Guest blog by MRC Coach and Consultant Paul Morris
It is often said that no one can change unless they’re really ready to do so.
That seems to make sense and experience shows to be very true.
We can say as much as we like that we wish to change, but often, unless we are actually ready to make that change, it will likely remain only in the realm of the words ‘I want’.
Equally there is that comforting idea that ‘at least I’m now aware of what I want to change’. But as a colleague once said – perhaps harsh-sounding:
“Cemeteries are full of aware people”
How ready are you?
A genuine wish for personal change can emerge into clear focus. However, the discovery of what it means to embed that change – no small achievement in and of itself – might well remain stuck in an initial stage of: ‘Aware but not yet ready to do anything about it’.
What would happen if we turn the idea of Ready to Change on its head?
What if, instead of delaying actual change until we’re ready for it, we first of all make the change, which then brings us to readiness for it? A personal-development version of the cruder ‘fake it till you make it’ and experiential ‘do it and understand’.
We often expend as much energy (possibly more) thinking, considering and procrastinating about doing something as actually doing it.
In the same way, we invest more fear into an idea that scares us than the thing itself, while actually – finally – doing it.
Some years back I was with a bunch of friends all gleefully jumping off a cliff of several metres in height to the river below, they returning each time from the water to jump from the cliff again.
Meantime I got stuck again and again at the cliff’s edge, fearful and ‘just not ready to jump yet’.
I found a thousand reasons not to. Eventually (a couple of hours later and no one around anymore to witness) I finally jumped.
In the one or two seconds it took before hitting the water the only thought that went through my head was:
“Is that all it is?”
Is fear really going to get in your way?
I suspect that the idea of being ready to change, however truthful to our feelings that is, may be misleading and sometimes simply not that helpful.
Consider the times you delayed doing something because of fear, only to discover that the beast is perhaps a quarter of its size in reality.
A useful question to ask ourselves in the face of such a fear is “What in reality is the worst-case scenario if I perform this action?”.
The answer to this will help us to fast-track the readiness and just do it.
Do you remember playing ‘hide n’ seek’ as a kid?
Remember that brilliant action-statement by the one whose turn it was to find the hidden others:
“Coming – ready or not!”
The spontaneity of children doesn’t have time for all that readiness which as adults we seem to demand.
Don’t wait to be ready, come ready or not.
Check out Paul Morris international coach and consultant and his MRC Men’s Work Coaching Program