Two of the most self-defeating responses to change are: 1) “That won’t work because…”, and 2) “I tried that, it didn’t work”.
I coached a client who wanted desperately to get out of her current job. The work environment was hostile, and this client, Jenny, was making herself sick with anxiety and dread about going to work every day.
Jenny would talk, and talk, and talk about all the reasons that this job was so horrible and soul-sucking. She would go into great detail about her demeaning interactions with supervisors, co-workers, and customers. Jenny hated her job.
Yet whenever Jenny would come up with her own solution to her problem, she would almost immediately shoot it down.
Jenny: “The thing is, I really respect the company and their values, it’s just the supervisors at my location don’t mesh with the company culture.”
Me: “Have you thought about transferring locations?”
Jenny: “That won’t work, my car barely gets to me work as is—it’s so broken down. It would never make it an extra 5 to 10 miles.”
Jenny: “The thing is, I’m not really qualified to do anything else. All the jobs that I’m interested in require a degree or certification.”
Me: “What about going back to school or even doing an online program?”
Jenny: “I tried that, it didn’t work. I had to drop out because I just couldn’t focus on the work.”
Me: “Well, there a lot of programs out there. Maybe you could look at some different types of programs or formats?”
Jenny: “I can’t go back to school. I can’t concentrate, it won’t work for me.”
Any requests for a work-around or suggestions were quickly shut down. It happened so often it would have been comical, if it weren't so damn tragic.
“It won’t work for me. I tried that it didn’t work.”
Lovelies, I will tell you…it’s really hard to help someone who is so determined to stay stuck and miserable.
Do you ever catch yourself doing that? Staying in a situation that you know isn't serving you because it's too scary or hard to change?
It happens to the best of us.
Let’s be clear. Some ideas just won’t work. There are times when this argument with ourselves or others is valid.
But frequently that’s not the case. A lot of times what we mean when we say “that won’t work” is “that sounds too hard for me to figure out right now”.
Jenny would rather stay completely and utterly unhappy at her job and complain about it endlessly than put forth the effort to make things better. That line of thinking kept her very, very stuck.
Over time and with coaching, Jenny was able to see how she was the one keeping herself stuck. It was her internal talk and beliefs not her external circumstances that were holding her back.
When you catch yourself using the “that won’t work” argument, are you willing to question it? Can you follow that statement up with , “is there a way I can make that work?”—this question allows you to open up to possibilities.
What are some of the ways that you keep yourself stuck?
The first step in becoming unstuck is always awareness of the pattern. When you see the pattern, you can begin to change the pattern.
The biggest limits in our lives are almost always self-created.
Want to live life with less limits?? I'm super excited to be offering a 12-week group coaching program in January called "Stop Self-Sabotaging"...want the early details? Sign up for my email list.