Overcoming Resistance to Change

Want to start a business or make some other personal change? Something holding you back?

Perhaps you will recognize yourself in this list from How to Save the World. It is a top ten list of obstacles to making changes and ideas for how to overcome them:

"1. Procrastination. Fight it like the addiction it is. Separate the urgent from the Important. Have a list of the Important things and keep it in front of you. Break the Important things into manageable steps. Do one 'next step' towards your Important things every day. Learn to say 'no' to things that aren't as important. Don't try to do too many Important things at once. Don't wait for a crisis, or until it's too late. Don't beat yourself up about it, but don't deny it either.

"2. Well-meaning naysayers and apologists. Your friends may well tell you your greatest goal, the change you most want to achieve, is foolish, impractical or impossible, and to lower your sights. Or they may reassure you that there's always time later and that it's OK to put it off. Don't listen to them. They want to make you feel better, happier with what you have and are and have done so far, but they're abetting the crime of letting you be less than what you were meant to be, what you must be to be happy, to be complete.

"3. Fear of failure (defeatism). Take it one step at a time. Get lots of help. Use the buddy system. Find a personal coach. Avoid those people (there are a lot of them) who love to talk about others' failures and failings. Learn from failures (quickly, don't let them drag on). If you never fail, you're setting your sights too low.

"4. Giving up too soon (impatience). Do your research so you are 'knowledge-powered'. That will reduce the number of surprise obstacles that arise, and will equip you to deal with them. Pace yourself. Reward yourself for progress. Enjoy the ride.

"5. Waiting for the whole plan to be in place. Just start.

"6. Lack of self-confidence or cultural intimidation. Avoid conformists and cynics -- they will suffocate you. Also avoid hero-worshipers and those infested with the cult of leadership -- they perpetuate the myth that some people are inherently better and more likely to succeed than others. Smile a lot. Hang around people with the courage to be different. It will rub off on you. We're all born knowing we can do anything, we just need to unlearn that we can't.

"7. Inflexibility or lack of adaptability. Have a vision, a story, of where you want to go, but don't get locked into one way to get there. Plan, but don't overplan. Learn to improvise (it's more fun).

"8. Trying to do it all yourself. Ah, that cowboy culture. Total myth. Discover how many people love to help others succeed. Use them shamelessly, but spread the help you ask for around. Say 'thank you' a lot. Give stuff away free. Reciprocate in ways that don't distract you, and in ways that draw on what you do best. Learn the art of collaboration.

"9. Lack of forethought or concentration. Have lots of conversations with a diversity of others. Listen to constructive ideas, suggestions and criticisms. Set aside the time to think things through: You can listen too much to others, to the point you stop listening to yourself, or even stop thinking. Take up meditation or whatever works for you to silence the 'noise in your head' that keeps you from focusing. Trust your instincts.

"10. Lack of necessary skills or talents. Learn how to learn (they didn't teach that in school). Work with others who overcame the same lack of skills or talents. Even creativity and imagination can be learned. If you can imagine it, you can do it. Oh, and practice, practice, practice."