The Paradox of Change and Why It Takes Courage To Break Free of Stagnation

“The paradox of change is that the only way to alter the way we think is by doing the very things our habitual thinking keeps us from doing." – Herminia Ibarra

Change has been the biggest driver of my life, whether I invited it in or not!

I left home at the early age of 16 and began a global journey that would test my willingness to change in every dimension of my existence. It has been an interesting adventure.

Because of this, I’m a believer in living life by taking risks. It’s been a great teacher, but a hard task master.

Change has required me to discover endless curiosity and courage to face my truths and explore my possibilities which continues to this day. 

Staying the same has never occurred to me.

But have you thought about how hard it is to say the same? 

The paradox of change is that we struggle to keep things as they are while knowing that we need to embrace the courage to make the changes that will make life better.

  • We naturally resist change. 
  • We see the downside before we see the benefits.
  • We worry about failure and the unknown.

We fail to realize that by staying in our comfort zone, we are actually in our discomfort zone.

I have created an entire career on helping people change.

In working with hundreds of people to create a life of purpose, meaning and commitment, I created books and programs that give them the tools and insights they need to discover the inner resources that will change their world.

Each of these individuals has shown courage to show up and make different choices.

Change is not easy, but the rewards are limitless.

Facing our limitations, our feelings of inadequacy, and our belief that we may not be good enough means challenging a state of mind that impacts many of us.

Resisting change means stagnation and complacency. 

We stop growing and learning, and we become stuck in our way, feeling bored and lack fulfillment. 

We may refuse the call to fulfill our potential because we don’t believe it’s possible, or even real.  

Think of the last time you had a goal or a dream that you wanted to achieve.  

  • Did you take the necessary steps to make it happen?
  • Did you settle for less, and miss opportunities that could have opened doors for you?  
  • Did you refuse a job offer or feel that you were not up to the task?
  • Did you reject a potential relationship because you were unsure?
  • Did you refuse to speak up as your values were being challenged?

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you took more chances?

If you had said yes, instead of no, to an opportunity that may have changed the trajectory of your life?

In order to change, it is essential to let go of limited thinking, and confront the behaviors that are not serving your best interests.

Letting go of what doesn’t serve you is your journey of discovery.

A simple test is to ask, “Is my life working for me the way I want it to?”

If not, what needs to change?

Ask yourself:

  • What do I need to do differently?
  • Who do I want to become?
  • What will I need to do to make my life different from what it is today?
  • What is the best way forward?
  • Where do I stand in my own way?
  • What do I need to change to live the life I imagine I want for myself?
  • What does a good life look like?

We spend our lives looking for answers but imagine if you spent your life looking for the right questions. What do you think would happen? 

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” - Socrates

Socrates believed that a conversation that stimulates ideas based on asking and answering questions was the most dynamic of all human behaviors. It is the very definition of coaching.

To make changes that stick, you must be prepared to dig deeply and find what matters most to you.

Socrates also said that “courage is endurance of the soul.”

To transform yourself, you need to be resilient and be willing to endure the discomfort that occurs as part of your change process.

In the process of change it means “get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

The paradox of change is a complex issue. It requires us to think deeply about the choices we make in life.

While change is challenging and can be overwhelming, the price we pay for staying the same is equally high.

When life is over will you regret that you didn't take more chances?

When life is over will you regret that you said no when you could have said yes?

When life is over will you celebrate that you gave it your best shot?

It takes courage to grow and evolve. To take actions that make us uncomfortable and challenge our status quo.

It takes courage to face the fear and take risks.  

It takes courage to discover that overcoming fear matters to your success because it’s a driver for growth.

Embracing the paradox of change we find the courage we need to live a life that is more fulfilling, more joyous and more expansive than we ever thought possible.  

Embracing change means we are more resilient.

Embracing change means we discover we have more far more potential than we realize.

Embracing change means there is a world waiting for you to discover and become more than you think you can be.

Related: Overcoming Burnout: Why Self-Esteem Matters More Than You Think