There’s a fundamental component ‘missing’ from almost all advice and strategies for creating ‘big’ change.
I’m not saying it’s deliberately excluded.
I think it’s more about it not being understood.
Either way, the net results of missing it can be frustrating, costly and painful.
I also believe it’s why ‘big change’ initiatives so often fail (both professionally and personally).
On the flip-side, factoring this in means we can create change and attain results with greater speed, certainty and ease….. while having a lot more fun in the process.
What’s the missing element in advice for change?
Simplistically, it’s this:
How to get our ego onboard (with the changes we want).
And the reason it matters is that failing to factor this in often results in one or more of the following:
- Not much change or change but not for long.
- Compromising on our goals.
- Endless effort, exertion, pushing, striving to make the change happen (faster).
- Self sabotage, procrastination, apathy, anxiety, fear, suppression, lack of motivation, despondency, etc.
- Blaming circumstances, situations or others.
- Believing we need to acquire more knowledge or ‘be more focused or disciplined’ or that we’re missing something.
On top of all of this, without understanding:
(a) what ego is
(b) why it’s so adverse to change when we really want it and
(c) how to get our ego onboard with the change,
then we remain unaware of the real reason the change we desire isn’t happening as we’d wanted, hoped, planned or believed.
Meaning we attribute the cause to other ‘external’ things such as strategy or skillset or timing, etc..
Or worse, we blame ourselves, give up on our vision altogether or rein it in to make it “more realistic.“
(With ‘realistic’ being a subjective, ego-based, conditioned belief which has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth).
And in doing so, we play right into the ego’s hands!
Net result = our very own ‘Chief Sabotage Officer’ wins.
But this in itself isn’t really the problem.
The real problem is that our ego has won without us even knowing it.
We don’t know because we’ve believed in the stories it has fed us.
And why wouldn’t we believe them?
They’re beautifully logical, they align with our beliefs and our experience and the ego is also an absolute master at bringing history into the mix to validate the stories it tells us.
Ego wants to be right at all costs! (Usually at the cost of making others wrong or at the cost of what it is we most want!)
And what this all adds up to is a form of internal battle with ourself.
An internal battle between our heart’s desires and our ego’s desires.
A battle we may not understand the source of but which our ego can happily rationalise based on the past or future.
Because ego can always tell us why we’re right not to imagine too wildly for ourselves.
Or why the achievement of our vision will take years or is dependent on others or may not happen.
Or why we’re probably not good enough to achieve what it is we really love the idea of.
Or if we do X, Y or Z like we’ve always done, we’ll be sure to get the results we seek.
Yada, yada. The old record playing in the head! Or so it seems. Time, timing, money, resources, memories of the past, beliefs, doubts, fears. Bore-on!
And we suffer the consequences of believing the stories.
Mentally, emotionally and physically.
Because, in accepting the stories, we’re effectively denying our heart’s desires and crushing our spirit.
And whether it’s in business or in other areas of our life, the truth is we’re ‘wired’ for desire.
More, different, better.
Growth, expansion, expression.
Desires are in our nature and our true desires are given to us for a reason…
For us to experience!
We don’t have desires just so we can torture ourself with the absence or lack or impossibility of them.
Or to deny them on account of our ego’s conditioned beliefs and eagerness to preserve the status quo.
We each have our own unique, personal desires for good reason and for as long as we have any heart-felt desire, we also have the ability to experience it.
We’ve got to learn how to accept our desires and this means getting our ego into our corner and onto our team!
Because, until we do, the game of life is going to feel like a game of duality.
Metaphorically speaking, we might look at it this way…
In entering the game of life, we’re thrown into the ring or arena.
And in one corner we have our true self. Consciousness.
Pure. Unafraid. Calm. Unconditioned. Knowing and ….Capable of realising every true desire we have.
(Remember as a kid when you imagined vividly, dared to dream boldly and believed too? That was your true, unconditioned self).
So our true self – consciousness – furnishes us with our heart’s desires and also holds the perfect blueprint for their attainment.
Consciousness is all for expression, expansion, adventure, richness and variety of experience. For such things as growing a business, serving more clients, making a difference, creating a legacy, family, friends, laughter, travel, love, abundance, joy….. individual expression… etc….
And ultimately for revealing to us the truth about who we are and what we’re truly capable of.
And when we allow ourself to lean into and embrace our heart’s desires, it feels good.
So much so that we can literally feel the expansion in our chest…. in our hearts.
The reason being that we’re allowing consciousness to express through us.
And the more we allow this, the more we literally become ‘inspired’ and the more we are then moved towards the attainment of our desires.
Sometimes called being in Flow.
And yet, across the ring, we have our ego-self; identifying only as the body and mind.
Incorrectly perceiving itself to be separate, small and distinct from consciousness; our ego-self is therefore constantly seeking security, safety and validation.
On high alert for danger, for what could or might go wrong and for what this may then mean. (What if we fail? What might others think? What if it doesn’t happen? Safer not to).
From the ego’s perspective, movement in our environment or experience (i.e. the very ‘change’ our true self desires to experience through us), spells danger.
Fuelled by memories of the past, conditioned beliefs, current circumstances, physical environment, fear of the future and identifying as body and mind, our ego is ironically yearning for change in order to feel more whole and complete and yet it’s afraid of it too.
As a survival mechanism which hasn’t evolved at anything like the same pace as consciousness, our ego-self pursues goals with a seeking, needing, wanting, “I have to” energy.
And whilst on the face of it, the ego’s desires may appear to be the same or similar in nature to our heart’s desires, the underlying motivation for them is very, very different.
One is love-based from a position of wholeness seeking expression, expansion and to serve.
The other is fear-based from a position of I need this in order to survive or feel whole or complete or secure…. or better or good enough.
And it’s the underlying energy with which the desire is entertained that either makes attainment easy, fast and effortless or turns it into an uphill or seemingly endless struggle.
So, in playing the game of life, the game is won when we allow our true self to take the wheel.
And follow our hearts desires versus the ego-driven desires which spring from ‘need to’, ‘have to’, ‘should do’, ‘must do’ and ‘ought to’… or more subtly from …. I want to because then I’ll feel better about myself in some way.
Following our hearts desires is actually the only way we can be truly authentic.
And it’s the only way to be and to remain in ‘flow’.
When in flow, results seem effortless.
It feels like we’re being moved to think, say and do the right things at the right time.
It feels this way because we are!
Productivity is off the scale. (An average 500% increase according to McKinsey’s).
Conversations are effortless.
Clients say yes. People show up at the perfect time.
We have time.
Deals flow. Relationships flow. We feel great.
Winning streaks become familiar. Even our golf game improves (if we play).
Until ego gets scared of the changes and chimes in with “this is probably too good to last”.
Or furnishes us with some other story arising from a conditioned belief.
And if we buy it or we’re triggered by something in our environment, then before we know it, our ego is back at the helm.
Suddenly it’s now not so easy.
We begin to meet with resistance again.
We feel more contracted. Less expansive. Anxious. Maybe even fearful.
Because now we’re shutting our true self out (again).
So now we feel we need to exert force and effort. We need to strive.
And the ‘flow’ we’d experienced and enjoyed is elusive once again.
Results are hard fought.
It no longer feels easy.
And we then tell the story that goes with it; unconsciously re-enforcing the ego’s grip and it’s familiar patterns.
And unconsciously creating more of the same or more of what we don’t want to experience.
And yes of course, we can point to the ‘evidence’ to validate our stories.
Unaware that what we’re experiencing as ‘evidence’ is just the evidence and the mirror of our own internal beliefs and stories.
We’re unaware because it all appears to be separate and distinct from us.
But this isn’t true at all.
It’s all just a mirror of our beliefs.
Being reflected back at us.
To wake us up to what we’ve been unconscious of so we can become conscious of it and change it on the inside of it’s not aligned with out desires.
To wake us up to the truth about who we really are and to realising that we don’t get results in life as a function of how hard we work or long hours or effort and wanting.
We get results based on what we allow based on who we’re conscious of being.
Human being vs human doing.
Ego (body and mind) is for doing. Consciousness is for being.
Human Beings not Human Doings.
There’s even a clue in the name!
In next weekend’s email, I’ll cover what we must do to get our ego onboard and why it really is that this can be so challenging.
Because ego is not the enemy; we need ego (body and mind) in order to have experience!
Ego only shows up as the opponent or enemy of change when we don’t understand how to get it onboard with our heart’s desires.