“Don’t give up until the miracle happens” – Anonymous
At this stage it is time to go “live” with our intentions and start taking actions to move us closer to our goals. We know what we want to change and we’ve made a clear plan. We are smart and logical people and so it should be a straight line to success – right?
Well, not usually. The truth is talking about a change and actually being in the midst of a significant change are different experiences. In the wise words of change and transition expert William Bridges, change is an event and transition is a psychological process.
Going through change and transformation is a multi-dimensional experience. Mind, body and spirit can all become engaged depending on what’s at stake. So we need to be prepared for the reality of what it will actually be like to go through the change and get to the other side.
Learning any new skill or competency and changing any attitude or behavior has its own highs and lows as well as a reward. It’s a challenging journey to change any behavior and to go from being a novice to a master. Capacity building requires sustained effort. The biggest challenge is to stay with the discomfort that goes along with change and transition and not be thrown off by the emotions that get triggered en route.
I’ve spent years studying and facilitating transformative learning and what it takes to hold the course and make a vision a reality for people and groups. The danger zone is the period of “conscious incompetence” that is a must pass-through phase to your destination. This is the stage where you are painfully aware of how you’d like to be – but are not quite there yet.
At this stage you are out of your comfort zone and practicing new behaviors that don’t quite feel natural. You aren’t where you used to be and you aren’t where you want to be. You are starting to know more about what you don’t know. People can feel self-conscious and easily discouraged. They can long for the comfort of the familiar and start fantasizing about quitting.
People need to be reminded not to confuse feeling vulnerable with their capacity to make the change. We need to know what “normal” is at this stage and to keep what we are experiencing in perspective. It is a temporary stage if we stay with it and don’t quit.
Getting through this stage requires self-awareness and self-acceptance. Being aware of your learning style, of what trips you up and of what helps you hang in there and keep your commitments through the tough (and boring) times, is invaluable. After an honest self-appraisal, make sure you are using strategies that work best with how you’re wired.
We know that old ways won’t open new doors. So expect to feel vulnerable. Persevering through the discomfort is the only way to the other side of a change. And we usually need support, and someone to hold us accountable to stay the course to make a significant change.
Coaching can give you the support and accountability you need to stay with it until you achieve your goal. I can help you get through the danger zone of being painfully aware of what you’d like to be but not quite there yet. Development is a process which I am well equipped to coach you through.