Significant change is possible

What are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending to want?


Elizabeth Gilbert

We say we want something to change, but how much do we really want it and what are we willing to give up in order to make it happen?

I say I want to live an expanded life – one that is not ruled by fear – but what am I willing to endure to make that happen? What if not being ruled by fear is not about erasing it from my life, but about feeling afraid and taking action anyway? Am I willing to be uncomfortable? Am I willing to feel like things are out of my control? Willing make a fool of myself as I try something new? Am I willing to give up my belief that this is beyond my capacity? Am I willing to give up being on autopilot and get conscious to what’s really going on for me?

There’s something strange that happens inside my head when I’m trying to make big changes in my life. I decide what I want and start going after it. In some barely conscious way, I appear to want the change without actually having to adjust anything I’m doing. I mentally kick and scream at the discomfort of the new way and start getting resentful for having to make the changes – as if someone else forced them on me! All the while, I’m telling myself I want the desired outcome, but do I really want it? What am I wiling to give up to get what I want?

Significant change is possible, but it’s not easy that is for sure.

Are you trying to change some repeated pattern in your life? Here are some things that may help.

  1. The 10-second pausebefore making that same choice, following that repeated pattern – stop. Wait for 10 seconds and then pay attention to what is going on with you. This is an exercise in creating awareness. What are you feeling? What just happened? What thoughts are running through your head? What’s going on in your body? Just notice what’s happening (without judgement) when you try to make this change. I suggest making a note of it somehow – on your phone or in a journal – to see if a pattern emerges.
  2. Ask yourself what you want. I mean what do you really want. Be specific about what making that change will give you. Write down the benefits, the ripple effects in other areas. The more detail the better. You want to make sure this is something you actually want, not something you think you should want, or something someone else wants for you.
  3. Ask yourself what you are willing to give up on in order to make it happen. Be specific about what you’ll need to let go of to make this change in your life. This is where referencing your awareness in step one will help. In my example of not wanting fear to rule my life, I might have to give up the idea that I will ever “get over” my fear or not feel it anymore when I’m taking a courageous step forward. I might have to be willing to give up feeling comfortable, or perhaps let go of my idea that I am incapable in this area. You get the idea.

I am a writer, speaker and courage coach. Connect with me. Learn more about coaching with me. Learn more about me.

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