How To Initiate Change, Conquer The Creative Saboteur & Tame The Fears

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ChangePost written by Sophie Cliche.

For me, change starts with an inspiration. I often identify something that could be better, something that currently restricts me or causes me pain, and I let myself dream about what it could be instead. I become engaged in solving it, and I attempt to delineate what could be steps towards changing the situation.

The spark could come from talking to someone that has resolved a similar situation. It could be buying a book that informs or inspires me. It could be visiting a place that gives me clues about what bothers me, or what I need in my life. It could be buying a small object that reminds me to stay focused on what I attach to my keychain or which shoes I wear.

Breaking It Down

Dreaming about a better alternative makes us excited, and it makes us key into the parts of us that need to be nourished. After I can identify the thing I wish was different, whatever it may be, and after I can trigger my inner voice to tell me what it really needs instead, I can actually start the process of trying to get there. This is almost always the longest part of the process, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be the hardest. I commit to doing a little bit of something every day or every week to make the needle move. Something doable. Something fun. I break it down into small digestible actions– I don’t know how to climb a mountain, but I know how to put my left foot in front of my right one. And enough of those actions get me where I am trying to go.

In the meantime, I tell my friends and my support system, because when I tell others about a goal I’ve set, it tends to happen. It raises my accountability to know that there are others focusing on my success, and it gets me the support I need to push through the times that make me want to give up.

Always Learning

I also ask the part of me that wants to be a censor, the part of my brain that is a creative saboteur, to put its thinking on hold. Progressing by small steps also helps my more realistic side from jumping in to stop me- while drastic steps might seem foolish or wasteful, small steps are easy for even the hardest self-critic to stomach.

To keep those small steps going, I recommit. I remind myself that what matters to me matters to me, and I stick with it. If I fail, I don’t let myself give up. I tell myself that I’ve failed a step, or even taken a step backward, but I forgive myself. I let go. I store things fast under the label “I learned something” which gives me more impetus to try something else. And something else. No matter what, I keep moving.

I ask for help, and I surround myself with generous people. On the other hand, I don’t spend time with people that see a smaller version of me. I put distance between myself and the people who limit me. I remind myself that we often can only support others in their big lives, if we are living our own big one.

To Tolerate & Celebrate

I tolerate the complexities of my inner life. Sometimes I want something on one end, but another part of me is afraid of it, or thinks I don’t deserve it. I actively identify those incompatible beliefs as they arise, because I know that if I let myself believe people with money are horrible people, for example, I will sabotage myself to avoid being rich, as I don’t want to be a horrible person. I know that I can always find excuses to avoid letting myself have what I want, so I watch what I believe about what I am trying to accomplish, because what I believe will ultimately manifest itself in what I do.

I celebrate small steps. I acknowledge the movement I make. I focus on what I do do. Not so much on what I don’t.

Finally, I tame my fears. I don’t ignore them or shove them back down, because I know that denial is always temporary, and that my fears will crop up again to trip me up if I don’t acknowledge them. So I talk to them. I recognize that fear often comes from a good place, a protective place. I take the time to thank my fears for taking care of me, but reassert that for right now, I want to continue to move forward. I often visualize a 7-year-old version of me, and try to be the kind of person I would have liked to talk to at that age, when my younger self was afraid of something. I reassure and encourage. I consider my feelings, I validate my inhibitions, and I use the knowledge I gain from that to push myself to try for something bigger.

Sophie Chiche is a French-American entrepreneur, optimist, and sweat activist. She is the founder of Shape House, Los Angeles’ premier Urban Sweat Lodge, and, an inspiring online community dedicated to exploring and closing the gap between what is meaningful and what constitutes our daily lives.

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