think, ‘That would all be too complicated, it would take too much time, effort, energy; it’s just easier to keep going on and leave things as they are. Things are OK for now anyway’.
But how much longer are you going to wait?
Do the things that keep you busy now reflect what you value and find important in life?
What are you just ‘putting up with’ in life and what is that costing you?
How are you boxing yourself in?
As a life transition coach, every day I work with people asking themselves these types of questions and, together, we find answers and devise actions for change, using some well tried and tested theories of change management.
One of the models I use suggests that 3 factors must be present for meaningful change to take place. These are your level of dissatisfaction with how things currently are, your vision of what might be possible and the first steps you could take in order to move towards this vision. The theory states that change is possible if the product of these three factors is greater than a 4th factor – your resistance to change. Let’s examine all 4 of these factors.
To make a meaningful change in your life, it’s important to get in touch with your level of dissatisfaction about how things are right now. We are all conditioned to put up with things – our wonderful British attitude of “Keep calm and carry on”, which often serves us well! But sometimes it does us no favours – we dull ourselves to the pain of being bored, restless, unfulfilled; while, below all of that, what we are really yearning for is challenge, adventure & fun!! As a result, we literally can become a bit dull – while all the while there’s a little voice inside reminding us about what’s not good about our current situation and urging us to get a move on. If we ignore this voice for long enough, it can easily affect our confidence and enjoyment of life.
I see it as part of my role as a coach to ‘up the ante’ with clients and to help them get more in touch with their emotions – as emotions are energy and can be used to drive the change process.
Some people are in touch with their dreams and find it easy to come up with big ideas and plans for the future. They thrive on change and get real excitement from mergers and acquisitions, from heading up new enterprises, moving house or even changing partners!
Others find themselves really stuck at this point; while they know they want to change, they cannot see a clear way forward and are reluctant to make any move without a definite idea of what is coming next. It certainly helps to know what you are aiming for when you go for change – but it’s not always essential. For many clients, the path ahead only becomes clearer along the way – but the important thing is to get started, rather than to put up with that dull feeling of discontent that can drag your energy down on a daily basis.
This is obvious really; it is so important to have a plan. Without one, change can lead to enormous and often unnecessary instability which can be damaging both you and any other party involved.
So, with all my clients, we work on creating smart and manageable actions for change. Action planning is a must, as is accountability to this planning. It’s all too easy to have great intentions, but fail to take action as life takes over and time runs on.
All these activities can lead to an effective change programme, but it’s essential also in advance to think through anything that might hold it or you back. Otherwise, with the best will in the world, the whole thing is in danger of falling flat on its face at the first hurdle. Resistance can take many forms – from very practical considerations of finance, resources, time and the like, to really deeply set beliefs and feelings about what you can realistically achieve. The more a client talks this through in advance, the much more likely they are to succeed in the venture ahead. Doing this can actually provide enormous momentum to the whole undertaking as, if fears are addressed in advance, they no longer hold any power and release the individual to achieve their full potential – which is the essence of my work with clients.
For change to happen effectively, all of these 4 factors need to be in balance. They don’t all have to have equal focus, but it helps to have thought through each before getting into action mode. Often this process happens automatically; just test that against any change you have implemented recently. But if there are changes you would like to make in your work, lifeplan or home and you are just not getting there, this model can provide a really useful checklist to see where you are stuck and do what you really want to do.
If any of this speaks to you and you would like to talk it through with me and book a coaching session, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07711 582606 You can also check out my website on www.marymaybin.com
I live in Long Ashton, about 3 miles from Clifton, and often see clients in a wonderfully discreet office in our garden with beautiful views over Dundry. Or alternatively, I meet clients in Bristol and sometimes in London.