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When You Feel Like Change is Impossible…

failure high-achievers limiting beliefs people-pleasing Dec 16, 2023
You CAN change

Friendly Reminder: There is literally NO proof of this.

Feeling stuck? Maybe it’s a habit that you would like to undo, or a new habit you would like to build. Maybe you don’t believe that a relationship can change, or that you can adopt a new mindset or belief, and you are struggling.

It can be easy to think (especially if you are feeling overwhelmed right now) that change is JUST NOT POSSIBLE. It’s certainly not a true thought, but it sure can feel that way.

Why is this?

Most likely, if you are struggling with something that you want to do, think or feel differently about, you are lacking the external accountability that serves people-pleasers so well. If you are here, reading this, most likely you are a high-achieving people pleaser, who is very good at meeting, and often exceeding the expectations of others. You’ve done it for years. 

Now, it may not feel like that is true, especially as the number of people counting on you (staff, patients, parents, kids, partners, PTA, etc) has increased. You may very well have too many people counting on you right now for you to feel good about your performance.

And yet, chances are still high that if other people are counting on you, you are more likely to deliver than if it is something that matters most to you. Double that chance if it’s something that matters most to you AND it inconveniences/disappoints other people, such as setting boundaries or saying “no”.

I see you making a face there. It’s ok. You are in good company (author points to self).

When it’s a change that matters most to you, such as getting your notes done as you go and being done for the day when you leave the clinic/hospital, it’s often more challenging to make changes stick because you will need to say “no” to others, or keep others waiting, especially as you start. 

Taking those 2 extra minutes between patients to be done can feel like a major inconvenience to others, and it’s easy to revert to the usual, where you give up trying to close them and leave them for later, rather than keep these folks waiting.

And then, if you are like me and most of the people I coach, you end up feeling guilty, or feeling like it’s futile to even keep trying, because it didn’t work. But here’s the part we need to understand, expect and embrace.

Change is uncomfortable.

Moving from being a senior in high school to being a freshman in college was uncomfortable. You lost your senior-ness, your familiarity with the campus, perhaps the comfort of living at home with your family, and you probably needed to uplevel your personal responsibility to get to class, study, etc.

Living with someone for the first time was uncomfortable. Personal habits that you didn’t expect are now fully visible in a way that they weren’t before, plans had to be discussed in a different way, finances change, etc. 

Certainly there are some good things that happened here, but also there was discomfort. Just like the first time you examined a patient was uncomfortable, and required learning, focus and humility.

When we are learning new things, it requires more attention, more determination, and more discomfort than following in our well-worn ruts. And again, if we are changing habits in a way that may inconvenience others, such as keeping patients waiting for 2 minutes while closing a note, or saying “no” to a double-book because you have a new spin class after work, we need to expect that discomfort will occur. That’s just normal.

You can change. You have done it many times. But yes, it will feel messy. Yes, it will be uncomfortable. Yes, you will make mistakes.

But we can’t keep interpreting messiness, discomfort and mistakes as signs that change is impossible. It’s just how growth happens.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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