Unlocking resistance- Part 1

unlocking resistanceI can’t think of a time when I intentionally invited resistance into my life, but I have come to realize that resistance is guaranteed anytime we embark in creating positive change.

Resistance is not something we typically desire. In fact, it’s something we wish away, seek to avoid, and hope not to encounter. Resistance typically generates less than positive emotions in us- discouragement, frustration, and annoyance.

It’s these negative emotions that we dread and often cause us to procrastinate from stepping out and creating positive change. We know what is around the corner of making a decision to improve, resistance.

If you are considering setting a goal, making a career change, taking on a promotion, improving your diet, beginning a new exercise routine, breaking free from an unhealthy relationship, starting a new relationship, selling your house, buying your first house, etc, you can be sure that resistance is coming.

Resistance is the key reason we stay stuck. We remain stagnant. We accept the status quo. We settle into mediocrity.

Therefore, if we are going to be a person who consistently grows and improves, achieving new levels, we must master the way we handle resistance. Until we master this skill, we will be limited and imprisoned by resistance.

The goal is not to remove resistance because that would be an unending goal. The goal is to work with the resistance, as the key ingredient for success.

Shifting our mindset to seeing resistance in this light is the first step to us unlocking it and using it to our advantage. We need the resistance to develop.

It’s in the journey of overcoming and conquering the resistance at hand, that we break through to our next level. It’s the resistance that makes us stronger and prepares us to be able to enjoy that new level.

I have developed a new relationship with resistance, changing it from being my enemy to being my ally. I have given up my old, unproductive hope that resistance would not pop up it’s ugly head every time I go to make a positive change, and rather anticipate it, expect it, and invite it.  To do this, I had to be ready for it.

How did I get ready for it? Well, that’s what I am here to share with you today. I’m here to encourage you to embrace resistance as the key ingredient for success, and I am also here to share with you my game plan in how I work with resistance.

Part of my ability to embrace and work with resistance came from me recognizing that there are two ways that resistance shows up.

Anytime you go to create positive change, you will experience both types of resistance. Each type requires a different strategy.

The two types of resistance that show up when we seek to crete positive change are- external and internal.

This week we are going to take a look at the external resistance and next week we will explore the internal resistance.

External resistance is experienced when the people around us, in our environment, say and do things to stop or hinder our progressive change.  Keep in mind, this is a guarantee. Even when you are seeking to make healthy, productive changes, those closest to you will resist. Not all of them, but many of them.

It’s not always intentional or even conscious. It just happens. Change opens up uncertainty and its human nature to want certainty. Therefore, you get resistance.

This external type of resistance can cause us distraction, discouragement, and confusion. It can cause us  to turn our attention outside of ourselves onto the “obstacle,” the person or thing in our way. It can cause us to use up our energy and resources in the resistance, rather than the desired goal.

Worst part about this type of resistance is that it can feel like we are at war with those closest to us.

The best way I have found to unlock and work with external resistance is to do the following:

  • Expect it
  • Embrace it without making it or the person resisting wrong
  • Get curious
  • Seek to understand
  • Listen
  • Do not take it personally
  • Respect the diversity and opinions
  • Identify my role and my responsibilities
  • Do not take on other people’s responsibilities
  • Make decisions based upon the needs involved with achieving the desired change

It’s all about focus and respect.

Some of the external resistance we encounter will actually help us to refine our strategy and efforts in making the desired change, which is why it is so valuable to be able to get curious and listen to differing perspectives and opinions. It’s those differing perspectives and opinions that help us prune away that which is not useful.

The external resistance gives us an opportunity to develop greater respect, respect for ourself and respect to those around us.

Deeper levels of respect are developed when we honor the reality that everyone has the right to their opinions, wants, needs, feelings and attitudes. It is not our job to change other people’s minds, but it is our job to be at our best with our mindset, opinions, attitudes, emotions, wants and needs.  If we can separate the two, we can allow external resistance to help us.

I believe that is plenty for us to chew on this week, as we all move forward, towards our goals, seeking to grow and achieve new levels.

Do not get discouraged today or this week when you experience resistance. Remember that resistance will always come when we set out to create positive change. Identify if the resistance you experience is internal or external and test out some of the strategies I offered in unlocking the external resistance as an ingredient for success.

Let’s all strive to shift our perspective from seeing the people resisting our positive change as objects, and into people entitled to their own perspectives, helping us to deepen our commitment to positive change.

Decide what you need to do to continue moving forward in creating the positive change you deserve both at work and at home and go for it. You can do it. This can be your best year ever! I know I am committed to making it mine.

With Love and Volition,