Are You Comfortably Uncomfortable? Tips to Help You Move Forward
April 07, 2017 by Tracy Baranauskas
Is there something in your life that you would like to change: your job, your career path, a relationship, your health – but instead you continue to stay in your unhappy place because it has become familiar? For many of us, it is not unusual to remain “comfortably uncomfortable” due to the fear of uncertainty. We think, “Yes, I’m not happy in this situation but at least I know how to cope here. What if I make a change and it’s worse?” Yikes! This is no way to live the life you were given!
If this is you, then here are some tips to help you begin to make a shift towards change:
1. Work on your confidence: In order to make a change, you must believe in yourself. If you have been struggling in a major area of your life, your confidence may be lacking. The good news is, confidence is like a muscle and it will grow with each step forward you take. One terrific exercise you can start with is to make a list of all the accomplishments you have made in your lifetime. Beginning with your childhood until present time, make a very comprehensive list. No achievement is too small to include. From learning to ride a bike, to moving out on your own, to landing your first “real” job – these were all accomplishments that propelled you out of your comfort zone. When you remember past achievements, it reminds you who you are, and builds up your confidence “muscle”!
2. Feel the fear and do it anyways: If you haven’t read this book by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., then please pick up a copy. In “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways”, Dr. Jeffers explains that fear is our natural reaction to change (the unknown). She recommends that instead of fighting the fear, we accept it as natural, feel it and move forward anyway. She encourages us to remember we have handled every difficult situation we have encountered in our lives thus far, and so we can have faith that we will do the same in the future. Simple but very powerful advice!
3. Take action: Even one small step forward will help to increase your momentum. Often when we look at the big picture, it can feel overwhelming and immobilize us with fear. This is when we get “stuck”. It is important that you break up your large goals into small, manageable steps that feel very doable. For instance, if your goal is to start a business, you may dream about it for many years but fail to get started because it seems so overwhelming. You may not even know where to begin. If this is the case, then your first step might be: talk with three entrepreneurs and ask them how they started their businesses. You could do that, right? Just think about how that can get you excited about moving forward to the next step, and so on!
4. Hire a coach: It is hard for many of us to hold ourselves accountable, especially when fear and uncertainty are in play. If you are someone who responds well to outside accountability, then working with a coach can be your ticket to success. In addition, a coach will help you clarify your goals when you feel overwhelmed, and help you to keep your “eyes on the prize” along the way. Finally, the support and encouragement of a coach will help turn the change process from something that scares you into an experience that is exciting and fills you with joy!
How to Clarify Exactly What You Want: Tips to Help You Move Forward
May 9, 2017 by Tracy Baranauskas
Sometimes when people feel they are ready for a change, they are not exactly sure what direction they want to go in. This ambivalence then keeps them from making any movement at all, despite strong feelings of discontentment. If this sounds like you, then here is some inspiration to help you move forward.
1. Say it out loud! When we are children, we usually have no problem dreaming big! We aspire to be astronauts, sports champions, artists and more with little worry about how we will make it happen. However over time, well-meaning adults often tell us that our goals “aren’t possible”, and then we move on to what is perceived as more “reasonable” ambitions. As a personal development coach, I create a safe, supportive environment for my clients to “say it out loud” by reassuring them that no dream is impractical or ridiculous. All people who have done big things started by taking the risk of being vulnerable and saying what they want. I encourage everyone to dare to dream. Don’t worry about how you will make it happen. First, make a decision to put “it” on the table. Otherwise, how can you possibly develop an action plan to achieve a goal that is not even identified?
2. Get clear about what you don’t want: Although many of my clients are initially not sure about what they want for their lives, most are absolutely sure about what they don’t want. If they are unhappy with their career or a relationship, they often have no problem making a list of all the aspects they do not like. If you can relate to this, then try this exercise. Think about an area of your life you would like to change. On one side of a paper, write all the aspects you no longer want for that area. Be specific. For example, if you don’t like your job, you may list: 1. Inflexible hours, 2. Being micromanaged, 3. Negative coworkers, 4. Too much overtime/late work nights. Next, draw a line down the center of the paper. In the second column, let what you don’t want guide you to list what you do want from a new job. For instance: 1. Flexible hours, 2. Freedom to make decisions, 3. Positive work environment, 4. Daytime only hours. This exercise is a simple way to help you get clear about what you want.
3. Future journal: Since it is often difficult for most of us to think outside of our comfort zone because we get stuck on the “hows”, this exercise can help you jump ahead and develop a sharp vision for your future. For this exercise, think about how your ideal life would look exactly five years from now. Then, write a page in your “future journal”, in present-tense, as if you were writing it in the moment. Be as detailed as possible. Where are you living and who are you living with? What type of career do you have? What are your days like? Again, don’t worry about the “hows”. You can develop a plan for that later. This exercise has helped many of my clients gain clarity and pinpoint the direction they want to move in.
4. Hire a coach: While clarifying what you want is not easy, it is essential for you to move forward. You must learn to turn off the negative thoughts that are getting in the way of your dreams. A personal development coach can help you to define your strengths and talents, and build the confidence necessary to take action and go after your true aspirations. You have just this one life. It’s time to get going!