Norton: Knowing when it’s time for a change (column)
Have you ever felt the need to change something in your life? My guess would be yes, we all have at some point. The anguish and torment we struggle with while we go through the thought process often significantly slows down our decision making, and sometimes even keeps us from making the changes we know that we need to make.
One of the reasons we don’t make changes or like to make changes is that it forces us out of our comfort zone. We get excited about the change or we become frightened about the change, so instead of making the change we find ourselves stuck in a state of confusion and limbo.
Here’s the thing: Once we do finally make the change we needed to make, we enjoy this amazing feeling of freedom. Initially, we may feel a little remorse, we may feel like we have even made the wrong decision to change, but then as we start something new and when we learn to let go of the past and remember why we wanted to change in the first place, we begin to replace remorse with enthusiasm.
Most of us know the changes that need to be made, but we let whatever it is that we need to change hold us hostage. So there really is nothing more exhilarating and freeing than to move ahead and passionately pursue the changes that we want and that could really be life-changing.
Getting comfortable with change and breaking through our comfort zones is easier for some than it is for others. And the best path to break through our comfort zone is to release our grip on fear. When fear creeps in, it is followed by doubt, and then worry is not far behind. And when that happens, we begin the negative self-talk in our heads, and before we know it, we have talked ourselves right out of the change we know we need to make.
Recently I have lived through the entire cycle of change. As a matter of fact, I was trying to make this change for about three years, and every time I tried to make the change, I talked myself out of it, or I let someone else also talk me out of it. Stay the course, play it safe, don’t take the risk and why take a chance on something new. Those were the lies I told myself and the lies I allowed others to use to convince me not to make a change or a move at that time — these conversations went on year after year.
The good news is that the change finally happened. As I described above, I went through the cycle of emotions including remorse, holding on to the past, fear, worry and doubt, and I even tried to keep a little control over what it was that I was changing from, not really letting go completely and unable to truly move forward with my new changes.
Then it hit me, it was something I needed to change and wanted to change for years, and I did exactly what I am writing about here and encouraging you to do as well. I officially let go and let the amazing feeling of freedom and excitement propel me forward toward my new chapter in life. Freedom, excitement, something new, something I could be passionate about again and a welcome, long overdue change.
So how about you? Is there a change that you know you need to make but have talked yourself out of it or maybe even let others talk you out of it? Or are you already a change champion? I would love to hear your story of change at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we know when it’s time to change and we do what is necessary to achieve that change, it really will be a better-than-good week.
Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.