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Issue #27: Onions and the Fear of Change: A Journey of Personal Growth

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If one day I realise that I actually like onions I’ll never admit it to you – I’m that committed” 

 

I’ve got a story for you today.

 

About Onions.

 

Motherfucking onions.

 

I was 26 at the time – and for as long as I could remember, I had not just disliked onions, I hated them.

 

I had spent a lifetime picking them out of my food.

 

Complaining to my mum. Trying to convince her why she should leave them out of recipes.

 

Endless conversations. people loved to talk about it.

 

I had my argument down to three points – pretty fucking compelling ones, I thought (still think, actually):

 

1. Onions make you cry – that is nature giving us an obvious sign not to eat them

 

2. Eating onions makes your breath smell bad – evolutionarily that’s a weak play to attract a mate

 

3. If my Black Labrador that will eat ANYTHING at any time will not eat onions, I mean, well, clearly they’re not to be eaten

 

Beat that.

 

Game. Set. Match.

 

Then my partner spoke up – who was morbidly fascinated with this onion thing and enjoyed asking all the ways in which SURELY I hadn’t thought of; caramelised onion tarts featuring heavily in this line of questioning.

 

She said some words that would turn out to be quite influential in my life.

 

(Kind of) Jokingly she said, “Maybe I’ll start pureeing up onions and put them in your food and you won’t even know and then you’ll end up liking them!”

 

To which I replied with my own fateful line: “If one day I realise that I actually like onions I’ll never admit it”.

 

With so much venom. Certainly determination and conviction, too.

 

Like, I was serious.

 

It was in the moment of speaking those words that I realised “Holy shit, I am stubborn. I am really committed to not changing something so fucking meaningless.”

 

I knew I needed to take a little look at that.

 

Would I really deny myself something that I could possibly like just to not be wrong, just to stick to an opinion formed at a young age?

 

Nothing drastic changed in an instant, mind. It was the start of some important introspection.

 

However, that is one of THE days that I started to examine my relationship to change.

 

And more so, my relationship to the fear of change and all of my insecurities that were running so much of my life.

 

You might have experienced your own version of this – where you avoid change because of a cozy sounding reason and justification. Which usually translates better to “who the fuck knows why”.

 

This was me and now I have also personally coached hundreds of men through a relationship to change that no longer serves them.

 

And it has led to me to an unavoidable realisation…

 

The biggest cockblock for most guys is when it comes to making significant, foundational, and meaningful change in their lives…?

 

Fear of change itself.

 

Fear of what that change might ask of you, of what you need to let go of. Who you need to become.

 

Fear of the unknown – a fear and belief that you won’t be able to handle what comes on the other side of the unknown.

Fear of the unknown will bring up all of your unaddressed shit.

 

So, let’s take a look at one of the common ways ‘fear of change’ plays out for us:

 

Not doing things we know we need to do, should do or are good for us.

 

This is what I’m going to dive into today.

 

 

FEAR OF CHANGE

 

Why the hell we would do something like invest money into courses and programs and experts to facilitate and create change and then not actually do the work involved or take on board the content, advice, experience of those people you have invested in

 

Why would we invest time into things that are important to us, then not actually do them, or implement the lessons, or apply ourselves to the things we know are good for us that we need and want to do?

 

Sounds fucking crazy, when you think about it, doesn’t it?

 

“I’ll see the benefit and value in something, invest my money/time/energy into it, then NOT do the thing.”

 

Here are a few thoughts and some loving straight talk for those who feel hit by this.

 

It is very human to fear change while simultaneously wanting it very badly.

 

Change means we can escape what is currently not working for us, what is causing suffering and what is unpleasant.

 

However, change also means stepping into the UNKNOWN.

 

Which means choosing to let go of what is familiar. Even though familiar might be frustrating as fuck to you and those people you really fucking care about – familiar seems safe.

 

But it’s not.

 

Safety is not self-abandonment, self-denial, or self-delusion.

 

Safety is being safe in yourself.

 

That means being able to let go of what is familiar and step into the unknown, into possibility, despite the fear, doubt, and very likely raging voices in your head yelling that it’s a bad idea.

 

It’s not.

Change is where life lives. Possibility.

 

Our work is to notice the fear of change continually and to speak to the little boy inside of us still getting to the edge and fearfully saying “FUCK ME THAT IS NOT SAFE. TURN BACK NOW!”

 

Because that little guy is running your life in those moments (maybe more) and will continue to run your life until you take charge, take responsibility for reassuring him/you – instead of seeking it out in the world with your every action of busyness, ‘success’, productivity, and achievement – and ground yourself in an action that your future self actually needs and is crying out for.

 

And so too, I imagine, are some people in your life.

 

Change is also daunting because it asks us to let die some of the old parts of us that no longer serve us.

 

It asks us to let go of identities that might not be working but feel familiar.

 

And so, many of us won’t take action on the things we know are good for us, the things that will bring about positive change for the good, on the people and advice and content we invest in – that we know is the medicine for us.

 

Why? 

 

Change would then leave us completely unsure as to who we are if we’re not all the stories and identities we have placed so much on (even though they might be frustrating AF).

 

“If I’m not my struggle and fight, and busyness and constant strive for achievement,who am I?” – that mentality says “Fuck it, I’ll stay where I am because without that I’ll have nothing to stand on.”

 

But what you’ll have to stand on is the MAN YOU BECOME.

 

Fear of change also spikes our deepest insecurities (which all of the above is about, too) because it can look at ‘succeeding’ and becoming something new from the lens of the guy who has historically low self-worth, who doesn’t feel like he is capable of living a great life, who doesn’t feel like he deserves it, who feels like life just has to be hard and shit for him – it looks at change and success as being a wildly vulnerable place.

 

A place from which he can be cut down, that can be taken away from him.

 

That’s the kind of “fear of success” you might have heard.

 

It has a deeply held belief that says “I am not capable nor worthy of success, therefore, if I get there I will be a fraud and it can all be taken away from me when I am found out”.

 

As such, that man will avoid change even though it seems glaringly obvious that it will be good for him.

All of this to say a few things:

 

It doesn’t matter who you are, what your story is, what shit has gone down in your life – we are all the same.

 

All the guys I work with that are stepping into the work, into action, into DEEPLY UNCOMFORTABLE action and showing up and sharing their journey and their shit in community with like-minded men – are in the same boat as youBut they are choosing to step DESPITE the fear and all their shit still talking to them.

 

Some loving straight talk…

 

You are capable of doing hard things and risking judgement.

 

And you’ll continue to show yourself as much when you go – never before.

 

Go anyway.

 

Change is always asking us to GROW – and growth is asking us to let go of something that is keeping us at the level we’re at. That means a severing of something; a belief, an identity, a relationship, a job, a cosy as fuck set of justifications as to why things should stay the same.

 

Growth, therefore, has an asking price – let go of one thing and step up and into a new thing – this new level must be done from a place of being unsure, otherwise, it wouldn’t be growth.

 

Shit or get off the potty; Don’t ‘kind of’ convince yourself you want to change and are creating it simply by purchasing something, or watching something, even reading a book or listening to 3456 podcasts. Do something.

 

If you are sitting on the sidelines of growth or something you have invested in, if ‘life’ and all your other very important projects keep getting in the way, let me be frank – they will always get in the way because you are in denial of what truly matters and what you need to do to change this.

 

You get to use these excuses – yes, excuses – to hide behind and be a victim to so you can make it feel more comfortable when you choose to change or not.

 

The justifications become ‘things out of your control’ – which, of course, is total bullshit.

 

You are in control of your life.

 

Every moment is a new moment to make a new choice.

 

Choose.

Change requires confrontation of some sort. Confronting our edges, our fears and our limitations require courage.

 

Stepping into the unknown is a confrontation. It requires courage – to let go of what feels safe in the possibility of something new.

 

We can’t know everything coming and feel completely safe to take the step because that isn’t change. There’s no courage there. No confrontation. No change.

What happened with me and onions?

 

Oh yeah – well, I allowed myself to explore how I was so rigid in my beliefs and stories about life and myself that I was willing to ignore new data just to stay put and not have to change.

 

I saw that I was missing out on a lot of life because I was actually scared of what the unknown might have in store for me.

 

I was able to start stepping into new uncomfortable experiences – embracing change and growing trust in myself.

 

Onions facilitated this. So I have a new appreciation for them.

 

I still don’t really eat them. I will use them in cooking.

 

They’re ok.

 

In conclusion:

Change is simply asking you to recognise that you are human and to embrace it like an old friend. Because it is your lifelong companion. You can either fight it and go to your grave having fought a pointless battle your entire life, or you can befriend it and see what wonderful adventures you can go on together.

 

The choice is yours NOW and always. And me and my coaching program and community are here to support you with that if you feel called to it.

 

– Mike