So’s the guy down the street. And the barrista who serves you java every morning. And the guy sitting next to you on the train. And the receptionist in your office. And your Mum.
Everyone’s scared to change, me included.
Let me tell you something about us human beings. We’re all hardwired not to change. That’s what we have in common. That and opposable thumbs.
If left to our own devices in a bubble, we’d happily live our lives without really changing at all.
One guy I worked with really stands out. The first time we met he told me all about the things he wanted to change. He wanted to write a screenplay and was willing to change his priorities to make it happen. He wanted to make changes in his career and was happy to make the necessary decisions. He wanted to find someone special to spend his life with and was willing to make space in his life for romance.
He went to great lengths to tell me how ready he was for change, so off we went into the coaching wonderland.
I had my suspicions in the first session, but they were made concrete during our third session when he told me all the reasons why he couldn’t do the fieldwork we’d set for him in the previous session, and started explaining how he didn’t really think he wanted the things he said he wanted when we first met.
I gave it one last shot, but after our fourth session together I fired him as a client.
He wasn’t just resistant to change, he point blank refused to change.
I could have happily kept taking his money, but I was having no fun coaching him and he was getting nothing out of it other than a little attention for 50 minutes a week.
He was so terrified of changing his life that his brain had immediately constructed a world view where he didn’t need to change.
Try as I might to make him see how he was fooling himself, his brain would keep on justifying his reasoning for side-stepping what he’d told me in our first meeting.
He wasn’t willing to be scared; wasn’t willing to experience his inner wimp.
In fact he was the worst kind of wimp, because he didn’t even know he was a wimp.
Change is scary. I get it. I feel it too.
What’s the alternative?
Living in a bubble where everything stays the same until a neighbour complains about the smell and the authorities find you slumped in the corner of your soulless flat, wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “I’m fine, don’t mess with my shit” and a lopsided, defeated look on your face.
The alternative is living in a world where you’re always safe and always right, but never happy.
If true confidence is being able to choose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour – and it is – then it’s confidence that allows you to welcome your inner wimp along for the ride. You can welcome your inner wimp and still trust yourself to step forwards.
Confidence is what makes it okay to admit that you’re scared, and for the the whole being scared thing to be okay.
Your inner wimp isn’t the enemy of change, it’s what brings you back to the present and reminds you of what’s important.
Embrace it, and enjoy the ride.