Resistance To Change

“I know that in order to take my business to the next level I’m going to need to hire some help around the house. But every time I think about hiring a housekeeper or personal assistant, I hear a voice in my head saying, ‘Who are YOU to get an assistant?’”

(I call this the “you aren’t worthy” voice.)

Peggy, a consultant who crossed the six figure mark last year, sighed after she made this confession to our group. She’d just finished telling us that her goal was to double her business income in 2017.

Doubling her income would add $120K to her bottom line. She could see a clear path to doing that IF she could free up a few more hours to work on her business. From the outside it seemed like a no-brainer to hire an assistant.

And yet she not only hesitated to do this, she was actively resisting it.

What’s fascinating to me about Peggy’s admission is that she was aware of what was holding her her back, but that wasn’t enough to prompt her to take action.

I used to think that awareness of the problem — in her case a limiting belief that she wasn’t worthy of hiring help at home — was the key to shifting behavior and creating a new outcome.

But it’s not. At least not on it’s own. In addition to having awareness of what’s holding you back, you have to be WILLING to do two things:

1- Experience the uncomfortable feelings and emotions that come up while you work to let go of any beliefs that are holding you back.

2- Create a new belief that supports you in taking action to achieve your new goal.

Every time you want to grow in your business, you will be faced with this decision: Are you willing to be temporarily uncomfortable to create a higher level of success for yourself?

Overcoming Resistance

Here’s the process I use to help my clients develop awareness about what’s holding them back and activate willingness when pursuing a new goal:

What actions will be required for me to achieve my new goal?

These actions may require you to make a specific change in your business, like hiring a virtual assistant or project manager. Or, they may require you to make a change at home, like Peggy’s need to hire a house cleaner and/or personal assistant.

When I imagine taking these actions, is there anything that feels like it’s stopping me or preventing me from taking action?

Blocks can show up as doubts, limiting beliefs and/or unpleasant physical sensations. Here’s how these elements showed up for Peggy:

  • Doubt: “I don’t know if I have enough business to justify the expense of hiring someone.”
  • Limiting belief: “Who am I to get help to empty my own dishwasher?” (This can also be translated to “I’m not worthy of hiring help.”)
  • Physical sensations: nervous and tight stomach, pounding heart

Pay particularly close attention to any physical sensations you have. An intense, visceral reaction may indicate you need the help of a therapist to allow you to move past a negative or traumatic experience associated with this belief.

Setting aside the blocks for a moment, how would you feel if you achieved this goal? And how would your life or business improve?

For this step, it’s important to go beyond thinking and actually FEEL what it would be like to accomplish your new goal. Studies have shown that you make decisions based on how you feel rather than what you think is right or logical you.

When I asked Peggy these questions, she replied, “I would feel more relaxed… And I feel excitement in my chest when I imagine working work on projects that combine more of my interests and expertise!”

Are the benefits of this change worth being temporarily uncomfortable?

This may seem like an obvious question, but it’s an important one. If the goal you have set isn’t something you really want to do, you will quit once it gets hard.

What thought or belief would help you feel excited and energized about pursuing your new goal?

Sometimes, this belief will be the opposite of the belief or doubt that is holding you back. So for example, one new belief for Peggy to try would be “I am worthy of hiring help.”
Just as with goal setting, you want to pick the new belief that feels best to you. As we brainstormed about possibilities, Peggy found that the belief that felt best to her was, “I can help more people through my business when I accept help for myself.”

These 5 questions will help you shift your focus from the “growing pains” of change and stay connected to the positive feelings you will have once you achieve your goal:

  1. What actions are required for me to achieve my goal?
  2. When I imagine taking these actions is there anything that feels like it is stopping me or preventing me from taking action?
  3. Setting aside these blocks for a moment, how would you feel if you achieved this goal? And how would your life or business improve?
  4. Are the benefits of this change worth being temporarily uncomfortable?
  5. What thought or belief would help you feel excited and energized about pursuing your new goal?

What goal will these five questions help you achieve? Share below!