Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
“I want to change my life, but how?“
Have you ever thought those words to yourself? If so, congratulations: As a therapist and life coach I know that wanting things to be different is the launch-pad for any real and lasting change.
We think of the process of changing your life as a positive thing — one that is hopeful, and infused with joy. However, here’s the dirt: No-one ever, ever, changes because they’re just so happy with their life as it currently is. No. People actually change because they are frustrated, annoyed, hurt, embarrassed, experiencing negative consequences, or just completely worn out and exhausted from living the way they have been.
In fact, it’s that yucky, “Ugh I hate this” feeling (that we all dislike) is exactly the one you need to listen to if you’re going to change your life. But no one talks about that part. We see the victorious transformations… but not how to make the sausage.
The real, authentic change process is messy. It’s wobbly. It can be lonely. We try and fail, and try again. It doesn’t feel joyful, at least, not in the beginning. If anything, it feels hard, but it feels necessary.
How to Change Your Life
It’s not uncommon at all for our clients to show up for therapy or life coaching with us for help in feeling better. They’re feeling low, worried, or frustrated, and they genuinely don’t know what to do next. So, just like giving up and calling the plumber after you’ve futzed around with the leaky sink for three hours with no success, people reach out to us for therapy or life coaching.
“I want to have a better relationship,” “I want to stop my bad habits,” “I want to feel happier,” “I want to be healthier,” or “I need to figure myself out,” are all opening lines for transformational therapy or coaching. In all these situations people are saying, “I need to do something differently here, but I don’t know what yet.”
What they don’t realize is how incredibly smart and brave they already are for opening themselves up to growth. To guidance. To exploration. To understanding. It’s only then that their real journey can begin.
This sense of wanting more, and the awareness that continuing to do what you have been doing is just going to get you more of the same… that’s where it starts.
Inner Change Leads to Outer Change
The first step of any great therapy or coaching is the acknowledgement that something needs to change. (See above).
The second step is where we get to work pinpointing the current circumstances that need to be improved, or identifying exactly what’s happening in their relationships or careers that aren’t feeling good. That’s the external change where you try and do things differently. However, that alone is not enough to move the needle for most people.
Where the work — the magic, honestly — actually happens is when we start talking about what is going on inside of you that is currently supporting the results you DON’T want. Although it’s hard to believe, everything in our lives is the direct out come of all the choices we’ve made until now.
On our own, we don’t see it. We’re too close to it. We are simmering in the broth of our own feelings, judgments, automatic thoughts, and instinctive behaviors. Until we partner with someone else who can shine a light into our blind spots and help us see ourselves in a new way, we’re all destined to keep repeating our old patterns.
The truth will set you free.
Once you achieve self awareness, then everything else becomes available to you. Instead of reacting without thinking, you have choices. Instead of repeating old behaviors, you begin to act intentionally. Instead of feeling helpless or frustrated, you feel determined, hopeful, and empowered.
Before you know it, you’ve achieved a new way of being, thinking, feeling and behaving that will get you where you actually want to go in your relationships, your career, and in achieving your most important life goals.
You attain power over your life, your feelings, and your results in a way that you never thought possible before. Everything opens up, and you’re in control of not just yourself, but your future.
This is what happens. It’s what we do with our clients all day every day. But it’s still so abstract, isn’t it? It’s still hard to get a sense of what it actually looks like or feels like to be involved in meaningful personal growth work. You can read therapy reviews all day long, but that’s different than getting the inside scoop on what it actually feels like to go through it.
What Changing Your Life Actually Involves
So much of what we therapists and coaches do with our clients remains firmly behind closed doors. Because we respect the privacy of our clients (even with our reviews), we can’t peel back the hood and show you what the change process looks like for any individual. It takes a brave soul to raise their hand and say, “This is what changing my life actually was like — tell my story.”
It’s such a treasure when that happens though. We all learn from each other, and hearing how people just like us learned, changed, grew, and evolved, creates an inspirational path that we can then follow ourselves.
Today, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast that is exactly what we are doing. My dear colleague, fellow Denver therapist and online life coach Polly Drew has an inspiring story of personal transformation to share. She talks about the change process: From her first awareness that she had a problem, to how she got the motivation to start making changes, to the support and systems she needed to put into place in order to be successful in changing her life.
Polly is an incredibly wise, compassionate therapist and life coach who has helped countless people create transformation in their lives and relationships. She also practices what she preaches, and her own growth work has given her work with her clients depth, understanding, empathy, and power.
Learn how to really change your life on this episode of the podcast.
Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast
How to Start Making Positive Changes in Your Life
Music Credits: “Born to Become,” by Maya Johanna