I’d be a millionaire if I had a dollar for every time someone looked me in the eye and said those words in the last ten years.
While some fear the slightest wobble in the axle that holds their world together, I thrive on change. I am constantly looking for ways not to improve but to move on from what I have already experienced.
My life is a storybook of change. From business lawyer, life coach, and author to Camino guide living in over four different countries, I love to feel my world wobble from time to time. I could go through a long list of small changes, but it wouldn’t make a difference. My jobs and the places I’ve lived speak for themselves.
What is the alternative? Living a static life built on the past experiences that keep us safe. What is safe? When you think about it. What is sure about staying the same? What if we are here to change and grow, again not to improve but to grow and blossom in ways we never thought possible? To challenge ourselves through new hobbies, new friends, new ideas, or routines. Even picking up a book by another author is one way to make a change.
Living a life full of change does not mean you have to lose stability. Security and stability are entirely different concepts. Stability can be achieved by taking care of the basics of life. Safety is staying in your comfort zone and being afraid of everything new.
How do you know if you are playing safe? Being safe is the same as living a balanced life. Boredom, apathy, anxiety, and depression follow.
Don’t be afraid of change, my friends. Don’t be scared to hold on to your hat and sail into the breeze of the unknown, whether you choose a new hobby, book, job, or home. I know one thing for sure. I will not regret living life to the fullest when this life is over.
Earlier this week, I posted a picture on the Kamiwaza Podcast Instagram page of a caterpillar and a butterfly drinking coffee at a table.
The caterpillar says to the butterfly, “You have changed.”
The butterfly replies, “We are meant to.”
We are meant to adapt, change and move on to new things. It doesn’t mean you’re broken, unfocused, or disengaged; it simply means that as we grow and gain more experience, it’s best to learn from those experiences and take new paths.
I had an introductory self-defense session with a brand-new student yesterday. I’ve done countless intros over the past eleven years. Private sessions, semi-private sessions, large groups, you name it, and I’ve done it.
Still, this session was completely different from any previous one. I approached it in another way than I had back and left the session feeling excellent about the connection I made with the student and his level of understanding of what I wanted him to get out of the session.
It’s a fantastic feeling.
But the funny thing is, I’ve had that feeling before—many times.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked away from a session and thought, “That was the best formula for a one-hour session…hell yeah…internal self-high five!”.
Looking back now, with the experience I have right now in my life, I wouldn’t feel the same way about those sessions from years past. I would argue that I said some very wrong things. I didn’t say any essential items.
But that doesn’t mean I was terrible or wasted these meetings. It simply means that I have changed.
I know a lot more now than I did then. I have had countless more hours of experience teaching and working with students than I had then.
Too often, we see change as scary or even sometimes evil. We don’t realize that it’s okay to grow out of old habits or routines and out of past relationships.
In the same breath, we often look back on these past experiences, now through this new lens, and criticize them. Or even look down on them. We fail to recognize that these past experiences that we have now grown past or “over” are the exact reason we are where we are now.
Life is a process. Dare I say an aspiration? (shameless marketing)
We should move forward, and to do that means we must leave things behind and change.
In my industry (self-defense and fitness), if you teach the same things you taught 2+ years ago, it is not a testament to your methods but a direct reflection of your inability to grow.
The fundamental values and concepts may be accurate, but the methods, the signals, the approaches, the exercises, and the experiences should constantly evolve.
The greatest minds are always looking for ways to improve.
Don’t be stagnant because you’re afraid of change or feel pressured by people to stay who you are or worse; you think you’ve already “made it” and can’t improve.
Change your story.
Stop the bullshit.
Learn. Try new things. Fail. Grow up.
In the meantime, appreciate where you’ve been and how it led you to where you are, but keep moving forward.
Be good, train hard, and be safe.