By Allyson R. Mallah, ACC, CPT
Americans are in a consumption-driven rat race. Whether it’s houses, cars, trendy vacations, the newest technology or the latest fashion fad, we are distracting ourselves from the painful truth that we are playing this “game of life” in the shallow end of our pool of self. For many of us, this is manifested by staying in jobs that don’t feed our passion, provide a sense of worth, stimulate our minds or nourish our spirits. This can also be caused by ignoring the reality of our relationships, be they friendships, romantic partners or business affiliations that don’t bring value to our lives. Deep down, we know that these choices block our ability to be our best, yet we keep them in our lives. We are hiding from ourselves.
Why do we do it? Because it is comfortable, familiar and safe, and change is frightening. Will the uncertain future really be better than the warmth and safety of the nest we are in today? Will taking the risk or making the sacrifice be worth it? The change will likely be painful and uncomfortable, but ignoring the truth comes at a cost. Living out of alignment with our truth is never sustainable. We all know this at some deep level, and it is what keeps us up at night praying for a better tomorrow. Nevertheless, when the sun comes up, the cycle continues. The answer? We must acknowledge our own responsibility for our situation and take action to move forward. Our lives depend on it.
If this resonates with you, the question becomes: “How can I transform my situation?”
1. Acknowledge the Truth. Change is not easy for any of us, for we are creatures of habit. Celebrate the fact that you are no longer running from your truth. Celebrate the fact that you are demonstrating courage in doing so. You are worthy of your best life and you will not settle. And, yes, you are afraid. However, courage cannot exist without fear. Dr. Robert Newton Anthony, Harvard Business School Professor and Organizational Theorist, said it best: “Most people would rather be certain they are miserable than risk being happy.” If this speaks to you, clearly you are not alone. In these moments of fear, you must ask yourself, “What is at stake if I do not risk it?” After you have that answer, is the cost one that you can live with wholeheartedly?
2. Define Your Vision. If your answer is that the cost of not moving forward is too high, this is your next step. What is it that you want? Put yourself in a creative environment, one that stimulates both your head and heart during this process. Key signs that will show you that you are on the right track are bouts of inspiration, relaxation, or a knowing feeling and inner calm. Developing strength of your vision for the future will be a strong anchor you will lean on during the challenging, scary and sometimes messy process of moving forward. It will be your force of strength when you want to buckle and turn back. Focus on your ideal, not on how you will get there. That comes next.
3. Brainstorm Your Choices. How will you close the gaps from your current reality to the future vision you defined for yourself? Brainstorm potential options. This is a place to brainstorm possible options, not discern against ones that “won’t work.” We all have limiting beliefs of what is possible for us, and we often let that get in our way before we have allowed ourselves to expand our thinking. That is why we are where we are. Our beliefs shape our current reality.
4. Select and Commit. This is where you review the choices you have identified and commit to your best option in propelling you forward. “What will move me one step closer to getting where I want to go?”
5. Just Do It. You must act. Now. If you are unsure or scared, that is okay. However, do it anyway. Remember what’s at stake if you do not. Have faith and trust in yourself and the Universe. Trust that because you are living with proper principles in mind of honoring “the truth,” you will be rewarded.
Allyson is Vice President and an executive coach for Leathers Milligan & Associates, LLC, a global management consulting company based in Phoenix. For over a decade, organizations hire Allyson to coach executives, senior leaders and high potentials. She also coaches individuals seeking their ‘next level’ in their careers and lives. Her clients often describe her as “the sharp, inspiring, caring-challenger” and specifically value her business savvy, compassionate, and no nonsense approach. Allyson is also a fitness professional who has appeared in forums such as Oxygen’s Women’s Fitness, Max Muscle Sports and Fitness, The Village Health Clubs and Spas, and Scottsdale Health magazines. Energized by transformations and helping her clients ‘rise above’ what they previously thought possible for themselves, Allyson propels her clients forward by implementing a holistic approach.
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