There is an interesting conflict between the universe in which we exist where absolutely everything changes, and our instinctive desire for the comfort of permanence. We gravitate to comfort and permanence, or the perception of permanence, for it is one of the most common manifestations of comfort. So many of us desire a ‘forever’ job, home, partner, etc… And yet we all know that nothing is truly forever. Everything changes. And most frustratingly of all, everything changes at its own pace and in its own time.
So a conflict exists between our desire for comfort/permanence and our acceptance that change is constant and ubiquitous. So what is the most common result? Avoidance. We give avoidance many names — risk aversion, procrastination — to name just two. In fact we have a different word or phrase for avoidance to match every situation we avoid. We try to avoid even the term avoidance. And here’s the really tricky bit — often what we think is avoidance is in fact change and what we often think is a legitimate response to change is in fact avoidance. Nothing masquerades as change as well as avoidance. So, we undermine ourselves as we lay avoidance traps all through our lives. And the older we get, the more skilled we become at undermining ourselves. But, sooner or later, we hit the avoidance wall and feel compelled to break through. And sometimes we manage to do so. Often we do not. Either way, the purpose of our working relationship is to recognise when change is upon us, and then put ourselves in the path of that breakthrough moment as early as possible, thus avoiding the temptations of avoidance. This is not a trivial challenge. By the time we are adults, most of us don’t even know when we are embracing change or avoiding it.
My name is Mark Frost and I am an EMCC Executive Coaching Senior Practitioner and my speciality is helping people develop a helpful and productive relationship with change. Many call the resulting state resilience. It’s time you came to master resilience and I might be just the person to help you get there.