Years ago, when I was building fires for Tony Robbins‘ fire walks I remember him responding to the question, “Why does change hurt so bad?” this way, paraphrasing:
What do you mean change can hurt? What if I gave you a new Mercedes right now? That would be a real change in your life, right?
He then made it clear he wasn’t giving away cars, and went on, Seriously that change wouldn’t hurt, would it?
He continued through a list of other changes that wouldn’t hurt. It was for most of us a total reframe of our thinking about change. Remembering what he said has become a handy tool when I find myself resisting change. I’ll talk more about that in a moment.
Why change can hurt
There’s something about human kind that makes us want to stay where we are because it’s familiar. This seems to be true even if where we are isn’t so great. Oh sure, if the house catches fire we’ll move, but deciding to move under less dire circumstances is harder.
I’ve recently been working with a business coach and have been challenged by change galore, or so it seems. Here’s a partial list:
- I don’t follow through nearly as well as I thought I did!
- As a result of poor follow through, I don’t keep many commitments
- I need to really up my marketing game even though I don’t want to do the additional work.
- Learning to do things differently requires more effort than I thought.
- I’m not as good at change as I thought I was.
- I need to learn to think differently.
Each one of these issues has been painful to face. I mean who wants to admit they don’t follow through, particularly since they know they can write whole books? I’m finding, however, it’s also exciting because I can see how as I make the shifts, they are leading to the kind of satisfaction and success I want.
I liken the resistance to change sort of like needing a new pair of shoes. The old shoes are ugly and worn, and they feel good on our feet – we’ve worn them to an exact fit. The new ones are bright and shiny and often don’t feel good because in their newness they are stiff.
Just like the new shoes, however, I find the change I’m making feels difficult, maybe even impossible, in the beginning. As you’ve heard me say before, it’s hard to get worse at something you practice, and that includes change.
Another truth is that change happens. It actually is the only constant. We might as well learn to enjoy it because change can hurt and it can also heal or just be darn interesting. Allan Karl has a list of 20 reasons why change is good.
These days when I feel resistant to change I remember what Tony Robbins said – without expecting a new car. Reading Allan’s list can also help.
Do you find that change can hurt or heal?
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Write well and often,