Why do we resist change so very much? I just spent the last hour coaching my good friend, Bob, on how to handle a difficult situation. He founded a company about ten years ago and is now ready to take it to the next level. His entire identity has been based around this company- he IS the company. For the last several years Bob has been trying to figure out how to get out of the company and follow his dream, which is very different from the “job” he found himself in while running the company.
He got his board to approve funds to bring on a consultant to tell them what to do next. You guessed it- the consultant’s recommendation was for Bob to step down from his position. And Bob wasn’t happy with the recommendation.
Bob talked for an hour on how the report didn’t recognize his accomplishments, how dismissed he was feeling and how difficult this situation was. What he failed to recognize was that he got exactly what he’d been asking for! He told me that it would have been easier to walk away if he’d had more clients for his new business, if he had more income coming in, etc, etc. I asked him if he’d been focusing on any of these positive things and he agreed that he’d been focusing on how bad things were at his company.
For the past two years Bob and I have had numerous brainstorming sessions on an exit strategy. And now that it presented itself, he was hurt and sad because he hadn’t initiated it. But, hadn’t he? I encouraged Bob to see that he’d gotten exactly what he wanted, even if it wasn’t presented in the way he would have chosen. I asked him what it would take to make him walk away. “If not this, what? How big of a sledgehammer does God need to use?”, I asked him.
He felt it would be weak and he should stand up for himself- even if he didn’t want the end result, because he didn’t want to be perceived as weak. He wanted to fight- even if it was for the wrong thing. I suggested he take that same energy and direct it toward something he chose to rally FOR, not against, like his new dream. Instead of focusing on what he didn’t want, he now had the opportunity to focus on what he DID want! Wow, that’s a great opportunity! Embrace the change and do what you really choose to do!
I asked Bob to tell me about his dream, which he did with great enthusiasm. When I asked him if his leaving his company was getting him further away from or closer to his dream, he paused and said that without a doubt, it was moving him closer to his dream. You could hear the joy in his voice. “Then what’s the problem”, I asked him. He thought about that for a moment and then, with a smile that I could hear in his voice, said that when he looked at it that way, there wasn’t a problem. Ahhhh.
I suggested that instead of throwing a “going away/retirement” party, Bob should throw a “Celebrating the Next Chapter of My Life” party. Invite all of his friends, but instead of focusing on what once was, focus on the celebration of where he is and where he’s going.
So I ask you dear reader, what are you focusing on? Are you getting exactly what you want in life or are you too focusing on what you don’t want? Are you spending your precious energy dreaming and visualizing the life you really do want to create? Are you living YOUR dream? If not now, when?
(You might enjoy the last blog on living your dream. Seems to be a popular topic lately.)