We all want to change our lives for the better—but most of us are too addicted to comfort to actually do it. Suzanne Evans explains why change means pain and highlights six comfort-seeking phrases you’ll need to erase from your vocabulary if you want to succeed.
Hoboken, NJ (February 2014)—Have you ever noticed how devoted to comfort our society is? Entire industries exist solely to make our lives easier. Self-help gurus and motivational experts tell us how to enhance our happiness and well-being. But there’s an elephant in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge: In order to move forward toward the life you really want—whether that means starting your own company, getting a big promotion, or losing 20 pounds—you have to leave your comfort zone and endure some growing pains.
“Ninety percent of people don’t want to accept that achieving their goals means pushing through pain, uncertainty, and fear,” says Suzanne Evans, author of The Way You Do Anything Is the Way You Do Everything: The Why of Why Your Business Isn’t Making More Money (Wiley, February 2014, ISBN: 978-1-118-71426-3, $22.00, www.SuzanneEvans.org). “They seem to think that if they stick with the status quo long enough, somehow they’ll magically get what they want while sidestepping all that pesky stress, change, and sacrifice.”
Evans knows firsthand that it doesn’t work that way. In just four years, she went from an unfulfilling secretarial job to founding a business-coaching firm that has surpassed the seven-figure mark and is on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies. And as her book makes abundantly clear, that didn’t happen without some serious soul searching—and the willingness to change every single detail of her life that she felt needed changing.
“There’s uninterrupted comfort, and then there’s success,” notes Evans. “You can’t hold onto both desires. You have to be willing to go to that painful place that most people automatically avoid. To get something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done. And most people just aren’t willing to be that uncomfortable.”
Are you addicted to comfort? Evans says there are six phrases that tell the tale—and clinging to them is keeping you in a success-sabotaging rut:
“Yes, but.” “Yes, I’d love to take on that project, but I’m already swamped.” “Yes, of course I want to grow my business, but I’m on a shoestring budget.” “Yes, that new software system sounds like it might help our efficiency, but I don’t even know how to utilize the one we have.” According to Evans, “yes, but” phrases are insidious because they’ll keep you stuck in your dead-end excuses while sounding completely plausible.
“Replace this phrase with ‘yes, and,’” she advises. “Keep in mind that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly to start with. Yes, you read that right. It’s okay to start at the mistake-littered bottom, as long as you keep climbing upward.”
“I quit.” When you’re trying to get ahead, quitting doesn’t usually mean an utter implosion of all your hopes and dreams. Much more often, it simply means letting go of your grip on that next rung and deciding to stay where you are on the ladder. Ergo, quitting is usually the easiest—and what we perceive to be the least painful—answer. It’s a quick solution, a return to comfort and the status quo.
“There is a huge difference between knowing that something needs to come to an end and simply quitting because you aren’t willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears that are the price of success,” says Evans. “The next time you want to utter these two words, ask yourself: Is quitting going to move me closer to my dreams? I’m willing to bet your answer will be ‘no.’ Then, do something scary—have a little faith. Have faith that if you take the next step you won’t be running right into a brick wall or falling off a cliff. There’s no need to stick to this comfortable spot you’re in right now. Bigger, better things are on the horizon.”
“I didn’t get what I needed.” “I didn’t meet the deadline because my team didn’t give me the information I requested.” “I’m already juggling 15 million balls; without some help, how am I supposed to take on any more work?” Whether you’re pointing the finger at a person, an organization, or circumstance, shifting the blame feels good. Who wouldn’t want to reduce the load sitting on his or her shoulders?
“The problem is, blame is evil,” insists Evans. “I know; I did it for years. It makes us feel better about something when we believe it isn’t our fault. It also doesn’t move us forward or change our outcomes. Remember that the one common denominator in your life is you. So instead of pointing your finger, say, ‘I am 100 percent responsible for everything that happens to me—good, bad, or in between.’”
“There isn’t enough.” Maybe you believe you don’t have enough time, money, resources, help, or something else to move forward. You’re afraid that if you go out on that limb, there won’t be any fruit—and it’ll break. So, it’s best if you just stay put. That’s a real shame, of course—but circumstances being what they are, there’s nothing you can do, right?
“Wrong,” answers Evans. “When you have a scarcity mindset, when you are working from a lack of anything, you’ll simply get more of the same. Kick your fear to the curb and reframe it by repeating, ‘Everything I need is already present. And there is more than enough.’”
“That hurt my feelings.” Your boss gives a promotion you deserve to your brownnosing but underachieving coworker. Your banker questions the wisdom of laying out your life savings to start a business. Your father pokes fun at your proposed career change. Yes, other people’s actions can be hurtful—so hurtful, in fact, that you decide to retreat back into your comfort zone where no one will react harshly to your decisions. Resist the impulse.
“Feelings are choices,” Evans explains. “When we choose to let ourselves stay in a place of hurt or negativity, we then send that energy out in a ripple effect through the world. Remember that you choose how you feel about everything. No one can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel. If you’re offended and allow that emotion to dictate your actions, you ultimately have yourself to blame for your lack of success.”
“I’m not listening.” Generally speaking, nobody likes to hear that they’re wrong, or even that there’s room for improvement. No matter how constructive it is, criticism is never fun. And rather than do the hard work of changing, many of us would rather pretend that we didn’t hear those uncomfortable suggestions in the first place.
“Even people who are voluntarily working with coaches or in professional development programs are not always willing to really do what is required, or fully listen to outside guidance,” observes Evans. “You must always remind yourself, I have chosen this person or this path for a reason, and I am willing to do what is required even if I don’t understand how right now—and even if it might make me wrong. When we step up to responsibility in all we do, we have to step into some discomfort. It’s simply the nature of growth. We have to experience pain, eliminate the need to be right, and stop being afraid of sacrifice.”
“If you want to achieve your personal and professional goals, you have to eradicate these phrases from your vocabulary and move into openness, willingness, and readiness to change—even when it’s painful,” concludes Evans. “Remember, everyone is obligated to show up, but going beyond simple participation while ignoring the pain is where the reward lies. To make the changes you want to see in your life, you have to stop talking yourself into remaining in your comfort zone. When you are willing to endure the pain of change, you can start making real progress on your big goals.”
About the Author:
Suzanne Evans is the author of The Way You Do Anything Is the Way You Do Everything: The Why of Why Your Business Isn’t Making More Money (Wiley, February 2014, ISBN: 978-1-118-71426-3, $22.00, www.SuzanneEvans.org). She is also owner and founder of SuzanneEvans.org, the “tell-it-like-it-is,” no-fluff boss of business building. She provides support, consult, and business development skills to the over 30,000 women enrolled in her wealth and business building programs. Having gone from secretary to surpassing the seven-figure mark herself in just over three years, she has made the Inc. 500/5000 list two years running, exceeding $6 million in revenue. In addition to hosting several sold-out live events a year, Suzanne recently launched the GIVE Movement Journey…a not for profit serving women worldwide in education, entrepreneurship, and equality.
But those are just the sexy facts. IF you want to know the why behind starting her own business, look no further than 2007, when while working a day job behind the scenes on Broadway, she looked over her credit card statements and realized it would take 21 years to pay off her debts. Right then and there she decided that the only way to create the life she wanted was for her to take immediate action.
Suzanne opened up shop inside of Whole Foods Market. Literally. Emboldened by her ability to get clients in what was the least likely of places (between the bananas and tomatoes), she realized that her success in business would depend on her ability to master marketing and sales, and inspire clients to “share their mess” as a pathway to getting clients and making money.
And inspire she has, growing Suzanne Evans from its humble beginnings inside a 350-square-foot apartment in Manhattan to a sprawling 4,500-square-foot office in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. As the head of a growing multi-seven-figure business, Suzanne and her team are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs heal their shame about money and creating “movements that matter.”
About the Book:
The Way You Do Anything Is the Way You Do Everything: The Why of Why Your Business Isn’t Making More Money (Wiley, February 2014, ISBN: 978-1-118-71426-3, $22.00, www.SuzanneEvans.org) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit the book’s page on www.wiley.com.