change Feb 17, 2021

I'm all about embracing change — it's right there in the name of this channel and in my title as a transformation coach. But I do not promote change for the sake of change, especially if it is motivated by fear or by running away from something. Today, we're going to talk about when not to make a change, and dive down to the roots of the issue.

What it is your motivation?

The first question to ask yourself is this: "What is my motivation for pursuing this change?" Let's be clear from the beginning that I'm not suggesting that there are any "right" or "wrong" answers here -- at least not as far as I am concerned. It is not for you to convince me that you are making the right decision; it is for you to be confident in yourself that you are making the right decision for you.

So, what is motivating this? Broadly speaking, is it fear or is it love? Is it something else? Explore this question -- maybe even try journaling about it.

Are you moving towards or away?

The next question is, "Are you moving towards something or away from something?" Let's consider the example of someone who wants to leave one career path for another. They could be motivated by getting away from a dead-end job or a manager they don't like...or they could be motivated by pursuing their dream career path. Again, one of these motivations isn't better than the other, but what matters is that we are being honest with ourselves. If you want to get away from a job you don't like, there's no need to pretend it's a nobler or more selfless motivation at work. Be honest with yourself first, and as that builds up your courage it will be easier to be honest with others.

Is there something in yourself that you are trying to avoid looking at?

Okay, this is the really sticky one, and it's so important to really take time to dive into it. Is there something in yourself that you are trying to avoid looking at? I think of this a lot in the context of relationships -- our partners mirror us back to ourselves, which can be really uncomfortable. I know this was true for me -- I spent a long time as a single person, and I thought I had gotten all of my hard lessons and personal growth out of the way by the time I met my husband. Ha! In the earliest years of our relationship, I was confronted by myself in ways I couldn't have even imagined previously. That might be the time when many of us are tempted to leave our relationships -- we don't like what we're seeing in that mirror, so we think it will be easier or better or different with someone else. But here's the deal: if you're trying to run away from something that you're bringing into this relationship, then you're going to bring that same something with you into the next relationship.

Granted, I am not saying there aren't times when leaving a relationship is the right choice. And I'm not saying this question only applies to relationships, either. Sit with this question for awhile, and ask yourself to honestly answer if there is something that you're trying to avoid or escape.

What do you expect the transformation will bring?

Finally, ask yourself what you think this transformation will do for you. What will it bring to you? Will it make your life easier or happier? Will you suddenly find you don't have any problems at all?

Some of those desires are pipe dreams. After all, there are people who have everything you want who are unhappy right now. There are people who are wealthy who still get sad and angry and still experience the full range of human emotions. The question here is whether or not you are being honest about what you can expect from this transformation. If you expect it to cure all of the ailments in your life, it's unlikely to do that. But sometimes, it really can bring you something worth having -- I think of the example from my own life of pivoting to a more aligned area of focus in my work. No, it didn't suddenly bring me wealth or fame, but it did bring me creative inspiration and the feeling of being in flow that I wouldn't change for anything.