Updated: Dec 28, 2017
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”
What is holding you back from making a change in your life?
Most of us can agree that the idea of change, whether it is good or bad, is a scary and somewhat unsettling feeling. From my personal experience, the hardest thing to do is to let go of the excuses that are holding you back from taking that first step. Taking those first few steps towards a new path is what can cause a lot of us to turn around before ever seeing the outcome. Excuses give individuals an “out.” They cause us to stay with what is comfortable. Even in bad circumstances, comfortable can feel much easier than change.
How do you push yourself to go further?
How do you embrace change?
Personally, I would not label myself “good” at change. I love consistency. I am very good at making excuses that sound pretty convincing to the outside world, and even more convincing to myself. So when I accepted an out-of-state athletic scholarship to play tennis, in Kansas no less, I was as shocked as anyone. The decision to move to Kansas for school was not difficult, but once my parents left, and I was alone in my 12x19 dorm room, reality set in. I spent my first semester in college making excuses, instead of embracing my new path. I wanted to go back to what was comfortable. It didn’t help that going from high school to collegiate athletics is quite the jump. Worst of all, I didn't win a single match my entire first semester as the #1 singles player on my team. I was utterly defeated.
My entire collegiate experience took a turn once my assistant coach pin-pointed the problem. He was working with me on the court and he asked me, “what are you holding onto?” I remember being so caught off guard that in the middle of our lesson he would ask me a question like that. But in reality, it was exactly what I needed. I was holding on to every excuse I could. I had subconsciously told myself that the reason I couldn’t win was because of this massive change in my life. All I thought about was how I rarely lost a match in High School, I had friends, I had my family, I loved the state where I had grown up, and in the midst of all those excuses, all I truly wanted was to feel comfortable again.
From that day on, my assistant coach asked me to let go of this inner-desire to be perfect on the court, and embrace this new challenge. I had so wanted to make my coaches proud, I hated failing, but my excuses couldn’t be my crutch anymore. I had to embrace the change in my life, and learn from it. I had to realize that change, whether good or bad, takes you to the next step. It might not even be the outcome you imagined or even wanted, but change is what helps an individual grow. I would never take back my experience that first semester in school. My first big change in my life taught me humility and trust, but built up my strength as an individual at the same time. Change is daunting, but without it, your life will cease to move forward. Embrace it. Take the first step.