November 28, 2014

Change Without Judgment — Beware: Reasons Always Win (Part 4)

This is Part 4 of a series called “Change Without Judgment.” If you have not read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3, go back and read them now. We’ll wait, and you’ll be glad you did.

Suppose we get past all those judgments and accusations and start moving toward the change we want. Does that mean we’ve put the negativity behind us for good?

Unfortunately, no. In fact, be warned: the longer we keep moving forward, the more we’ll hear those judgments again and again. At first, they’re bombastic and in your face. Over time, they get sneakier, camouflaging themselves as just plain reasonable and prudent common sense. Maybe you’ve heard some of those already: “Hasn’t this gone on long enough?” “Isn’t it about time you gave up this nonsense and got a real job?” “Haven’t you made your spouse/ family/ friends suffer enough?” Talk about a guilt trip.

I do an exercise in my workshops where I ask people to list all the reasons why they can’t have the change they want in their lives. It’s always the same list: not enough money, not enough time, I’m too old, I’m too young… and on it goes. You might take a moment and list your own reasons. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Done? Okay, I can’t see your list, but I guarantee you haven’t come up with anything that someone else doesn’t have on their list. I know that, because I’ve got a master list compiled from dozens of workshops to prove it.

If we all have the same list, then why do any of us ever even bother? What makes all these reasons so powerful that they take the wind out of our sails? Because they come with the full force of judgment. They’re right, we’re wrong. They’re reasonable, we’re crazy. And so it goes. Judgment is a powerful negative energy; it wins by making us feel bad until we plead guilty and quit trying to make the change we want.

How do we get past all these reasons and the judgment that makes them so strong? We can start by remembering three things. First, there will always be reasons why it’s wrong for us to pursue our dreams and visions and big ideas. Always. They come with the territory. Second, they’re always the same reasons, no matter what we’re trying to do. And third, they’re indisputable. They come with the full force of reason, and we can’t argue with them.

In other words, these reasons are part of the landscape of change. Which means that, if they’re filling your head, you’re right where you’re supposed to be! You wouldn’t be hearing them if you weren’t moving toward the change you want. You can quiet them by quitting, but you don’t want to do that. So what do you do about them?

The answer will surprise you.

To be continued…

Five years ago, Kevin Rhodes left a successful 20+ years career in private practice to pursue a creative dream. He recently gave himself the title “Change Guru” to describe his work helping individuals and organizations to make transformative changes. He leads lead workshops on that topic for a variety of audiences, including the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. To learn more, see http://kevin-rhodes.com/.

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