The secret to creating real change in your life

Image: Eric Koelma 

By Eric Koelma | Dare List Dad

Everyone in life has an opportunity. It's called life.

So let's start with some questions about your life.

- What would you find if you took an objective step back and looked at the life story that you're writing? 

- If you could look at the things you do from day to day, or week to week, what would you find there? 

- Would you be proud of the story being written? Would you even read it? Or is that story BORING?

- If something needs to be shifted in that story, what are you doing to write the next chapter? What are you doing to change the story?

- Are you creating real change in your life? Or are you just going with the flow and never thinking about it?

You can put a positive slant on it and say "well I'm happy with 70% of it". Good for you. But if that's your approach, it'll never change.

Because it's much harder to say "you know what, that 30% there... that stuff sucks. I want to change that. I need to make a change, even if it hurts"

Now some of you will read that and go "oh, this guy wants to be like one of those motivational speaker guys"

Catch yourself. I had to.

That's your brain re-wiring back to comfort. I'm not trying to be a motivational speaker. I need this as much as you do. Because we're wired to seek comfort. Our brains go for the lazy option. So we need to shift it and train it not to. We need to train it to run INTO the wind.

You are defined by more than just your job title. You are defined by more than just what you do. It's about who you are.

And if who you are is incongruent with how you act, then it's time to start acting with self-congruence again.

There's No Value in Not Changing

One year from now, 5 years, 10 years, 40 years from now you're not going to care about what emails you cleared from your inbox.

You're not going to care about what product you sold in that retail job of yours.

You're not going to care about your score in Words with Friends.

These things won't matter to your life.

So if you have even an inkling of a feeling that you've got relationships that matter more, that you've got a greater purpose, that you simply want to enjoy life more than you do now. If you get up in the morning reluctantly for ANY reason... it's time to make a change.

It's time to painfully put that reluctance under the microscope.

Call it out

Bring it to the front and say "Enough is enough. I want that 30%, that 10%, that ONE thing... GONE.

Success takes effort.

When was the last time you heard of someone who changed the world from behind the desk of an office cubicle without making any extra effort?

Success takes effort.​

And 99% of it is in your head.

I'm not saying we all need to be world-changing leaders. But I'm also saying don't resign yourself to something so simple as what you've got right now. We need to be leaders of change in our own little world. Our minds. And shift the story we create for ourselves before we can start to even think about changing it for someone else. Let's not defer responsibility here.

I listened to the negative inner voice for far too long

I let that doubtful little voice in my head take control way too many times. It's that one that crops its ugly head right when you're looking for the motivation and before you move into action, says:

"it might not work"

"I'll look like an idiot if it doesn't work"

"I can't prove that business idea"

"I can't let down these people I work with"

"I can't afford that"

Nothing (externally) makes you weak or disadvantaged. YOU make you weak or disadvantaged. Because it starts in your head.

Nothing (externally) makes you weak or disadvantaged. YOU make you weak or disadvantaged. Because it starts in your head.

Click to Tweet

This is me after riding up Alpe D'Huez (one of the biggest climbs of the Tour De France) on a flat-bar hybrid bike with a baby seat in 2017. I could have easily stayed home and said "well I don't have a road bike". Stuff that!

These are the questions that circled in my head, and here's my answers to them now

"It might not work"

Well it also might work. But even if it doesn't... so what? Try something else. Ask someone else. Can you do it with the tools you've got anyway (see image above!)?

"I'll look like an idiot if it doesn't work"

Strive to be so damn authentic that you don't care if you look like an idiot. In fact, welcome it. It's a much better way to approach life. Because authenticity makes you flourish and so if that means someone else thinks you're an idiot, then (1) you're doing something right; and (2) you can't control their opinion.

"I can't prove that business idea"

You also can't disprove an idea without trying it! So surely it's better to test the waters. Ask a test audience. Create a prototype. Ask what you could fix. Ask what would be valuable to them.

"I can't let down these people I work with"

People won't be let down. They'll get it. It will be uncomfortable for all of you. That's called change. You can't live for everyone else. If you don't let them down, you'll just keep letting yourself down, being inauthentic, and letting them down because you're not being 100% you anyway.

"I can't afford that"

Switch the conversation to "how can I afford that or make it work?". Got no actual money? You don't need to pay your mind to come up with an idea. And you don't need money to get started on change either. If it's a business idea, make a joint venture. Raise funds elsewhere.

You are not disadvantaged

Right now you have an internet connection. You're on this website, so I can guarantee that.

That's more than you'll ever need to make a change. Right now you have access to unimaginable amounts of knowledge to dig you out of this.

You are a complex being with the capability to think freely and act on it. And to create something. There is nothing stopping you from walking into your garage and hammering in a nail (except if it's currently midnight or something - but you get the point).

No one is holding you back from creating something.

There's nothing holding you back from putting together that business idea you've got. If you're sitting there saying "you know what the world really needs..."

Go and make it. Please.

It's going to take work. This is us recording videos at 1am in Penang.

Because you know what? If you don't make it someone else will. And the only difference between you and them is the fact that they took action.

Now they may not have taken action in one hit. They may have done it progressively over time. And so can you. If you can even write one sentence to start that next project, you're making progress.

And that builds momentum.

Momentum = progress x consistency

Importantly, that's not action x consistency. Because you can be taking action and be 'busy' and not getting anywhere. So it's progress. Real, tangible, goal oriented progress in the right direction.

You do not need to quit what you're doing to get started on that new goal

You might work 9-5 and that's tiring. I get it. I was there too. You might need to cook, and clean, and put kids to bed and that's tiring. But you know what? It doesn't take much to stay up for 15 minutes and make progress. It doesn't take much to press the red button on the remote. To close the Facebook browser or app. I stopped watching TV in 2013 and it was one of the best decision I've ever made.

Can you write one sentence of progress today?

Everyone has time. Don't make the excuse that you don't have time. If you 'work' a 60 hour week, you've got time. You're not always working. There are gaps. Pull out your phone, speak something to yourself for later (how do you think the words for this article got created?)

Talk to yourself when you're passionate and take massive action.

Make progress.

Build momentum.

Get out of your own way.

Go and create change for yourself.

Eric Koelma

Eric is husband to Grace and Dad to Leo, exploring the world and doing everything he can to align the travel itinerary with world sporting events (hello Tour de France!). He's all logical precision and epic decision-making. Eric's also a rare kind of super-human who works best between 9pm and 2am, and still manages to get up early and chase that wilful toddler, WITHOUT coffee (he hates the stuff!)