There was a recruiting campaign that the US Army developed in the 1980s called “Be All You Can Be.” Even though the US Army has launched several effective themes since (“Army of One” and “Army Strong”), the “Be All You Can Be” theme continues to resonate in popular culture as it speaks to reaching our individual potential.
Even when we genuinely care about making progress towards being our best for those we care about most, there is always some level of resistance to keep moving forward. Whether it is our own experiences, the opinions of others, or the unfortunate “poor timing” of our last effort to make a change, we begin to question what we are trying to do and the probability of success in making a difference.
Leonardo da Vinci said it best when he said, “It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
Some of the typical barriers we run into when thinking about making a change are:
- We amplify typical/normal worries with comments like “This is probably our last shot to make it work.” “If we mess this up, there is no recovery.”
- We work through a series of questions in our mind like “What will they think?” and “What will I tell them?”
- We prepare ourselves for lower expectations with thoughts like “It probably won’t work anyway.” “It doesn’t really matter.”
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we all need a steady flow of reinforcement to effectively address the typical barriers to making ongoing progress in reaching our full potential and being our best for those we care about most.
Here are a few reminders to help overcome the typical resistance to keep moving forward:
- Fear: We need courage to face the truth that below these typical barriers is our own fear. Fear of failing, fear of what others will think, or fear of disappointing someone is often part of our thought pattern. Fear is a reality that most of us face, but in the long run, it is not a healthy driver of our decisions on the journey to reach our full potential. The alternative is hope. Hope creates some positive momentum based on the fact that we have overcome challenges before and can build a bit more confidence to go forward.
- Opinions: We need to acknowledge that somewhere inside of us, we do care about the opinions of others. It is not an effective strategy to say we just don’t care about what others think. The reality is we do care. The greatest desire after taking care of our basic necessities of life is that we all want to feel a connection with others and that we belong. We just need to put the opinions of others in proper context with a reminder that principles like courage, commitment, and loyalty are driving our desire to take action.
- Choice: The choice is always ours to make. As opposed to letting these typical barriers become STOP signs to making a change, we should leverage them to refine our thinking and clarify our intentions. This step will help us strengthen the decision we are making and solidify our resolve to move forward with the change no matter what we face.
As we develop the habits to more effectively address these typical areas of resistance to change, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to reach our full potential and be our best for those we care about most.