Five obstacles to life change and how to overcome them
Do you have a dream? Is there something you want to change in your life?? Do you want to start a new business? Maybe changing careers to something you are really passionate about? Is it time to get healthy, go to the gym? There are probably very few of us in the world who want life to stay just like it is. Most of us see some type of possibilities or areas of growth but the question is "Why are there more dreamers than doers?"
The reality is that change is difficult. The reason that so many stay where they are and keep doing what they're doing is that the space between dreaming and doing is full of obstacles. Here are five major obstacles that we face and how to overcome them.
Fear is there to protect you, to keep you alive. Fear prevents you from walking in front of a bus or eating bad sushi. But fear also keep you stuck in place. The list of fears that we have can be exhausting and never ending. Fear will make us afraid of failing, looking stupid, getting hurt and a long list of other possible outcomes. This obstacle is one of the most debilitating because it strikes to the heart of who we are.
How to Overcome: Start with worst case scenario. What happens if you pursue some change in life, some new idea and it doesn't work out? Unless the result is certain death or mutilation....you're going to be ok. Make a list of the fears and then work through each one. How can you negate the fear? Tell fear that it will be ok, no one has ever died from writing a blog post!
Doubt and fear are like the evil version of coffee and donuts, they go well together. Any party that fear is invited to doubt tags along for the fun of it. Personal doubt tell us we're not good enough. It reminds us of past failures and predicts that our current dream will end in the same way. At other times it attacks the idea or dream itself. It tells us that the idea is no good, or that the dream probably won't work anyway. Who are we to dream?
How to Overcome: When doubt attacks, you can defend yourself with your successes. Think through and make a list of the things you've done and succeeded at. Confidence is the opposite of doubt and the best way to build it is to create your own highlight reel. We have a tendency to focus on the failures, which are relatively few compared to all of the things that we've actually accomplished. The same can be said in relation to an idea. Just a little market research can quickly help affirm that an idea is worth pursuing.
Lack of Knowledge
Whereas doubt and fear are obstacles that deal with abstracts, lack of knowledge can be an actual issue. Often times when we are looking at change or pursuing a new idea it will take us into unchartered territory. This new journey will most likely lead us into a gap between what we know and what we don't know. There will always be something new to learn whether it's for a new job, how to workout, or being in a healthy relationship. If we're not careful we can get overwhelmed by how much we don't know and this obstacle keeps us in place.
How to Overcome: When you first start thinking through the change you want to make, also think through what you need to learn. The list will probably grow over time but start with the obvious. Once you have put together a list then work through each item, can you learn it from a friend/colleague, Google, an online class? If it requires certification or a larger degree then begin making plans on how to pursue the best course of study for you. Remember, rarely do the skills you have fully prepare you for the challenge ahead.
You know how things work in your current job, lifestyle and relationships. Even if you're either unhappy you know where you are and what to expect. When you look at making changes, the greater the space between what is and what can be, the unknowns can be overwhelming. Unfortunately there are is no Waze for life, no way of knowing where the obstacles or detours are. This can be a significant obstacle when contemplating change.
How to Overcome: The reality is that you are contemplating change because there is some level of dissatisfaction with what you're currently doing. So use this to your advantage. Think through what life looks if you stay where you are and nothing changes. What happens to your ideas, job, relationships, health? If things stay as they are, what does that look like? This will provide you with the courage to jump up and start moving towards your idea. Now mark out the first 2-3 steps to take. You don't need to know where to turn in 400 miles you just need to know how to get out of the neighborhood.
Time is something that we're all short off. Sadly even if there was 25 hours in a day we would find a way to fill them up. When you're working full-time, raising kids or spending time with friends, running errands and maintaining life time is an issue. I've heard more than enough people say "I hate my job, but I don't have time to update my resume and look for a new one." Time is a very real obstacle and either deters or significantly slows us from changing.
How to Overcome: Start with your calendar. What are you spending time doing? Look for things that are optional and start removing them from your schedule for this season of life. This process can be difficult because we all have things we love to spend our time on and cutting them out of our lives for a season is tough but the rewards will be worth it. You are in "Go" mode at this point and you need all of your time, energy and resources to be focused on the launch. Be creative with your time, use the commutes to listen to podcasts to beef up your knowledge. Download books to Kindle and read a few pages at a time instead of playing online games. Replace light reading with publications related to the idea you're pursuing. With a few changes you can turn time from an obstacle to an asset.
What obstacles are you facing as you look at change? What are finding helpful in overcoming them so you can live your greatest life story?