When You Hope For Change

Each person I've worked with in the last ten years has pursued a relationship with me because there was a meaningful change they wanted to make. A type of change they wanted courage and accountability to pursue.

Over time, I began to notice a pattern in the change process.

No matter what particular change someone might be seeking, there always comes a point where they must face an inconvenient truth, engage in a conflict, or make a brave decision in order to move forward.

Put simply, a painful obstacle presents itself. When this happens, I've observed an all-too-human phase a person usually goes through next.

I call it the “Hope As a Strategy” Phase. Let me explain.

In an effort to resist the pending discomfort, they begin to wait. In waiting, they begin to use hope as a strategy--a sense of passive willpower that they can somehow move forward without facing the painful obstacle in front of them.

They hope the conflict will resolve itself, the real truth will change itself or the decision will make itself.

(Don't worry, we've all been there. No one is alone on this one!)

Inevitably, using hope as a strategy steadily worsens their plight like the spreading of mold beneath a surface. This waiting for change rather than taking action for change makes whatever they were resisting all the more harsh to face when their hoping ultimately doesn't work out (and I've never seen it work out).

Hope is a beautiful value, a powerful resilience tool and an amazing abundance mindset. But, hope is not an effective strategy.

A far more effective strategy is courage: a willingness to take the first step into uncertainty, risk or exposure. A willingness to take the next right action with a feeling of trust. A willingness to let go of control.

On the path to meaningful change, our own resistance will always be the greatest obstacle to overcome. The paradox is this: when we resist discomfort, we amplify it. When we lean into discomfort, we relieve it.

When we embrace hard things with courage, we ultimately minimize suffering.

I can attest there is nothing more terrifying than the single courageous millisecond where you hit send on that vulnerable text, click submit on that job application, or blurt out to your boss that things aren't going well.

Yet, the discomfort of that courage is the price of admission for its relief. No meaningful change can be achieved without it.

The hardest part will be showing up to the painful obstacle. The second hardest part will be getting started. Trust that your best is enough for the rest.

"Many situations in life are similar to going on a hike: the view changes once you start walking. You don't need all the answers right now. New paths will reveal themselves if you have the courage to get started."

-James Clear

Reflections:

  • What change are you hoping will happen on its own?

  • What is the smallest first step you could take?

  • How can you break the change down into steps that are impossible to fail?

You can do hard things. Rooting for you!

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