Friday, November 25, 2011

Overcoming Resistance

Have you ever had a creative idea that you thought might change your life, or even change the world? Were you intrinsically motivated? Did you have a plan? Were you prepared to overcome the inevitable resistance that accompanies the grandest of ideas? Probably not… because quite frankly, “Ideas” are cheap! It is all about execution, execution, execution.

Personally, I have too many ideas, and many don’t make it. Maybe my resources are limited, or my expectations are unrealistic. Sometimes it just boils down to insufficient skills, or even the lack of discipline and tenacity to follow through on making my big idea a reality.

After 60 years of exploring new ideas, I realize that successful execution is all about work. This is no big “Secret of Life”! We all have to work at something in life. We all find ourselves exerting energy out of a necessity to make or do something. Sometimes when we are “In the Zone”, work can be exciting, passionate…..even joyful. Other times, it’s about repetitive action… putting one foot in front of another, and getting the job done with discipline and accountability. In either situation, measureable movement towards a specific goal brings satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, even happiness.

In order for me to execute successfully on my “Big Ideas”… to live my dreams… to win, I have to overcome whatever resistance I am feeling. Winners overcome fear and defeat their personal resistance. Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us that we only dream about. Between the two, stands resistance. Have you ever quit a diet, procrastinated an important activity, put off learning, bailed out when you knew you shouldn’t? Then you know what resistance is. Resistance is toxic. It is the root of unhappiness, of mediocrity, of failure. Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. It is a repelling force. It comes from within and will give us any excuse not to execute… not to do our work. Resistance is insidious and it is by definition self-sabotage, especially when we use internal rationalizations to fuel our fear and inaction.

We can rationalize anything because there is that part of our mind that wants to believe what our rationalization tells us. It’s one thing to lie to ourselves, it’s another to believe it. Overcoming resistance is one of the “Secrets of Life”.

In order for me to achieve successfully, I have to overcome my internal resistance, focus my energies, and write a detailed plan of “How” to implement my new big idea. These first steps of the creative process are always the most exciting and stimulating for me. It is brand new! I love playing with my new shiny ideas. I find it totally engaging because I am enamored by the potential. Will it work? How big can it be? What resources do I need? How long will it take? What will I learn?

Overcoming resistance and driving to action does not automatically guarantee success. My track record is littered with failures. My mom used to say, “Son, you win one and lose eighty… but the one you win is always big!” I want to win as much as the next guy and maybe even more. But realistically I understand that I will lose some battles in order to win the war. Perseverance makes me stronger, drives personal accountability, and challenges me to push myself outside my comfort zone. Overcoming resistance is crucial for learning, vital to personal growth and an important “Secret of Life”.