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Change On The Outside Requires Change On The Inside

In our work with clients and in our own lives, we commonly see that there is an internal shift that catalyzes the change that people want. Desired changes such as a new career, more meaningful relationship, or life balance often require an internal shift like letting go of a limiting belief, stepping into a new way of being, or confronting a long held fear.

While this presents an exciting opportunity for growth, it’s also a place where people commonly get stuck. It’s easy to want change and fantasize about what it would be like, but how can significant change actually happen by doing what you have done and being who you have been up to this point? I don’t think it can. Neither did Einstein. As he put it, “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

I believe that we have to shift our attitude, perspective, beliefs and behaviors in order to make the changes we want. Change on the outside requires change on the inside. Change requires change.

A group of our clients and friends explored the question of how to create change in our most recent monthly coaching group. Here is what we learned…

Desire Isn’t Enough

The process of change starts with a desire. Desire for change is often birthed out of discomfort with the way things are and it doesn’t necessarily come with a clear vision to follow. A number of people in the group had a desire for change but no concrete vision to move toward.

What If You Don’t Have A Vision?

A Path That Fits has a coaching process that has helped hundreds of people discover and clarify their vision but it doesn’t work every time. In the cases when our process doesn’t work, we coach our clients to identify the internal shift that will open the channel for them to connect to their vision. We let go of the visioning process and ask clients to identify the place they feel stuck or limited and the associated opportunity for growth. One of the participants in our group had a desire for change but no concrete vision. She felt that expressing more of her creativity would create the internal shift necessary for her to have a vision. To facilitate this shift, she decided to take acting classes. No one can say exactly where a vision comes from but I imagine it lives near creativity.

You Don’t Have To Know Exactly What You Want

One of the most common places people get stuck is wanting to know exactly how their path will unfold before they take the first step. Another one of the group members expressed a desire to make a career change into some form of counseling but was held back by her fear of not knowing what type of counseling she wanted to study. Rather than trying to map out every detail of her future (which would be impossible), I suggested that she explore ways to become more comfortable with the unknown. We brainstormed some creative ways that she could put herself in an unfamiliar or unknown situation such as walking around in the dark or spending time in the wilderness and she ultimately decided to explore meditation. I imagine that her meditation practice will help her develop more comfort with the unknown, and her comfort with the unknown will enable her to move forward on her path, and let it unfold in an organic way.

Take Action

The bottom line in creating change is that you have to do something. Take action. Action leads to learning. For extra points, try to connect your action to the internal part of you that needs to shift or grow. If you don’t have a vision, do something that will grow you and expand the way that you experience yourself and what is possible. If you have a vision but it isn’t as clear as you want, do something to develop more comfort with the unknown or just explore the thing that most closely resembles your vision and see where that leads. If you have a clear vision but you aren’t making it happen, put your vision aside temporarily and get to know the part of you that is stuck. Refocus on shifting the stuckness. Regardless of where you are, look within and ask yourself what internal shift will help you create the external change you desire.

Change is a radical process. I know that there is a lot that I don’t understand about how to create change but I hope this article has been helpful in highlighting that an internal shift is required to create significant change.


– Adrian Klaphaak,

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