Change is often scary. In fact, it can be so scary that people feel paralyzed by the thought of it. Even when things are going poorly in a person’s life and they know they need to take steps to change things, they can be rendered helpless. The fear of changing feels too great. What if they take the steps to change the situation and things get worse? What if they aren’t strong enough, good enough or wise enough for this change? What if others will be sad, angry or disappointed as a result of the change? What if they make the wrong decision? The what ifs can be countless and debilitating.
The reality is that we seldom know where our decisions will take us or what the ripple effect of change will be. What I do know, however, is that doing the same—will get me the same results. This is true at work, in our friendships, romantic relationships and in our lives. If we know we are unhappy in a situation, but fail to try to change it, then we will continue to be unhappy.
Getting unstuck requires that we take a different action. I’ve seen too many people stay in toxic jobs for years, miserable relationships for decades and dead-end situations for lifetimes. These people get stuck in the what ifs, in their fears and in their undying hope for change. They lose sight of the here and now and instead get trapped wishing for guarantees. They want to know for certain that if they take the step it will be the right one. They want assurance that taking the step will lead to a new and brighter tomorrow.
Unfortunately there are few guarantees in life. All we know is that we live and someday we will die. What happens in between is a mix of good, bad and in-between. Often, making a change requires courage and a leap of faith. Although we may not know what the end result will be, we can trust that taking a step — in any direction — is necessary to get us unstuck. We can be sure that doing nothing will keep us in the same position tomorrow as today and yesterday.
Change is a necessary step in life. Take control of your destiny rather than idly sitting by, waiting and hoping for things to change. Things will be different when you make them different. Stop worrying about the what ifs and instead start thinking why not?! Why not take that new job? Why not move and start fresh? Why not end this toxic relationship once and for all? Why not stand up for yourself in an entirely different way?
Why not leap…and watch the net appear?
Change is scary, without a doubt. Change is also freeing, exciting and powerful. Start taking control of your life and stepping out in a bold new way. You’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by the results…and if not—take newer steps. That’s the beauty about change—you can always change things again ;-).
Challenge: Make a list of all the areas in which you feel stuck and ask yourself what’s keeping you there. Begin to ask yourself why not rather than what if? Notice what shifts for you.