A Coaching Power Tool created by Jayanthi Hari
(Life and Business Coaching, CANADA)
The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.
I don’t want to try out any new place to eat.
I don’t want to try a new consultant for this job. A known angel is better than an unknown devil.
I don’t want to go to this party. I am not familiar with the crowd.
I’d rather forgo my promotion. I hate moving to new places- I have to contend with new friends, a new language and a new neighborhood.
I don’t like the new sleeping arrangement. When are our guests leaving?
We are only too familiar with the above language. This is the language of resistance. Resistance is a natural human reaction to change. Resistance connotes opposing an idea, happening or person or being disinclined to a new possibility. This conjures up an image of building a wall around oneself to block or prevent something.
Martha loved her routine. She would always wake up at 6 in the morning, take a brisk walk for 20 minutes, complete her 200 calorie breakfast of bagel and cream cheese and a glass of orange juice and then get ready to take the 7:13 am NJ transit train from Princeton Junction into mid town Manhattan. She visited the local gym on the way back home in the evening.
At work, Martha was a very efficient and reliable manager. She headed the accounting function in her company and never missed any period closing deadlines. She established a sound system of internal controls and had a dedicated team that worked hard to ensure the accounting function was performed with minimal errors and maximum efficiency.
The CEO of her company was facing the challenge of managing above average growth in the company over the last 3 years. One of the areas of focus was the upgradation of the accounting system to enable faster processing and easier consolidation of all the business units. Martha had heard of the power of SAP ( a powerful and well known application software used by large businesses) but felt it would call for too many changes in staff composition, skills, reporting formats and work flows. The vote in the Boardroom was in favor of the new system.
Martha’s world crumbled. She was not prepared to work with unfamiliar accounting software. It meant having to send her staff for training. That meant overtime by the other staff, longer hours at work supervising the transition, working with new reports and above all she would not be seeing the familiar printed financial statements of the divisions before the consolidation.
We encounter resistance within us when the situation becomes either unfamiliar or uncomfortable thereby making new demands on us.
Resistance represents a fear of the unknown.
We are creatures of habit. We get used to ways of doing things, the people we deal with, the place that we live in, the foods that we eat, the friends that we associate with and so on. When there is a change in the circumstances, the mind opposes it since it is a new circumstance. The lack of familiarity shakes your self-confidence in dealing with the situation. You now start looking for reasons why this new circumstance is not suitable for you. You rationalize why it is boring to go to a party where you have to meet new faces and make new introductions, why trying out a new restaurant may be risky, why a new arrangement in the living room would make it difficult to clean and why the promotion is undesirable because the kids are not used to the cold weather in the East coast.
Typically it starts with one reason and then it cascades into a number of reasons, all ably provided by your strongly resistant mind. The typical language used is
I don’t want to.., I don’t like….., I am not comfortable with …., I hate the new routine…..
Resistance could also be a reaction to an unpleasant experience in the past.
A failure to accomplish a goal or just an unpleasant experience could make subsequent tries hard to come by. The associated memory is one of pain and the mind assumes a repeat of the situation and therefore shies away from suffering more pain. The memory serves as a constant reminder of how the situation is likely to work out.