When your work is to create change, there are two possible obstacles on your way.
The one people see most often is the other.
The less visible one is the stories they tell themselves.
Maybe it’s the culture of finding satisfaction in doing the hard work and defining hard work as overcoming visible difficulties. The most visible ones are to seek to change someone else, someone who has a different worldview, doesn’t think that he needs your service or is busy paying attention elsewhere. Overcoming these difficulties then feels like winning or being right. An additional bonus is the risk to fail which helped to feel courageous.
These are well-understood stories. They are an opportunity to be seen as heroes.
A different approach could be to do the hard work of connecting with others, learning to know who they are, what their dreams are. Seeking to understand their need or want. Gaining the ability to describe their worldview. Being able to use their point of view to see how from there they are right to believe what they believe. It’s hard work because it takes time and doesn’t come with a map showing how to do it. It’s emotional labor because it means to be genuinely interested in the other and shifting the focus away from us to others. It’s challenging because it goes against the popular belief of how to be successful. It can also create anxiety when it feels that the decision to agree is out of control and in the hands of someone else.
Stories people tell themselves are so ingrained that they feel like reality. If you don’t know better, changing them might feel like having been less than perfect.
The questions now are: What is perfect? What is courageous?