On the cost of avoidance

When we think about going for what we want, reaching for our dreams, moving towards our goals, we usually think about the benefits:

What will I get from fulfilling this project?

What will be the rewards?

What will be the Return On Investment (or the Ripple Of Impact) of this project?

Yet, one thing we tend to forget, is to look at the cost of not undertaking this project, this venture, this adventure.

What is the cost of staying where we are?

What is the cost of the stalemate, the status-quo?

What is the cost of not taking that step, or making that leap?

An Invitation

Two years ago, a great coach and a friend invited me to join him for a neo-shamanic retreat in Spain. In our conversation, he said:

“I know you are going to join me in July for this retreat.”

I knew that was true.

I prepared like I had not prepared for anything in a long time. I looked at the logistics, and prepared spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

This retreat changed my life.

It opened my eyes to the possibility of moving to Barcelona and starting over.

Indeed, I was not feeling fulfillment in the city I was living in in the Paris area.

When I came back, I decided to move out, and a couple of months later, I was in Barcelona.

I wouldn’t recommend that to anybody else. It was a very unsettling move. Home is very important for me and it was sometimes nerve wrecking to leave once again and being living a nomadic lifestyle.

Yet, the cost of staying where I was, was too high.

I was paying a high price for settling in an OK place where I did not feel comfortable to allow my Soul to come fully alive.

True stories

A client came to see me because he feels stuck in his job. As a successful software engineer, he doesn’t enjoy his current role and each morning he is overwhelmed by thoughts about what else he could do.

The trap is that his current job pays him very well, so the relative cost of quitting is high.

I sent him resources about materials he could look at to start opening his mind to new possibilities.

One thing he might not see is the cost he is paying for staying where he is at:

Anxiety, stress, recurring negative emotions.

Another client is a Co-Director of a company having a high positive impact in the field of Participatory Democracy. A few years ago, she reached out for support in order to show up and improve her relationships with her two fellow Co-Directors, reclaim her time and priorities, and help her teams develop and grow without exhausting herself in the process.

What she maybe couldn’t see, but could only feel experientially before we started working together was the cost of her not doing the inner work necessary:

  • Feeling exhausted, sometimes on the verge of burning out.
  • Being in a state of doubting: “Do I still want to do this?”
  • Having challenges to balance out professional commitments and family life. (She used to work a lot on weekends, and her family was missing her. Today, she rarely works on weekends and sets very clear boundaries. She is becoming a Time Master).

I helped her step into her leadership, and her team has grown to include talents that she could not have imagined before, taking on projects at a whole new scale with European institutions, and her partnership with her fellow Co-Directors has taken a new turn to create the next stage of growth of their company.

We all pay the cost of avoidance

There is always a cost for avoiding to do something.

How about you, what is a project/dream/goal that you have been putting off for a while?

What is the cost that you are paying for by avoiding to do it?

What is the mental cost? (i.e. How much of your thinking time is taken up by recurring thoughts on this topic for you)

What is the emotional cost? (How much negative emotions does this bring you on a regular basis?)

What is the physical cost? (Are you feeling any pain or discomfort in your body? Could that be related to avoiding to take that step?)

As an example, a friend who lived in San Francisco for several years started to have physical challenges, pain and went to a holistic practitioner. During the session, they found out that the body was reacting very negatively to the environment my friend was living in, and that she needed to transition to a much more peaceful place. She had wanted to move to the island of Maui, in Hawaii for a while, and once she did, the pain subsided and she could take time to heal in depth.

What is the spiritual cost ? (How much is your Soul calling for something else? To break of it’s current shell? How long have you started to hear the call?)

What is the social cost ? (What is the current quality of your relationships on a scale from 1-10 (with your friends, family, co-workers and colleagues, peers) ?)

Once you make a transition that is more aligned with the next step in your evolution, the quality of your relationships will improve.

What is the financial cost of staying where you are?

What are the insights that you received by reading this article and answering these questions?

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