What’s Keeping You Stuck if You Want to Change?
There are few people I know who don’t want to change anything. Most who I encounter are contemplating changes ranging from small to gargantuan. Interestingly, the size of the shift often isn’t proportionate to the turmoil it causes.
The people who move on successfully (and with the least strife) know what’s keeping them stuck. Moreover, they do the one thing they need to do to move forward that so many others resist. Can you guess what it is?
I won’t keep you in suspense.
The one thing you need to do before moving forward is let go of the past.
Yeah, easier said than done.
What’s Keeping You Stuck if You Want to Change?
In all likelihood, you’ve been there. You truly do want to move forward yet there’s something keeping you up at night. Something that’s not quite right. If you’re wondering what that “thing” is, it’s the trade. In straightforward terms, the trade is choosing and unknown future for a known present.
Here are three people I’ve worked with over the past few years. While your circumstances may be different, I’ll bet you can see echoes of yourself in their stories.
Cecelia was a working mom who frequently traveled for work. As an executive, work was demanding, and she often found herself explaining to her crying child why she could not go on the class field trip or catch their soccer game. Cecelia quit her job and spend more time with her family while they were still young. Even after she made the move, she constantly doubted she made the right choice.
Jacob was also an executive, and when his company was acquired, almost overnight, the culture changed. Three jobs and three companies later, he’s still pining away for the good old days. He also actively wonders why he can’t find somewhere as special as that one place he worked prior to the acquisition.
Lane was a stay at home mom who decided to rejoin the workforce and get a job outside of her home when her youngest child started middle school. When she found a position at a local university, she was excited but only a few months in she was overwhelmed with the commute and office politics. She thought about quitting daily and had immense guilt over the hours her children had alone at home after school.
What do Cecelia, Jacob, and Lane have in common?
On the surface, they made a change – the big leap. However, their bodies were in one place, and their mindset was in another. They’ve never fully let go of the past.
When we started our coaching work together, that’s where we focused. We asked the question: How do you let go of something that you didn’t even realize that you were holding on to?
If you really want to #MaketheLeap you have to let go first.
How Do You Let Go?
1) Stop the Internal Noise
The voice of doubt that’s screaming in your head? You can stop it and tell that “devil” to shut up. Stress levels rise when you’re constantly listening to that negative voice instead of turning up the volume on the positive one. Tune into the part of you that had the confidence and courage to change – for a reason. You can turn down the noise when you start to notice your inner dialog instead of buying into it.
2) Recognize that few choices are forever
There are few changes in life that can’t be changed again. Close your small business? You can open another one. Change companies? More former employers than you’d imagine are happy to have you back. Divorce? Cross country move? Whatever your choice, make a decision without worrying that it’s for forever. The key is to make a choice and give it a go – and not stay in the swirling swamp of indecision.
3) Start being honest with others (and yourself) about your choice
Hiding what you plan to do because it’s easier to undo only keeps you stuck. I have clients that worked with me for a year as they went back and forth on closing their business. They never told anyone about their struggle or their decision, even their spouse, because it gave them the freedom to change their mind again and again. Telling others, making your choice public, isn’t to gauge public opinion, but to make it real instead of a theoretical “something you could do.” You can’t live a fulfilling life as a temp. Don’t be afraid to go all in.
4) Redefine success and failure
You’re not a failure when you do something consciously, and it doesn’t work out. You’re also not a failure when you choose to shift away from what everyone thinks you should want and choose what you want. It goes back to the success v. satisfaction battle and changing your definition of success. Making outward choices without the inward shift in how you view success is bound for trouble.
5) Reach for something new
Changes that are different from the past don’t erase it. You can’t change the past, but both the present and future are in your control. Cecelia, Lane, and Jacob all eventually realized that they get to choose not only what they do with their days but also set new goals and have new dreams. Letting go with nothing compelling in front of you feels like a free fall. Letting go to embrace the future, even when it’s new and scary, gives you purpose.
Choices you make for your future do not erase the past. Let go.
If you’re in the mud, unable to move forward even after making a change, it could be that you’ve missed the critical step of letting go. Change is more than shifting circumstances, it’s the way you see the world and your place in it. There’s no forward motion when you’re desperately holding on to what was instead of creating what can be.
What’s stopping you from letting go and making a change you’ve been resisting?
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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