A Coaching Power Tool Created by Maria Martins
(Life Coach, COSTA RICA)
Changes are inevitable and not always controllable. What can be controlled is how you manage, react and work through the change process. Kelly A. Morgan
Life will always bring changes, this is a fact that all of us experience in our lives. Those changes can be easy or difficult to adapt to. Some people resist change regardless of the significance or impact it causes in their life because changes can put them in an uncomfortable position. The idea of the unknown can be scary and put us in a defensive mode.
Resisting to circumstances is a way that we express our discontentment and rebel against life. This is a way of responding to changes that we don’t expect or agree with. It can be an initial reaction to small changes like the iPhone software upgrade, or to more impacting events like the loss of a family member.
According to the Oxford Concise Dictionary to resist means: withstand the action, repel, strive against, offer opposition etc.
For some people resisting change is an automatic reaction, but upon reflection they switch their attitude, accepting what they cannot change. While for others resisting is more present and significant and it takes them longer to just “let it go.”
Resisting is disempowering and it can cause negative feelings and emotions. Resisting is an option we choose without realizing its consequences and that it will not do us any good. Resisting is a mindset that prevents us from making the best of our lives in the face of adversity. Resisting can have a negative effect on the people around us.
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional –John Maxwell
We cannot change the circumstances, but we can change our attitude.
The moment you chose to embrace the changes that circumstances are bringing, you will see life from a different perspective. According to the Oxford Concise Dictionary, to embrace means to eagerly accept an offer or opportunity and/or to adopt a course of action. Embracing, not resisting, life’s changes will empower us to see opportunities to excel or accept that life will sometimes surprise us in uncomfortable ways, but that even a life with changes is worth living.
Embracing is not surrendering. Embracing is not just accepting something that you cannot change. Embracing transcends acceptance. Embracing is empowering because it is the willingness to choose the best attitude that allows us to live our best lives regardless of the circumstances. It is an option that will give us control and power by taking action to change our minds and improve our lives.
Can you relate to this?
Maria, an ICA student, started the program attending teleclasses, using her landline phone. When ICA implemented a new communication system called Zoom in January 2018, she realized that she could not use the landline anymore and her first reaction was negative. Without giving this new system a chance, she automatically decided to resist the change. For three days, Maria tried to fight the circumstances by not attending classes because she was busy writing e-mails to ICA Support expressing her grievances with the change. She was exhausted, stressed and very unhappy with the situation. Maria realized that to complete her ICA program she needed to use Zoom and that she would have to embrace the change. After using it once, she quickly realized that it was more fun and easy to use, she could put faces to familiar names and her international phone bill was significantly reduced.
Reflection on Maria’s story: What can we learn from the way Maria let a relatively small change consume her life for three days, causing negative consequences of stress and missing a few classes? Maria had an automatic reaction to change that was based on an assumption and not reality. She assumed that the landline was a better way of communication; that this was just another way of life making her learning journey more difficult; and she thought that ICA should have not taken away her landline option, which was offered when she enrolled in the program.
When Maria realized that resisting did not serve her and was detrimental to her emotional well being, she changed her attitude, put aside all disempowering beliefs and thoughts and took the first step by giving the new communication system a chance. Now she is truly embracing ZOOM and is much more satisfied.
When changes occur, and resistance takes place, ask yourself why you are not giving it a try;
If you do not have the power to change your circumstances, ask yourself what prevents you from embracing the new event; and,
To help you reflect on this situation, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this true?
- How do I know that this is true?
- What is the worst thing that would happen if I embrace the change and give it a try?
Sofia, a 37-year-old woman, had been married for 10 years and for more than 8 years she had been trying to get pregnant. She was diagnosed with ovarian insufficiency, that prevented her from getting pregnant. After years of numerous doctors appointments, exams and treatments, the diagnosis didn’t change and there was nothing else to do, except accepting the fact that she could never be pregnant.
When she realized that she could not get pregnant, she lost hope of ever becoming a mother and everything in her life changed. She changed! She avoided her family and friends. Her work performance suffered. Her marriage was in trouble because of her lack of commitment. Her health was affected because she was depressed and lacked energy. She put all of her focus on a feeling of guilt, that it was her fault she could not have children. As things got worse, she decided to ask for help. Self-exploration brought her awareness that resisting her circumstances, which she had no control over, was destroying her life, marriage, health and career. She discovered that she had built her life around a dream of one day being a mother. When she accepted the fact she was unable to get pregnant, it killed her notion that the purpose of her life was to be a mother and she felt like her life no longer had meaning.
While Sofia could not change her infertility, she could change her understanding and assumptions of motherhood. By working on her perspective, she was able to redefine the meaning of motherhood. She acknowledged that to be a mother you do not have to give birth to a baby. Being a mother is loving and caring for your child, regardless of whether you are related by blood.
When she embraced the new perspective, she saw that other options were possible. Through adoption, Sofia fulfilled her dream of having a family with children.
The action of resisting to something is rooted in value or belief, and some of us are not aware of where it comes from. Usually, the first reaction is to justify resistance. The discomfort or fear caused by the situation sometimes makes us feel that we are treated unfairly, and we do not deserve going through the situation.
Therefore, explore with your client the core belief or value beneath the resistance. Self-awareness will bring clarity to the situation, allowing the client to be open to the changes, to realize that their assumptions are not necessarily the truth, to re-define beliefs or values, and to reframe their perspectives. This process of self-discovery will offer the client a renewed mindset to embrace changes and will empower them to explore the options that will allow them to live their best life no matter what changes life brings.
Core questions to help shift perspective:
- How do you feel about the situation and what is the cause of your feelings?
- How is your reaction benefiting you?
- What is holding you back from accepting the situation?
- What different approach can you use to handle the situation?
- What will happen if you embrace the changes?
These two case studies show that resistance happens in response to both small and big life changes. Your perspective can make a small problem seem bigger and take over your life. Whatever the situation, your attitude will determine the quality of your life more than your circumstances. You are in control!
This is your life! Take a chance, see the opportunity and embrace the moment.