How to overcome your resistance to change

What are some of the things you are walking away from right now because you do not think they can happen?

Steffan Surdek
May 16, 2022
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In my own leadership journey, it wasn’t until I began to truly work on myself that I was able to understand what it meant to resist change. At that time I also saw the impact it had on the people around me.

You may know what I mean if you are thinking about doing some personal development work. You may find it interesting, but your plate is already full. Maybe you even feel you do not really need to do any kind of work at all and you are doing fine.

As humans, many of us naturally resist change. When you are trying something new, you need someone to convince you to commit to this. In this article, we will explain how you can feel more empowered to overcome your resistance to change.

The real reason why you resist change

Let's start with debunking some of the reasons you may be telling yourself to resist doing the work. The most popular one is that you just do not have time for it. It might seem like a lot of effort. Maybe for you, it seems too complicated.

I have no doubt any of the above may seem true to you and it is normal to feel this way. Here is the thing, you need to want to evolve for yourself. You need to have clarity on why this is important to YOU! No one should have to convince you of anything here.

I would suggest you look a bit deeper. What is really holding you back from working on yourself? Is it a lack of time or is it a lack of knowledge of what this means and what you could do? Is it the fear of looking foolish in front of your team? Is it the fear of not getting it right the first time? Is it the fear of learning something about you that you may not like?

Shift your perspective

Think of some of the things you are walking away from right now because you don’t think they can happen. Instead of immediately giving up or avoiding them, try looking at it from a different perspective.

You want to grow as a leader. You want to achieve your goals. What is really stopping you from your own development? Nothing! If it is a course you want to take, how can you fit it into your schedule? If you want to hire a coach who might not be in your budget, what can you do to make it happen?

Sometimes, you need to show people you are willing to put some skin in the game too. Are you willing to pay for part of it? Are you willing to take unpaid vacation days? How much do you really want it? What are you willing to do to allow it to happen?

Shift your perspective and you’ll find a big shift in what you are able to achieve.

Put your time and energy on the line

In his book “Managing on the edge”, Richard Pascale defined leadership this way:

“Leadership is making happen what is not going to happen anyway.”

This statement may feel twisted at first but it is actually quite powerful. Bring this back to your own personal leadership in your life. Where are you holding back from making things happen? Where are you holding back from jumping in because everyone around you says it will never happen?

The same applies to your personal development. When you want to be able to do something for yourself, what do you need to do to make it happen? What do you need to do to free yourself from your daily obligations so that you can leave and not worry about work?

A trick to get started

The best way to find time to do personal development work is to integrate as much of it as you can in your real life activities. This way, some things may take a tad longer in your daily routine but you will see the overall benefits of doing this faster.

The biggest trap you can fall into when getting on your leadership journey is doing the work as a side project. The truth is you will never have the time for it if you think of it that way.

When I talk about real life activities, I mean you can do some of the work at home with your spouse and your kids. You can then take what you learn and apply it to the professional realm as well.


There are times you may be or will be creating your own limitations. Instead of blaming not having time or other circumstances, do you know what feels much more empowering?

Bringing responsibility back to where it belongs: in your hands! When you go from cannot to will not you are not blaming circumstances. It becomes clearer that you have the power to make a choice to achieve the thing you want.

As a leader, you also have a responsibility to the people around you to invest in your own development. If you want to help your team grow, you need to be doing things to help yourself grow and be a better leader.

Investing in your personal development will encourage your team members to do so as well. When they see you doing it, they may ask you how they, too, can do some of the personal work you are doing. It's a virtuous circle.

What are you doing to help yourself grow, become a better leader and a better person? How are you making it possible for yourself to do this kind of work on yourself?