The 4 Fs of Change Resistance

Most training doesn’t last. No stickiness. We attend a seminar and vow to transform our lives. We say we’ll be better parents, leaders and human beings. 2 days later, it’s back to business as usual – seeing the negative, playing the victim and being cranky. The learning didn’t work. Because we didn’t change.

Having helped many thousands of people create sustained change and businesses around the world reinvent themselves as extraordinary, I’ve identified 4 main reasons why people resist change and often don’t take the steps to elevate their careers and their lives, even when they have the opportunity to do so:

  1. Fear. People fear leaving their safe harbor of the known and venturing off into the unknown. Human beings crave certainty – even when it keeps them small. The key here is to manage your fear by doing the very thing that frightens you. The fears you don’t own will own you. And behind every fear wall lives a precious treasure.
  2. Failure. No one wants to fail. So many of us don’t even try. We don’t even take that first step to improve our health or to deepen our working relationships or to realize a dream. In my mind, the only failure in life is the failure to try. And I deeply believe that the greatest risk you can ever take is not taking risks.
  3. Forgetting. Sure we leave the seminar room after an inspirational workshop ready to change the world. But then we get to the office the next day and reality sets in. Difficult teammates to deal with. Unhappy customers to satisfy. Demanding bosses to appease. Uncooperative suppliers. No time to act on the commitments we made for personal and professional leadership. So we forget them. Here’s a key to success: keep your commitments top of mind. Keep your self-promises front and center. Don’t forget them. Put them on a 3 x 5 card that you post on your bathroom mirror and read every morning. Talk about them (you become what you talk about). Write about them each morning in your journal. You know my “3 Step Success Formula” by now: awareness precedes choice which precedes change. With better awareness you will make better choices. Those better choices lead to better results. Or to put it another way: as you know better you can do better. And as you do better, you will see better.
  4. Faith. Too many people have no faith. They are cynical. “This leadership training and personal development stuff doesn’t work.” Or “I’m too old to change.” Cynicism stems from disappointment. Cynical and faithless people were not always like that. But they tried and perhaps failed. Rather than staying on the game, recognizing that failure is the highway to success, they shut down and grew cynical. Their way to avoid getting hurt again.

So there you go, the “4 Fs” of why we resist transformation and playing our best game. Understand them and you can then manage and overcome them. Because awareness really does precede greatness.

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