The thing about change is that it doesn’t happen in grand gestures. It’s like your world is shifting on its own axis again: you don’t feel it while it’s happening, but suddenly, the sun rises again and you realize you were moving all along. Real change is not immediately gratifying. It will not feel good right away.
In fact, for a while, it will feel like you’re working harder than ever, and yet standing right in the same place.
We often don’t realize we’re in a period of transformation until we’re through it. Some people say that as soon as you have an epiphany about something, you’ve learned the lesson. You’re through with the course. It only seems like it’s the first time you’ve realized this, but actually, you’ve done all the work it takes to finally have that wisdom.
At first, the most important changes in your life will feel exhausting. They will feel uncomfortable. This is because you are being stretched.
You are pressing up against your current comfort zone and once you do that enough, you’ll redefine a new comfort zone. You’ll keep re-creating a new “normal” for yourself. That is how you change. That is how you grow: by making ordinary that which you once thought was impossible.
The litmus test that tells you what you’re really committed to is what you’re willing to work on changing every single day. If you aren’t willing to do that, you’re in love with the idea of change, and you’re not yet fed up, burnt out, exhausted and frustrated enough to actually do the real work.
Your life is always moving forward. All you are doing now is changing where it’s going.
The idea that you aren’t “moving forward” is an illusion. It is nothing but fear. You are always moving forward, the variable is what you’re moving toward.
There are no such thing as a quick fix or an immediate relief in the real work, the deep work. Right now, you have a collection of anchors that are creating the feeling of resistance, and those anchors are the limiting beliefs you have about what you’re capable of. The more you try to pull against them, the stronger they will feel.
The real work is about no longer creating more tension. It is going back to the root of where those beliefs were born and unleashing them. It is ugly work. It is vulnerable work. You are not going to fly to the horizon before you unshuck yourself from the Earth. The more you expect this, the longer it will take.
When you’re doing the real work, the important work of your life, you don’t immediately land somewhere better than before. You realize that there is nowhere to go but where you are right now, and that once you’re fully present, you can unleash the blocks that were always holding you back.
Moving forward actually means being here. It means doing the heavy lifting so life can feel light again.
It means looking your worst habits and your coping mechanisms and your unproductive patterns square in the eye and re-strategizing. It means no longer accepting your own bullshit. It means no longer waiting for the easy way out. It means being willing to stay the long course. It means not being afraid of getting dirty. It means crying as much as you need to. It means waking up one day and realizing you are walking through the doors you only ever dreamed would open.