“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
These now famous lines by Barack Obama perfectly sum up the problem of making changes in our lives. Years can go by with us longing for change, but being unable or unwilling to do anything about it unless it’s ‘presented’ to us on a plate. Sadly, this isn’t how life works. To make changes in life always means leaving fear behind, and having the courage to embrace something new.
Resistance to change is something career coaches come across over and over again. A client will often desperately want change, but remain unable to move forward without support. Conversely, sometimes even encountering a career coach can harden client opposition to change. Yet it’s worth remembering that they are behaving entirely rationally. It’s not human nature to make changes that we view as harmful to our current situation. So the first step in helping clients embrace and step forward into change, is to get to the bottom of why they find change so threatening. It could be conscious or unconscious, but identifying the fears surrounding change enables you to move the client forward into approaching change more positively. If you find this frustrating as a therapist, remember that resistance lessens over time as you explore the issues, and that understanding the real reasons for any conflict with change will help bring about a breakthrough in understanding.