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I received an interesting email from a colleague today. I subscribe to his mailing list and am currently enrolled in one of his online courses.
He shared a bit of a rant on personal responsibility about being asked a question by one of his subscribers that could easily have been answered by Googling.
I think it can be risky to rant to your readers and customers.
But I commend my colleague for his comments because his goal is to make his people successful.
I started thinking ... success is what I want for other people too.
So, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. The ONE thing you need to have in order for change to happen is ...
Without willingness, you will perpetually spin your wheels. You will forever find excuses. You will backslide or be stagnant. This applies to anything that requires forward motion.
Understand this ... willingness isn't just the words and the idea in your head. It's the idea digging deep and planting itself in your heart and your soul.
Go sit in your car and simply think about driving. Speak the words "I should really pull out of my driveway." Does your car go anywhere? Nope!
Same thing if you press the gas pedal without turning the ignition or try to start the car when the gas tank is empty. And it's the same way with change in your life.
In order for the car to move, you need to have gas in the tank, the key in the ignition and your foot on the gas pedal. Your personal willingness is like the gas in your car's gas tank.
UNwillingness is the thing that keeps us from our goals. It keeps us from doing the work that needs to be done - no matter how big or small. It keeps us from losing weight. It keeps us from seeking solutions to our problems.
Willingness is about being personally responsible. Accountable for yourself. It is your internal fuel. It's your intrinsic motivation. It's your skin in the game. It's your unwavering desire.
Strong, deep willingness is the ONE thing that you must have to make a change. Now, don't get me wrong, there are other critical components. But without TRUE willingness there can be no lasting change.
I know what you're thinking. Trust me. I know you. We are very much alike. You are probably thinking something along the lines of "But there have been many changes that I've been VERY willing to make and I've tried and tried and it just hasn't worked!"
I said it too. And then I checked myself. The reason I can't lose a few pounds and keep them off, the reason why my master's degree is still unfinished, the reason why my workspace is often a mess, the reason why I still don't know how to play the piano ... true, strong, deep, unwavering WILLINGNESS is not there.
In some cases I don't have enough skin in the game and I just don't want to do the work (piano!). In some cases there are barriers to my willingness (messy desk! school!).
Sometimes the consequences of NOT making a positive change are motivating us more than the willingness to make the change. It's very difficult to put into words - both from a logical standpoint and because of the emotions involved.
Something like the willingness of weight loss is often hindered by deep emotional and psychological stuff. The emotional comfort that food gives us is more compelling than the logical desire for health and wellness. That's some deep stuff and I'm not a therapist so I'll just leave it at that.
Long story short, I will not be playing Maple Leaf Rag, fitting into a size 8 and displaying my diploma on the wall above my spotless desk until my willingness changes.
Now, that's not to say I am lazy or a bad person. It simply means that I need to examine each of those situations. Decide if that vehicle is going to pull out my metaphorical driveway and, if so, find a way to get the gas in the tank.
Here comes the hard part. You have to DO THE WORK to figure out a way to get the gas in the tank. You have to knock down barriers, deal with your stuff, do whatever it takes to get clarity on your willingness.
Clarity is another interesting piece of the puzzle. It's entirely possible that your difficulty with true willingness is simply that you aren't really interested in making the change or doing the thing you think you want to do.
For instance, am I working on my masters because it's something I am deeply motivated to do? Or is it because I feel like I should do it?
"SHOULD do" and "WANT to do" are two different things.
I'll leave you with the good news. Once you do the hard work, knock down the barriers, get clear on what you are truly willing to do, the rest is easy. Once you are heading down the road, you can often put the car on cruise control.
It may be a long drive, depending on the change you need to make. But once your gas tank is topped off with plenty of willingness, you can roll down the windows, turn up the radio and enjoy the scenery.
Stephanie Capps Dyke is an "unsticker of stuckness" for creative people facing personal development and business challenges. She is a licensed Right-Brain Business Plan facilitator and provides life-changing one-on-one coaching.
Visit http://www.forestofhealing.com for inspiration, online courses and opportunities to work with her!
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