The longer we’ve been trying to change, the more likely we are to envision transformation in a way that keeps us stuck. Learn how to approach change in a way that actually works.
A free masterclass. 7 & 9 March 2023, 12 pm NYC/5 pm London. Sign up here.
Whether you’re struggling with hiding (not using your talents fully), chasing (doing it but feeling miserable), or bouncing between the two (the worst!), you probably spend a lot of mental energy wishing you could finally get to the other side.
You know the place I mean: that glorious future where we stop hitting snooze, reach our word count every day, and finally figure out how to feel good about meeting a goal for more than five minutes before we start worrying about the next one. Once we make it over to that side, we think, we’ll get to spend our time liking ourselves and feeling productive, rather than yelling at ourselves and feeling like nothing is ever enough.
I’m not knocking this goal. A lot of my work is about helping people reach exactly this place. Plus, this vision is a testament to how much we want to change. It shows how committed we are to finding a better relationship to our talents. And in the face of relentless struggles with hiding and chasing, this idea of life on the other side can be the one thing that keeps us from giving up entirely.
The issue is that this vision can also wind up reinforcing an idea of how change happens that can block us from where we’re trying to go. We can find ourselves waiting for something to shift so that crossing this huge chasm seems easier. Once the kids leave home, once the job to settles down, once we have more self-discipline or money or time — then we’ll be able to make headway. It’s like a chicken-and-egg cycle where we’re waiting for something to change so that changing ourselves seems possible.
But we don’t need to manufacture some big shift in circumstances or become a different person to have a satisfying, absorbing, electrifying relationship to our talents. That’s the weird and ultimately enabling the paradox of what I call change mode. Change mode is how we actually get from here to a life more like our vision of the other side, but it doesn’t require catapulting across some giant chasm…