I had to take my geriatric cat to the vet. He doesn’t like being there and I was surprised to be unusually docile when the attendant weighed him and took his temperature. He remained reasonably affable during the long wait for the vet. However, when he entered the room, everything changed.
The 15-year-old feline, who has lost all but one of his teeth and about a third of his body weight, escaped the attendant’s clutches and made it to the door. There, he fought off all attempts to catch him and put him back on the exam table. He hoisted. Hey, he spat. He crushed. He howled. They could hear it down the street! It took two strong people, one wearing elbow-length protective gloves and the other wearing a large towel, to catch this sick old man and put him on the table. The assistant had to use her entire body to immobilize him long enough for the vet to draw blood.
Then it took the two of them four minutes to get him into his carrier so I could take him home. Nobody was going to tell him what to do!
So what does this have to do with personal change in humans? I was talking to a fellow coach in one of a series of conversations about people resisting moving forward. As we talked about clients and resistance, the image of that cat came to mind, crouched in a corner, ready to kill anyone who tried to move it. I thought about the patrons struggling kicking and screaming and what it took to get a little movement.
How fiercely we can fight to maintain the status quo. Even when resistance becomes futile and the effort exhausting, we continue to fight change. And how exhausting for anyone trying to help!
The next time a wonderful opportunity presents itself, try an anger management technique. Stop and breathe. Before you start spitting, hissing, and jumping at the opportunity, stop and wait for your heart and head to sync up. Reach out, even tentatively. Explore a bit. There’s still time to fall back or regroup or do whatever you need to, but keep in mind that sometimes it’s better to get out of your corner fighting your way forward than fighting to stay put.