Change is often times a scary word. Or should I say, what we THINK about change is scary. There is such normalcy and security in our everyday schedules with the people we know and our daily routines. To contemplate changing even the smallest something sends us in a tailspin and our minds conjure up the worst possible scenarios that could happen as a result of making a change.
It may be something as small as the way we style our hair. Or something huge like a job or relationship change. Whatever it is, we resist with every fiber of our being. I’ve often pondered why God wired us to resist change. Or is it a natural fear reaction that has nothing to do with God?
What has been your journey of change and why do you think we want to change so much? Do you sometimes feel lost, frustrated, scared, unsure, anxious, trapped, or unfulfilled? Are you stuck in a dead end job or smothered by other’s expectations. If so, then I’m sure you have contemplated some type of change. We naturally seek happiness, fulfillment, and pleasure so anything that is within our power to bring us out of pain and into comfort we pursue.
Our journey to change must begin with that desire or a bigger reason why. This burning desire or our reason why has to be so huge that it motivates us through the initial idea to the actions required to accomplish the desired change. When your why is big enough your how will appear. Your why needs to make you cry. It has to be so motivating that you will go beyond what your mind can comprehend and motivate that inner desire that will carry and pull you through the tough times.
We often care enough about ourselves to change our lives, but we usually don’t have a clue where to start. We want another life and wish for another life but don’t know where to begin. Sometimes there’s more than one thing we want to change. We become frustrated and then do nothing.
My goal is to help you focus on yourself and help you understand your habit or what you see as a character flaw that you want to change in order to live a prosperous fulfilled life.
Let’s look at C.H.A.N.G.E. to discover what this journey will involve.
C. Courage. It’s going to take courage to look ourselves in the mirror and admit that we need to change. Courage is defined as the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. As children we’re taught the story of the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz who finds the courage to face the witch. In the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum writes, “There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.”
The Bible teaches courage with the story of David who kills the giant Goliath with a sling shot. We were all raised on these inspirational stories of heroism. But when it comes time to look within and face the truth about ourselves we falter and make excuses.
There are many types of courage along your journey that it may take to accomplish your goals. The first will be the courage to admit you want to change. The journey starts with that first step. From there your courage will start to grow and you’ll draw on that courage as you’re faced with stepping out of your comfort zone and doing those exercises to increase your stamina. You may need to go to bed hungry a few nights to achieve that desired weight. You may need courage to take that financial risk to follow your dream or face that loved one with tough love. Whatever your personal goals become always plan to incorporate the courage required to follow them through.
A Course in Miracles states, “It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” Have the courage to look within and don’t endure a lifetime of misery.
H. Honesty. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, then who can we be honest with? We have the tendency to keep fooling ourselves that everything is ok. We’re fine just the way we are, we don’t need to change. Our inner voice repeats over and over all these lies of justification. You know yourself better than anyone else. We all know the things about our moral character that we need to change.
The quote by Robert Louis Stevenson says it best, “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” Be an honest friend to yourself and admit the things you should change and be willing to have the courage to change the things you want to change.
This is your life and you have the power to choose what you want to do and decide how well you want to do it. Take the power to control your own life and make your life happy by being honest with what you need to change.
A. Acceptance. In addition to courage and honesty we must accept our current conditions. If we are in constant denial about where we are in our business, personal or financial lives we will never be able to focus on a plan to change. Acceptance is a person’s ability to agree to the reality of a situation.
I know many people who cannot accept the reality of their existing situation. They are in denial and keep spending and charging with money they do not have or any idea where it’s going to come from. I know people who are living lives of quiet desperation with family members who are stealing from them or abusing them. Wake up people! Stand up and accept your situation. Only then will you be able to start to make the changes you need to make for a more fulfilled life. Acceptance is a choice and sometimes a hard one but one only you can make.
N. Never Give Up. Along our journey of change there will be times we want to give up and throw in the towel. The going gets tough and we have sore muscles, we’re tired, we’ve angered a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. The path ahead looks too hard to travel and we feel alone.
This feeling can come along at different times along the journey. Sometimes it’s in the beginning when everything seems so different and we don’t have that much time or money invested in a new venture. The urge to give up or quit seems too enticing.
More often this feeling comes when we are about to make that huge break through and have been putting in so much effort but can’t quite see the finish line. Then frustration takes over and the urge to give up is stronger and stronger. We must always believe that we are strong and we deserve the best that life has to offer. This is when our reason why needs to be in front of us motivating our forward movements. As long as you are alive anything is possible and you have the choice to keep trying until you finally succeed.
There are many famous athletes that attribute their success to their failures. Babe Ruth had more strike outs than home runs. Michael Jordan kept trying even when he had missed over 300 shots and missed the winning shot of the game many times. Without these misses and failures they would not have kept pushing and trying.
Always remember that you are stronger than you think and don’t let one setback stop you from achieving your goals. Don’t sell yourself short. There will be many people who will try to bring you down and tell you what you want to achieve is impossible. Don’t let anyone person or thing steal your dreams.
G. Guts. This one goes hand in hand with Never Give Up. In order to never give up you must have the guts or gumption to keep on keeping on. Guts is a slang word but is synonymous in our culture with courage and determination.
I’m reminded of the story of Todd Beamer’s final known words before his plane crashed during the September 11 attacks on America. His battle cry of “Are you guys ready? Okay, let’s roll!” is a true story of heroism and one that definitely required guts. Are we ready to change? Do we have the guts to make those changes? Our changes are easy compared to what he was faced with.
E. Excellence. This is what we’re striving and changing for. We all want this quality of being outstanding or extremely good. This is a quality that surpasses ordinary standards. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do…excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
So, in order to become excellent, there are many habits we would want to change. These changes to become excellent would then become an inspiration and example to others to try and achieve their dreams. It becomes our legacy to ourselves and our family.
We can change the world one habit and one person at a time. It all starts with setting a strong foundation of discipline and belief in ourselves and each other. As we become aware of ourselves and are willing to have the courage, honesty, acceptance and then never give up trying that’s when our excellence can serve the world.