August 23, 2019

Change Without Judgment — Concede the Point (Part 5)

rhodesThis is Part 5 of a series called “Change Without Judgment.” Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 are available here, so go back and read them now. You’ll be glad you did.

State as forcefully and clearly as you can the goal you want to achieve, the idea you want to implement, the change you want to see happen. You might complete this sentence:  “I want ____________.”

Take a moment to feel what it would be like if you made that happen. Let your imagine run with it. Stay in the feeling long enough to enjoy it.

For a lot of us, the instant we come back to “real life” after an exercise like that, we’re met with an internal greeting party that tells us all the reasons why it’ll never happen. The list of negatives is long and foreboding:  not enough money, not enough time, c’mon this is a crazy idea, anyone can see that.… And so it goes.

What happens next, though, is really surprising. Most of the time, we don’t just hear the list, we immediately rush to defend it! Instead of saying, “Hey now, wait just a minute,” we say, “Yeah that’s right! I really don’t have the time/ the money/ the support. What was I thinking?”

Interesting, isn’t it, the way we so ardently defend all the reasons why we can’t have what we want out of life? Not only are the reasons against us irrefutable, we’re on their side! We throw the book at our idea, judge it as not worth pursuing. And so we quit before we start.

Here’s a simple strategy for dealing with this self-defeating urge.

First, concede the point. Agree with the accusation. “You’re right, I don’t have the time/ money/ support/ whatever.”

Second, ask yourself, “Okay, now where does that leave me? What does life look like for me if I just drop the idea?”

Third, ask yourself:  “Is this outcome acceptable? Or is there still something inside of me that still wants to give it a shot?”

Fourth, if you’re not willing to give up just yet, then use your imagination to come up with a different scenario in which your idea has a chance.

We’re always free to jettison the idea after step three, but if we can’t do so without regret, then it’s best to move on to step four and put the powerful force of imagination to work. Imagination doesn’t try to win the argument, it makes all those negative reasons irrelevant. Instead of agreeing with them, we turn our efforts to creating, not debating.

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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