October 11, 2023

The 3 Steps to Create Change

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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Whether you want to create a big change in your career or life or just start a new habit, this episode is breaking down the 3 steps to create any change. You’ll also hear what to expect emotionally as you embark on your change journey so you can avoid giving up on your goals too soon.

What you’ll learn:

  • What you experience emotionally when you go through change
  • The 3 simple steps to create any change you want
  • How to avoid giving up on your goals too soon




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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self-worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted, whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here, the one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week, you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo. So you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up-level begins now. 

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. I’m so happy to be here with you today. We’re going to talk about a high-level framework that you can use to create any change that you want to make. This could be a work change or a personal change, a big change, or a little change. It could be just a habit you want to break, a habit you want to start. Now, earlier in the podcast, I talked about the Dylt’s Change Model and the emotional cycle of change. As a quick refresher, there is a cycle that you go through emotionally whenever you want to make a change. I want to talk about that first. Before we get into the steps to create the change, you’re prepared and know what to expect. I have been working with a client on this a lot lately because she’s going through a really big career change. I’m going to tell you the cycle, and then I’m going to share a bit of how it applies to her, and then we’re going to get into those three steps. When you’ve decided that you want to make a change, you’re going to be really excited at first, right? This is the uninformed optimism stage.

You’re going to be looking forward to it, focused on what is going to come from it, but you haven’t done it yet, so you’re a bit uninformed. You’re a little bit ignorant of what is going to happen when you’re actually in the change and you don’t really know what it’s going to feel like or what obstacles you’re going to overcome yet. You don’t know exactly what it’s going to take, and you haven’t felt that discomfort yet, which is why it’s called uninformed optimism. Once you get through that stage and you’re actually in the change and you’re starting to take some action, then you’re going to be in the informed pessimism stage. In this stage, you’ve started to change your behavior, taken some action, and you are uncomfortable. You are more informed because you’ve started to take some action and you’re actually doing some of the work, but maybe you’re starting to doubt your decision or the change, and maybe you’re questioning if you can really do this. Once you get through that stage, if you haven’t given up at that point, then you go into the valley of despair, and this is where most people give up on their goals.

You know what it’s going to take. You’re uncomfortable as I’ll get out. You’re in the thick of doubt and uncertainty, and you’re wondering why you ever made the decision to begin with. You’re really having a lot of doubt and fear come up. Now, here’s the thing. When you work through this stage, when you work through the valley of despair and keep going, you’re going to come out of it closer to, if not, achieving your goal. But when we’re experiencing these stages of this change cycle, we don’t know it because we’re human. We’re not feeling bad or having fear come up or having all these obstacles that seem impossible to overcome and be like, Well, here I am. I’m just in this change cycle. That’s not how we work as humans. Instead, everything feels very real. Your brain may offer you very logical reasons. You may have people that are giving you a lot of doubt that you’re really giving a lot of credibility to, and you can feel very emotional because we are humans. The idea of what we’re doing not working or failing feels very real. We don’t want to feel embarrassed. We’re worried about the consequences of the change if it doesn’t work out.

This is why I want to share this with you so that you can identify this and normalize it, because some of this, truth be told, is going to be very front of mind in your conscious brain where you’re going to be able to identify that you’re feeling this way. You’re going to be able to identify these obstacles and these triggers that are coming up. Some of it is going to be more in your subconscious brain where you’re going to be more an autopilot and just giving up and having just a reason that makes a lot of sense to you. For a while, you should give up, and then you just don’t move forward. It can be a little bit tricky, but knowing that there is this psychology behind changes that we make is really helpful to help you keep going. Let’s go to the next stage. You’ve gotten through the valley of despair. Now you’re in informed optimism. You’ve gotten through that most difficult mucky area.

And now, you know what the change is actually going to take. You can also see the light at the end of the tunnel. You can see the finish line and you’ve gotten through the worst. You’re informed and you’re optimistic and you can see it through. Then you get to the final stage, which is success. You kept going and you accomplished your goal. Now, knowing this, knowing this cycle and that this is what we go through as humans on a big or small level, depending on what we’re doing and how aware of it we are, has been life-changing for me. When I’m doing something new and I’m feeling that discomfort, I know that this is just my brain’s reaction to growth. When I’m mid-drama and I feel like the sky is falling or whatever a dramatic story that we could tell ourselves and things just aren’t going our way, I can ask myself, Where is this coming from? Am I in a growth phase? Is this unexpected for what I’m trying to do? When we’re going through big things in our life and we’re trying to make big changes, when we’re doing things we haven’t done before, of course, we’re going to have all sorts of reasons to stay the same.

We’re going to have all sorts of fear come up because we haven’t done it before. We don’t have that confidence to lean back on. So your brain can be really logical and give you all of the reasons as to why you shouldn’t speak up in the meeting, why it’s not your turn for promotion, why you shouldn’t go for that job, why you shouldn’t try the thing you want to try, why you shouldn’t try to figure out what your next best career move is and instead to just do what you’ve always done. But whatever it is, whatever the changes that you want to make, you get to question your brain when it’s holding you back, when it’s giving you the reasons not to do it. Just be curious. Is this a real fear? Is it a past experience or your brain’s fight or flight trying to keep you stuck and small? Is it something that you can choose to work through? If you do, what is the worst that could happen? How likely is that worst-case scenario to happen? You get to always question your fear and decide if you want to listen to it. But know that it is going to be there.

You can make it more quiet, that fear, that uncertainty, that doubt. You can silence it. You can make it not be as loud in your brain, right? But you do have to always put that in the driver’s seat and not let that make your decisions when you’re looking to do something new. You have to understand that whenever you do something you haven’t done before, your brain is going to offer you some red flags. That is its job. Its job is to make things easy for us, to keep us safe, to avoid pain, to seek pleasure. That is its job. Thank you, brain, for having me stay safe, for doing all the things you’re supposed to be doing. You could acknowledge and have compassion for that part of your brain because it is there to protect you, but also know that sometimes it’s giving you those red flags when it doesn’t need to because our brain can’t tell the difference sometimes between a saber tooth tiger is chasing us down the road and we’re looking to apply for a job that we’re not sure we’re going to get or don’t feel we’re ready for. Sometimes our brain can just amplify our fears.

I’m going to share with you how this has shown up with one of my clients that recently has gone through this process. Her career protocol, we went through and figured out exactly what she wanted. She was at a crossroads and she wasn’t sure. She wanted to get another job, stay in her current job, and start a business. She had a lot of paths to choose from, and she wasn’t sure what was best for her. We created her career protocol to tell her exactly what that move would be. It was validating for her deep down a desire that she had always wanted, which was to have her own business and do some consulting work. That was a very big move from having the stability and security, which is a little bit of a falsehood given that if you think about the industry, it’s not as stable and secure when we have an employer. I think it can be more stable and secure when you’re in charge of your own employment, but it is the way that we are conditioned to think, and there is a different level of security when you are an employee. She had a lot of fear come up when it came to actually making the move into her career, similar to I had that also.

She had decided she wanted to go into this business. She decided that she wanted to leave her current job, and she took that leap, and she quit her job to build her business. She was so happy. She was so excited. It’s like that uninformed optimism stage to her brain. She felt like she had her confidence back. She was living her purpose. She was doing what she was meant to do. But then after a couple of weeks of actually implementing the plan, getting more information, she started to have that uncertainty creep up. The reality that she made this decision just got more real. When people in her life that haven’t had businesses that didn’t understand what she was doing questioned her, it just fed that doubt even more. But she kept going and she was having wins along the way. But then she stepped into the valley of despair. She started questioning why she made this decision that it was harder than she thought it would be, that there is more that has to be done. It’s harder work than she realized. She had to change how she thought about herself to be the person who got the results that she wanted.

But we were able to coach through that so she could get through the muck of the valley of despair. She was able to build her self-confidence in herself and the confidence in the service she’s providing, even when she hasn’t offered it yet and she hasn’t had a contract yet. We then created a strategic plan for her to get those quick wins she needed, for her to feel the way she wanted to feel and feel safe in her body and in her nervous system while she was taking this massive action. She feels that she is doing what she is meant to be doing, that she isn’t letting that fear stop her from doing what she really wants and what she’s so passionate about. But sometimes she needs that reminder, just like we all do, of who we really are, of the progress that we’ve made and that we can do this. If you think of any big change, you think of Steve Jobs and the iPhone, or if you think about any new invention, the people that created Spotify, anything that’s really big, and those are really big examples compared to some of the things that we might be working on personally, but those big things didn’t just happen overnight.

They didn’t just wake up one day and say, I have this idea, and then the next day it was on the shelves and you could buy it or you could download it on your phone. It takes a lot of perseverance and resilience. It takes a lot of working through your own obstacles, working through the things that are in your mind and the things externally to you that want to keep you stuck and not from playing as big as you could. In a recent session, I drew this emotional change cycle on my whiteboard for her to show her what was happening. She could see that this was normal, that she is right on track. Now she gets to decide what she wants to do. She decided to keep going, and she’s getting some real traction in her business. I share this with you, like I said, so that you can normalize it too. But let’s dig into some really simple steps that you can take to create any change. You know now what to expect so that you can implement these steps and expect it to be uncomfortable as you get into the thick of the change you’re trying to create.

Let’s dig in. There are three basic steps to create any change. Number one is to be aware of how you are contributing to your current result. Number two, to stop being comfortable with being unhappy and be intentional with your behavior. Number three, take active steps toward who you want to be and the results that you want to create. Let’s talk about each of these. Number one, be aware of how you are contributing to your results. When you want to make a change, you have to take ownership of where you are right now. Acknowledge where you have contributed to your current results, and you have to believe that you have the power to change the situation. Everything isn’t just happening to you. Your career isn’t just happening to you. There are things that you are doing or not doing that are contributing to where you are right now. Number two, stop being comfortable with being unhappy. Be intentional with your behavior. Being unhappy or settling in your career or your life in any area doesn’t feel good. But when you do it for a long time, like when you’re unhappy in your career for a long time, when you don’t know what you want for a long time.

When you are spending your evenings checking your phone for a long time, when you are disconnected from your family and not getting enough sleep for a long time, that routine feels safe. It feels safe to your brain. You don’t behave, though, as the best version of yourself in that situation. You might struggle with making decisions or be too critical of everyone around you, and it might feel safer to make everyone else the problem. But this just keeps you stuck and unhappy and stifles your own growth. I’ve been there, too. I have been in that place where it was my boss, my company, all of these things, they were the problem. As long as they were the problem, I didn’t have to do anything. I just had to survive the problem. I could still overthink whether or not I was going to leave. I could still go to happy hours and complain with the comfort of my friends. I remember back in my corporate days, a senior leader told me that she wondered if the culture changed our high performers because the company had hired some really great, talented, bright people with a lot of ideas.

When they started with the company, they were speaking up and sharing those ideas. Over time, they stopped doing that. They stopped going the extra mile. It was almost like a complacency. It is what it is and this is the culture we’re in. Those people were still talented and bright, but they weren’t happy. When that happens, we go into a routine of just getting by or settling on things that are just the way that they are. That can be a protective mechanism for yourself, but it also hurts you because then you’re not offering your ideas to the world. You’re not having the impact you could. You’re not contributing at a high level. You’re not solving the problems that you want to. You’re not going as far as you could. You’re not creating the career that you really could for yourself. Another way this can come up is that you can be staying comfortable by saying you have to do a lot of research before you make a change, before you apply for the job, before you hire a coach, whatever it is that you have to do just a lot, a lot of research. You have to blame others for why you don’t have what you have, which is what I talked about before.

Instead of being intentional with your behavior, looking at how you can solve the problem you’re in and getting the support or taking the action that you need to get what you actually want, which requires you going outside of your comfort zone, you stay stuck thinking about it or overthinking about it or blaming other people. That can feel very real and logical, but not actually helping you. Number three, the very last step is to take action towards who you want to be and the results that you want to create. At this stage, you’re aware of how you’re contributing to your current results. You’ve gotten on board with being uncomfortable and being intentional toward what you want, and now it’s time to take action. This is going to be changing how you see yourself, how you see others, and really embracing a growth mindset, being okay to fail, and going after those things you haven’t done before, stopping at nothing until you achieve what you want. All right, so that is pretty simple, right? The three steps to change: have awareness, embrace discomfort, and be intentional, and take action. You can apply this to anything you want to change.

Remember that discomfort is a sign of growth. It’s not a bad thing. If you can’t remember the last time that you stepped outside your comfort zone, then you’re likely stuck in a fixed mindset. But you’re not alone. Our brain is literally designed to keep us from being uncomfortable. I really believe that when you align your energy and your central nervous system to be on board with the change you want, the universe helps it deliver for you. Sometimes when my clients come to work with me, they’ve been stuck for years, and then within a month or two of us working together, their dream job appears like magic that is in their worth. This is the embodiment of the three steps. They brought awareness to what they were contributing and what was in their control. They made a decision to be intentional and do something outside their comfort zone. They took meaningful action to be who they wanted to be and to get what they want. When you combine your frequency or your energy with a solid strategy, big things happen. All right, this is all for this week’s episode. Go out there, make things happen this week.

Your first step is to bring awareness to what is in your control and how you have contributed to something that you don’t like that is happening in your life or career right now, and then decide what you want to do about it. All right, I will talk to you next week. 

The episode is over, but your next level is just beginning. If you’re ready to have the career that you really want, I invite you to schedule a coaching consultation to work with me where you will identify a career path to your next step, build your confidence to tackle any career challenge, make more money and work and stress less with my proven process. Head over to www.yourworthycareer.com to get started.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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