Picture this; one of your closest friends comes to you, tells you they want to make some life changes, starting with their health and starting today. Do you:
- Laugh in their face and tell them to stop wasting their time
- Tell them they’re too busy to do that stuff
- Congratulate them but as soon as they’ve gone, tell someone else and share your doubt’s they can do it
- Congratulate them and offer your support and encouragement
I might be pushing my luck here but I’m going to predict that you’d go with option d), because, for most of us who treasure our relationships, we want to encourage friends to go for what they desire. And even if we need to inject some realistic optimism into the mix, we tend to do so with kind words and with best intentions.
That said, let’s take a deeper look at the other 3 options because I would bet money on it that you have, do, will do one or more of these things when it comes to making changes in your own life. I know I certainly have…
Laugh In Your Face & Tell Yourself To Stop Wasting Time
How often have you talked yourself out of doing something you really wanted to do? The charity race you wanted to run to help your fitness and support a cause, the weight you wanted to lose to improve your wellbeing so you could run riot with the kids, the holiday you wanted to take to visit friends you haven’t seen in years and have been promising to see. It’s likely we’ve all been there at some point, making promises to ourselves, getting really excited at the prospect of doing something new, challenging or long desired. Yet within minutes, hours, possibly days we U-turn. Suddenly the idea doesn’t seem so great, suddenly the ‘what if’ monster appears to talk us down from the threatening clifftop we were so ready to dive from. Now we say ‘No… it’s too hard, it’s too late, it’s too time-consuming, too unimportant and there’s a list of more pressing things to do. So what if it sounded exciting before, it doesn’t now. What was I thinking?’
We get trapped in the place called comfort, the zone where everything is known, relatively easy and there are few surprises. It’s safe and generally fear free, even if it is sometimes painful and undesired; at least it’s recognisable. Does it matter then if you miss out on your growth potential? Does it really matter if you never discover what you’re capable of? Is it really an issue if you belittle your talents?
Tell Yourself You Are Too Busy To Do That Stuff
Time… That constantly flowing rhythm by which we structure the events of our lives. We use time to move around our world, to work, to create, to plan, to be but we equally use it to excuse our fear of change, of challenges, of new experiences. Time is the ultimate scapegoat when all else fails. ‘I’m too busy, too important, too consumed with work, family… life’. It’s as if doing something new will eat away at all the time we have left and yet time is constant. It ends when life ends; not before.
When you use work, family or whatever other time-related reason you find to avoid expanding your horizons and potential, are they valid or purely excuses? Are you hiding behind convenient reasoning or blatantly lying to yourself?
Congratulate Yourself For Having The Idea But Doubt You Can Do It
What a monster this one is. Not even a foot on the starting line and already we’re backing up and looking for the exit. After all, who are we to think we can do anything more than we currently are doing. It was a nice thought but totally unrealistic, stupid really. There are those who are meant to do more, gifted that way. But little old us; no. This is our lot.
At what point did we begin to think our potential had nothing else to give, no place else to grow? It’s as if once we’ve learnt the basics; to survive, communicate, socialise, get an education and work, we need only get up each day and go through the motions. That’s it? Is it unreasonable to believe there is more to life than that? Is it a bit greedy to expect anything more? Is it okay to cheat yourself out of the opportunities that present themselves because in a moment of thinking you don’t believe you are worthy, good enough, knowledgeable enough, ready?
What’s clear to me is that we are often unkind to ourselves. We spend much of our time encouraging, supporting and rooting for others in their pursuits, telling them that they’ve got what it takes whilst looking at ourselves in the mirror and doing the opposite.
It’s time to break these bad habits. It’s time to be kinder to ourselves, it’s time to be our own best friend so that we pursue changes with excitement and confidence, allowing us to win, lose, succeed, fail, learn & grow, unlocking our true potential.