Sometimes, the hardest part of change is simply imagining it. I have had times in my not-so-distant past when I have experienced complete dissonance. People I talked to about it would either say “do something about it” or “just let it emerge”. The problem was, I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know what “it” was.
I couldn’t imagine things any different than what they were. While I sure knew what I didn’t want, I wasn’t so sure about what I did want. When you’ve known something as it is for so long, it can be difficult to imagine it otherwise.
Similarly, when people come to me for help and are dissatisfied with their situation, often the most difficult question I ask of them is: “What do you want instead?” Sometimes they respond with silence. Sometimes they just add the word ‘not’ to the front of their sentence. Once in awhile I just get a puzzled look in return.
It’s not really the answer that matters. What matters is that you can imagine yourself looking, feeling, behaving, and being different.
“A person must see themselves in a new role before their self image can change.” Maxwell Maltz
On the other hand, you don’t have to have total clarity before moving forward. To make change possible, all you need is an inkling of what you truly, deeply desire and a spark of belief that it’s possible. You need the inkling so that you’re focused on what you’re moving toward, rather than what you’re moving away from, which usually just keeps you stuck where you are. You also need to believe it’s possible because what we believe becomes our truth. Yet, if you can’t imagine it, you won’t believe it to be possible.
Beginning with an inkling is a perfect starting place.
Your vision of what you can become will become clearer and clearer like your eyesight does as you move closer and closer to something off in the distance. It gives you something you can “just do something about” and also allows you to “let it emerge”.
Take a moment to listen to John Lennon’s Imagine to get your imagining engine fired up. Then see if you can find your ‘inkling’.