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Go. Stop. Help me. I want to change. Do I really? Let’s go left. No, let’s go right. I have so much to gain. I don’t see any benefits. What do you want from me? Leave me alone. I don’t know. Wait. Continue.
Mixed messages. They are confusing. Difficult to handle. And yet, we send them every day. Not only to our environment. Even to ourselves. Do you recognize the inner debate? Whether you are going to pursue that goal or not? And if you finally decide you will, when will you start? Tomorrow? Whatever it takes? I remember myself, one year ago. It took me probably 15 minutes before I finally pushed the “call” button on my phone to talk to my personal trainer for the first time. 15 minutes is a long time when you are “holding” that button already. As if my life depended on it.
If you ask me, it all comes down to this one thing: Please don’t touch. Please don’t make me change my reality. I’m not ready. Please don’t make me change my personality. Please don’t make me do things I might regret later. I don’t know if it will be worth the effort. And just maybe we’ll go from bad to worse? I have written it before, in fact nobody wants to change anything. Neither do I. Whatever your current situation might be. It is yours. You know what you have. And it’s not all thát bad. Is it?
We think we want the change. But in fact we don’t. We’re biased by nature. And so it’s easier to keep sending mixed messages. Or pretend it’s not there. Frustrating for the ones receiving those signals. Especially when we keep repeating ourselves. When did you last say to someone else: “Don’t complain, make a change. Walk the talk”. Or: “If you’re not going to make a change, stop complaining”. The funny thing is, when we are looking at others, it is easy. Just do it. You want to get fit? Go to the gym. You want to improve your work-life balance? Just say no to your boss. Look at your own experiences with colleagues, family or friends. I am sure you have at least one specific example of your own.
But what about your own mixed messages? Are you aware of them? And when you are in fact pursuing that one goal, do you really make the effort? Or are you hiding behind excuses? Is “tomorrow” your eternal starting point? And what will it take for you to really get started? Emergency? Obligation? More time?
For me as an executive Coach, the trajectories with the greatest return on investment for my client and his/her organization are the ones where my client is saying “please DO touch”. Let’s take a look at my past, my present, my future. Let’s touch on the reasons why I keep doing the same thing over and over again whilst perfectly knowing it is not helping me to reach any of my goals. Let’s look at the triggers that cause me to fall back into my old habits. Let’s touch on my current behaviour, let’s see where I succeed and where I don’t. It takes courage to quit your comfort zone. And humility not to let your ego stand in your way. Not to mention the discipline it takes to make a sustainable change.
Read more on courage, humility and discipline (Marshall Goldsmith): make a visible change in your Leadership behavior
Now, let me challenge you. Take a look at the óne topic you have not wanted to be “touched” so far. Not by yourself, and certainly not by anyone else. Whether it is related to personal or professional development, managing change, better personal relationships, creating more impact, better listening, personal recognition or better quality of work or life. What would be the change if you did touch? What would be the benefit for yourself and your environment?
And then I’m curious, do you think it will be worth the effort?
About the author
Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me and a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself