Just this week, I worked with a client who, despite her efforts to build a new career path, hasn’t been able to achieve — or even move one step towards — her ultimate goals. We analyzed what’s in the way, and why the process of change towards what she’s dreamed of for herself just hasn’t gotten off the ground.
Our conversation got me thinking about this:
Why do so many thousands of people fail to move forward effectively towards their dreams and goals, even when they have a deep desire to?
After exploring what was going on in my client's life, it became clearer that what she is dealing with personally now is quite different from when we began working together, and these new challenges have dramatically altered her focus and energy.
I remember years ago when I was speaking to a coach in the Tony Robbins organization, and he said:
“I don’t really care what my clients want. I care what they’re committed to.”
That statement resonates with me, and I wholeheartedly agree because it’s what we’re committed to — those goals and visions we’ll defend to the death and put our precious life’s energy and focus toward — that gets done, not the millions of other wants and desires that roll through our minds every day. Yet I’ve observed that even having deep commitment isn’t nearly enough to bring our goals into physical reality. So much more is going on behind the scenes — in how we think, operate, feel and respond to our world — that will either help us generate change and movement, or thwart it at every turn.
Below are the top 5 reasons and factors I've found that prevent people from moving forward to creating the change they desire in their lives and livelihoods:
#1. They don’t know how to sustain motivation
Many people are able to get out of the gate towards the change they want, but when the going gets tough, they give up and throw in the towel, often very quickly. It’s one thing to have a deep yearning for something and get moving toward it. It’s quite another to keep your motivation up, to persist and persevere when it’s hard, exhausting, demoralizing and when the world seems against you.
Tip: When you’re feeling ready to cave and throw in the towel, understand exactly how you have sustained motivation in the past to achieve a big, stretch goal, and replicate those sources of motivation. For some, it’s finding a coach or accountability partner to work with regularly. For others, it’s sharing the goal with a group of friends who will keep you honest about it. For others still, it’s journaling every day, to help them process and understand what they’re experiencing and make deeper sense of it. Discover the way that works best for you, and get going with it. Motivation doesn’t just happen — you have to actively build and sustain it.
#2. They have the desire but not the tools (mindset, energy, know-how, support, etc.) to create change
Many of us have goals for big change, but struggle because we lack the necessary know-how to go about creating it. For instance, I’ve been desperately longing to write a screenplay of a compelling story I’ve had in my head for over 7 years. Despite my desire to do it, and my attempts at moving forward (taking a 3-day STORY class by writing guru Robert McKee, reading books about screenwriting, buying screenwriting software, studying great screenplays, etc.) I just couldn’t make any headway. Why? Because it’s really hard to write a powerful story with amazing, complex characters and riveting conflicts, and I have zero experience with it. Just believing it is possible doesn't mean I can do it alone. I finally hired a great writing coach in Los Angeles who has depth of experience in helping new and seasoned writers birth their stories, and finally, I’m on my way to writing this the way I want to.
Do you have the right tools to make the change you want?
Tip: Identify the specific expertise, knowledge and skill you need to get moving, then bring that knowledge into your life. Whether it’s a class, an expert, watching a series of training videos, getting a certification — get moving towards hiring or bringing into your life the skill set required to bring you the new mindset and approach that you need to tackle this goal.
#3. What they thought they wanted want isn’t turning out to be right, but they don’t pivot
In working with people who want a completely different career, we embark together on a process of change that involves 8 stages of transformation:
4. Letting Go
This process takes time and patience. Sadly, people are incredibly impatient and want instant gratification; in short, they expect and demand major change to happen overnight. But as we know, it won’t. Further, so many are simply unwilling to look at themselves deeply and engage in the inner shifts and modifications necessary to bring about the changes they long for in their outside world.
Tip: If you won’t pivot — modify how you’re seeing the world, what you’re thinking and focusing on, how you’re engaging with others and dealing with challenges, and how you’re communicating and advocating for yourself, you won’t be able to bring about the changes you desire. If no changes were necessary in yourself or in the path that you're carving out, you’d already be where you want to be. Today, take a deep, long look at where you are and how you need to pivot, adjust and adapt based on what you're learning. And stop to understand if your dominant action style that you're engaged in is actually supporting (or thwarting) you on this journey.
#4. Their confidence has been flattened and they don’t know how to rebuild it
People who experience harsh blows in their life and work (like being fired or publicly humiliated, going broke or losing a business, etc.) and who already have a fragile ego to begin with, often don’t recover. They allow the blow to define them, rather than strengthen them.
I’ve heard from hundreds of people over the years who share that they can’t get over their layoff or firing, or their failed entrepreneurial ventures or ruined relationships. They feel like an abject loser and failure. One of my course members just today shared this question: “Kathy, once you realize the root of your fragile ego and perfectionism - why you are this way- what are the next steps to remove the block or work on the behavior?” Great, honest question.
Tip: To deal with flagging confidence and a frail ego, it requires what I call an intensive “brave up” process: Every single day, you need to muster the vigilance to identify and change how you're thinking about yourself. You need to gain deeper awareness of your thoughts and actions that are negative, self-loathing and self-defeating, that are less than positive and self-affirming, and then work to change them, over and over until it becomes an ingrained habit to think more positively, bravely and confident about yourself. And it takes building a life-long habit of moving out of your comfort zone every day, into the realm of the unknown, towards embracing more risk where you can flex your life-expanding muscles and take empowered, bold and confidence-building actions. In the end, confidence comes from one thing only - empowered actions that align with the highest and bravest version of yourself .
#5. New life challenges bubble up to shift their priorities
Finally, it’s important to understand that timing is everything. There is a right time to launch a new business and a wrong time. There’s a right time to chuck your corporate job and change your career, and a wrong time. The wrong time is when critical life challenges bubble up and demand that you shift your priorities to focus on the here and now and do what has to be done to survive and thrive.
If you attempt to launch or achieve something major at a time that your life is already demanding too much of you, your chances of success in the new venture are greatly diminished.
Tip: Be honest with yourself. If you’re thinking of pursuing a huge dream, is this the time to chuck everything and go for it, or do you have too much that’s draining you right now from essential life energy needed that you must handle first? For instance, if you’re pregnant and expecting a baby in two months, is this the right time to launch your new business? For most, it isn’t, because you’re already launching the most important thing in the world — a new life — and for millions of people, that launching demands more time, energy, patience, and focus than they've ever imagined.
Or is your teen son failing in school and showing signs of addiction to drugs? If so, is this the time for you to take a new corporate role halfway around the world?
Or is your elderly mother dealing with dementia plus a life-threatening disease and needs your support?
Figure out what life priorities matter most to you now, and do what you need to to honor those. Effectively manage what's in front of you, to stay afloat in your current situation, while always planting the seeds for your future self and your future visions. Take the right steps to move forward when the time is right to create the future you dream of.
Read the original post on Forbes.