4 Tips for Summoning the Courage to Make Real Change

I’m sure you’ve been there. Maybe it was during the course of conversation at a “book club” meeting, or in the midst of the coffee klatch after morning “drop-off”, or perhaps it was over a glass of wine at a dinner party. The conversation starts off congenially, you chat about one another’s families and interests and then the discussion meanders, eventually landing on a friend’s lament that she’d really like to make a change in her life. And by change I don’t mean a change in her brand of toothpaste. I’m talking about real change. The kind of scary, life-affirming change that comes from doing something audacious like writing a book, starting a new business, re-entering the workforce, going back to school, or leaving a toxic relationship.

It’s the kind of change that requires courage, and that’s why these types of conversations often end up being just that, a conversation. Why? Because summoning the courage to send our lives in a new direction often feels just too daunting.

We’ve all been there. We’ve each had those moments where we dream of something new and exciting for ourselves but then invariably we talk ourselves out of it because it’s just seems too hard. After all, we tell others (and ourselves) we don’t have the time, or the resources, or the energy, and so on.

So then will we ever really do it? How can we muster the courage to make a real change in our lives?

Having personally struggled with this and having worked with others who sought and made significant change in their lives, I can tell you this.  It will happen – when you commit to changing your perception of yourself. But first, you need to get out of your own way!

You see, if we’re really being honest with ourselves we’d see that 90% of the time WE are the biggest obstacles to our own success. We need to start by recognizing and taking responsibility for the way our lives look today, for better and worse. It’s only when we’ve done that that we can start making a conscious commitment to improving it.

Next, we need to start believing in ourselves and our ability to accomplish what we seek, whether it’s landing a new job, starting a business, getting fit, leaving a bad relationship, or bouncing back from a deep sorrow.  We need to believe down to our core that we’re capable of achieving this! Now, intellectually we may say that we do believe this. Ok, but emotionally do we really feel it?  Do we see it happening? Can we taste it? To make a lasting difference we really need to program ourselves to think that we’re meant for this! When we start to really live it and feel it then it will become a reality.

After all, you’ve got to believe to achieve!

To set you on your way I’d like to share 4 quick tips that I know can help you do just that, starting today.

First, you have to stop doubting yourself. No more saying you’re not ready, you’re not good enough, you’re not talented enough. No more excuses that someone else in your life is more important right now.  Instead, starting today, you need to replace negative/self-defeating thoughts with positive ones. To do this and to make it second nature, it may help to make a list of positive affirmations and put them in a place where you’ll see them. Then, you’ve got to repeat them to yourself daily. You can recite these to yourself while you’re walking the dog, or driving carpool or taking a shower, but you must make it a mantra!

Second, it’s important to surround yourself with people that are the way you want to be. Do you want to be more fit? Sure, you can work out in the privacy of your home but if you really want to make lasting improvement then go to the gym where you’ll see how fit people get that way and you’ll be surrounded by inspiration. Perhaps you want to go back to work? Well then talk to a friend who’s done it. Attend a conference in the industry in which you ’d like to work. Participate in online forums where people are discussing industry trends and topics. The key here is to connect with people who are already doing it. They will show you the way, and provide motivation.

Next, in order to really feel like the person you want to be it’s important to act and dress the part. Really. I know it may sound hokey but remember, we become what we imagine ourselves to be. So starting today, play the part. Do you want to be seen as a smart, savvy professional? Well then put the sweats in the back of the drawer and start dressing and acting like the successful person you imagine yourself to be. Do you want to improve your relationships? Then be mindful of your interactions and appearance when you’re in the company of those who matter to you. Are you warm and engaging? Are you seen as open and available to others? Over time I guarantee that if you do these things, you’ll start to embody the characteristics of the person you envision.

And my final suggestion is one that has often helped motivate me in times like these. Perhaps it will do the same for you.  Next time you find yourself suffering a lack of confidence or feeling unsure about taking action toward your goal ask yourself, what would a man (perhaps even a man with less talent and intelligence than you) do in the same situation? They would, no doubt, stand up for themselves. They’d take action. And so should you!

 So, get after it!

 And remember, you’re a smart, sexy biatch. Start acting like one!


 This much I know.

-Jeanine Hughes

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