Have you reached that Moment?
One of the most powerful quotes I use in my coaching conversations with clients is ‘Real change only occurs with the cost of not changing outweighs the cost of the change’. Usually, but not always, this will be in the initial Discovery meeting, when we’re talking about whether we’re a good fit to work together. One of the things I’m looking to gauge during is whether my potential client really wants to change some part of their life and to create a new future for themselves, be that professionally or personally, or not. I’m trying to gauge whether they have reached that ‘Cost of Change’ moment, or how far away they are from it, because by understanding that, I’ll get a very early sense of where they are on their journey.
What do I mean by a ‘Cost of Change’ moment? Well, imagine you’re a life-long smoker. You’ve tried to give up many times before. You’ve used patches, tried hypnosis, bought books and chewed gum but nothing has worked for more than a few weeks, or even days. Then one day, you’re rushed into hospital having suffered a heart attack. Thanks to the great staff at the hospital, you pull through, but just before you’re discharged from hospital, the Doctor pops into have a chat with you. The Doctor explains that whilst there are a number of causes of heart attacks, smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack as people who have never smoked! But, he says with a broad smile ‘it’s never too late to give up and the risks to your heart health reduce considerably soon after you stop’. After he leaves, you start to reflect on life. Not they life you’ve had, but the life you’ve not yet had. You realise that life is indeed too short there are still so many things you want to do in life, how you want to see your youngest walk down the aisle to get married, you want to see your grandchildren grow up and that you want to take the cruise with your partner that you’ve always promised yourself. At that point, and that precise moment you become an ex-smoker!
That becomes your ‘Cost of Change’ moment. Nothing you’ve tried before to stop smoking has come from that moment of absolute clarity. It hits you like a cold shower and you know it will stay with you forever. You just know it. Yes, this maybe an extreme example of a ‘Cost of Change’ moment, but I use it because it’s a real life example from one of my clients. It became the catalyst for them to change virtually every aspect of their lives and I was so happy to help them change their lives.
For most of us, our lives do not take that dramatic path thank goodness. We don’t end up in hospital reflecting on the life we still want to live. Generally, our lives are kind of OK. We might hate job and would love to do something very different, but it pays the bills and at least we have a job. Or, we feel that our relationship with our partner has stagnated, and we intuitively know our partner feels it too. It’s OK…ish and we still love our partner, but we’re struggling to communicate our feelings and over the years, the communication has become superficial. Or, we’ve lost sight of who we are as individuals after years of caring for others and putting the needs of others before ourselves. For many years, it would be rare that these examples, or perhaps the ones that we all have learnt to live with would be enough to result in a ‘Cost of Change’ moment in our lives. But that seems to have changed. More and more people are coming to, or creating their own ‘Cost of Change’ moment as they look at parts of their lives they want or need to change.
In 2016 I had my ‘Cost of Change’ moment! Was it really a moment in time? Yes it was. Can I tell you exactly where I was when I had my ‘Cost of Change’ moment and how it made me feel? Absolutely!
Have you reached a ‘Cost of Change’ moment in any part of your life?