As a coach, I often find myself in conversations about how to actually create growth that lasts. In the last week alone I’ve had this conversation about half a dozen times. Sometimes the conversation gets serious (beyond the “I’d like a better life, but I don’t really want to get down and dirty and do the work” stage). When it does, I find I often get asked a question similar to “How can I work on my growth? I barely have enough time to get everything done as it is!” Or: “I’ve been to so many corporate ‘development’ trainings that I’m pretty sure it’s all a shell game.” Or: “There’s so much training material out there, why do I need a personal mentor?”
I cringe whenever I hear these types of questions or objections, because each focuses on the outside world. Can I get real with you? You will never achieve real transformation by focusing on what’s outside of you. It’s an inside job. The reason you don’t have enough time to do it is because you’ve chosen to give time to everything else except your dream life. The reason you’re jaded by corporate trainings is because some hot-shot speaker comes in and lays down some truth and awareness in a 4 hour seminar, and then leaves without telling you how to implement it. You’re overwhelmed by information overload. The reason you need a personal mentor is to blow the whistle and assassinate the self-limiting beliefs and resistance that keeps you stuck where you are.
“One is too small a number for greatness.” – John Maxwell
Let me be perfectly blunt: there are a very select few enlightened individuals who have ever achieved their potential alone. Siddhartha Buddha springs to mind. That’s about all I can think of right now. Gandhi was supported by his community. Jesus had his Disciples…I could go on, but you get the point.
The problem with growth
Here’s the problem: our conscious mind is great at keeping us safe (read: comfortable being stuck). It absolutely sucks at helping us achieve greatness. It is hard wired to resist change, risk, and discomfort. Transformation happens at the subconscious level. The problem is, whenever we try to change the hard-wired coding, we can’t escape our own thoughts, perspective, and limiting resistance. I’ll give you an example from today.
I have never seen someone fight so hard against literally staying alive than I did with my second daughter, and it was all because of resistance to change. When Meredith was 1-month, she spent the day with me for the first time (because my wife, Megan, went back to work). She had been completely breast-fed until that point. The only problem is: my chest doesn’t give milk. So on this fateful day, she got to learn how to eat from a bottle.
The plastic nipple of the bottle was so foreign, so new, and so undesired that she refused it the first time she got hungry. And the second time. And the third. She was so resistant to the idea that food could come from anything that wasn’t mommy that she chose to starve herself all morning. By the time afternoon rolled around, she had settled into a comfortable pattern to avoid having to eat from a bottle: be offered bottle, shove it violently out of her mouth (I didn’t know baby’s tongues were so strong), immediately start screaming so vehemently that there was no consoling her, be rocked to sleep, cuddle with dad…repeat.
After four hours of hunger fits, she became so ravenous that her hatred of the bottle was diminished enough for her to eat. In the end, she accepted the bottle as the only available food source, and happily sucked it dry in 10 minutes flat. No tears. No meltdown. Just blissful reconciliation with her new reality.
Don’t undervalue this story. This is EXACTLY how we all operate towards growth and change. Our conscious mind will sabotage our every effort to embrace a new thing…even when we know without a shadow of a doubt that it is beneficial for us to embrace it. Logic always fails in the face of emotion. You can’t outrun your own mental pitfalls.
“I’d be a lot farther in life if I hadn’t had to take me with me.” – Paul Martinelli
The best way to increase significance
If you really want to reach a life of significance, you have 3 choices:
#1 Keep doing it the hard way alone. Spend more time, money, energy, and resources fighting your own psychology. Let your stress levels rise until they manifest as depression, anxiety, or burnout.
#2 Spend tons of money on training systems that load you up with awareness, information, tools, tips, and tactics, and then leave the application to you. You can feel really good about “progress” this way, and still end up right where you are 10 years from now.
#3 Get serious about investing in yourself and get a mentor. Find someone who has fought the fight and learned the lessons ahead of you. Mentors are invaluable in coming alongside you, catching you when you stumble, and getting traction behind your transformation almost immediately.
“Once you taste significance, success will never satisfy you.” – John Maxwell
I really believe this. Since I really committed my investment in choice #3, my life has been radically transformed in so many ways. Keep following the blog, and you’ll keep hearing stories of how this is true.
What is your experience with battling your own head space? What lessons can you leave for others in the comment section below?