How to Take Small, Scary Steps Toward Change

Mar 01, 2022
blog cover image of an athlete running stairs

Every day we’re faced with a million little choices. And every once in a while, we’re faced with a big, life-altering one. The choice to go to college, to move to that place, to try out for that team, to quit your job (you get the picture).

For many of you, that big life-altering choice was whether or not to join the Mindset Coach Academy and take steps toward becoming a Certified Mindset Coach.

As I welcome my new students into The MCA, I can’t help but think of all the folks that thought about joining but couldn’t quite pull the trigger. If you’ve felt a pull towards mindset coaching, chances are that didn’t just go away overnight.

The good news with any big life altering choice is that you get to choose. You get to choose if this is the end or the beginning. If this is a “No” or a “No, and…”

If you feel a pull towards mindset coaching or something else that feels a little scary, here’s what I hope you don’t do: I hope you don’t press pause on this. I hope you don’t go on with your life, and this time next year find yourself in the same situation, unable to make a different decision or a decision at all.

Here’s what I hope you do: I hope you take small actions right now to grow yourself toward that place. To explore it and see if it’s worth pursuing for you. So that when next year rolls around, you feel empowered to make a firm, informed, and thoughtful decision one way or another.

And that’s what this blog is all about; the importance of action, how your brain self-sabotages, and 4 ways to take small, scary steps toward change.


What Happens When You're About to Take Action?

Your brain loves routine.

So much so that when you think about doing anything out of the ordinary, alarms go off and your fight or flight reflex is triggered.

Why? Because your brain is wired for survival. It tells you that because you survived yesterday, you should repeat that same routine over and over again so that you continue to survive.

So when you are faced with any decision that requires a change to your routine, it can feel scary, overwhelming, and unsafe. And that’s when your brain gets to work trying to convince you to not take action. The thing is, your brain can’t just tell you, “This is unsafe!” because logically you know that it isn’t. So, it comes up with masterful plans to keep you stagnant by sending you sneaky, subtle messages that feel logical.

If you find yourself actively looking for reasons not to do something because the thought of it makes your heart race, that’s a good sign that your brain is trying to sabotage something that’s important to you.

Because your resistance to taking action is directly proportionate to its importance in your life.

Next time you think about doing anything big like pursuing a new career or anything small like having a tough conversation, pay attention to the ways resistance manifests in your thoughts through:

  • Procrastination - Thoughts that tell you that you won’t be ready until conditions change.
  • Limiting Thoughts - Thoughts that tell you that you won’t be ready until you change.


Procrastination and Over-Planning

Athletes and high-performing people have learned to recognize a lot of the signs of procrastination. But one that tends to fall under the radar is procrastination through over-planning.

So many of us get stuck in the planning stage as a way of delaying action while convincing ourselves that we are taking action.

I’ll give you some examples:

  • The business owner who is stressed that they're not getting any clients, yet spends a month working on their website and business cards instead of calling leads.
  • The entrepreneur who goes back to college for years only to learn what real world experience would have taught them in 6 months.
  • The wannabe world-famous musician, dancer, or comedian who spends all their time perfecting their set and no time performing.

It’s so easy to use planning as an excuse because it’s really safe. And even though passive action, like making business cards and furthering your education all have their place, it’s important to recognize when you’re using these things as a means of procrastination.


Limiting Thoughts and Self-Sabotage

We all have limiting thoughts, even those of us who have taken big, bold steps and overcome challenges. I work with tough, driven people every day and their limiting thoughts are so incredibly subtle it can be hard even for me to see them. But they are there, whispering in your ear, convincing you that not taking action is the smart, morally sound, logical thing to do.

I’ll give you some examples:

  • The aspiring mindset coach who wants to join The MCA but convinces themselves not to because they don’t have a background in marketing or business planning.
  • The mom who wants to launch her career but tells herself it’s selfish to want more and the responsible thing to do is to spend that time/money/energy on her family.
  • The athlete who wants to try out for the team but self-defeats, telling themselves that other athletes are more talented/strong/experienced than they are.

When you think about your big goals, what limiting thoughts come to mind?


4 Small Steps Towards Change

If you’ve made it this far, you know that your brain doesn’t always have your best interests at heart. To recap, when you’re about to take any action that is important to you, resistance may manifest in the form of procrastination and/or limiting thoughts.

But the good news is, there are several mental training tools that will help you rewire your thoughts to work for you rather than against you.


1. Try it Out with One Client

If you were interested in joining The Mindset Coach Academy but don’t have any experience mindset coaching, you might wonder if the dream matches the reality.

A great way to find out is to start small with The Mindset Coaching Toolkit! This free downloadable workbook will give you everything you need to work with your first client and includes scripts to guide you through your first session.

You can use this workbook with an individual or host a presentation at the gym, work, your kids team, etc. By trying out mindset coaching you can both make an impact on your community and get a feel for what it’s like to be a mindset coach


2. Identify (and Train) Your Thoughts

In Confronting the Thoughts That Keep You Small, we give you a free downloadable worksheet to help you identify your limiting thoughts so that you can work to change them.

This process can feel uncomfortable but this kind of deep, inner work is absolutely necessary if you want to reclaim power over your thoughts and get one step closer to change.

Once you’ve identified your limiting thoughts, you’ll be able to name them and change them. And the single most powerful way to do that is through visualization.

Visualization is a mental rehearsal that allows you to practice taking a big, bold action without actually doing it. It allows you to experience your success before it happens which builds your belief that what you want is attainable, rewarding, and not all that scary.

Here are a couple ways to start visualizing: Check out our blog, You’ve Got To See It To Achieve It: A Beginner’s Guide to Visualization, and download our guided visualization titled, Tap Into Your Power here.


3. Join a Like-Minded Community

Get involved with the industry as a volunteer or fellow enthusiast. From social media, to meetup groups and communities in your area, like-minded people are at your fingertips.

Joining a like-minded community is a great way to build connections in the industry, learn from others, and recognize opportunities in front of you.

If you’re interested in Mindset Coaching, join us on our Positive Performance Mental Training for Coaches Facebook Group where we discuss all things mindset.


4. Job Shadow a Professional

If you already know and respect someone in the industry, ask if you can spend a day with them! Job shadow and ask them questions as they go about their day. By learning about the pros and cons of their job, how they got where they are, and the types of people they work with, you’ll gain an inside understanding of a day-in-the-life.



Whether it’s a small step or a big leap, taking action of any kind is uncomfortable. But the more time you spend in discomfort, the more you’ll acclimate to discomfort. The more you prove to yourself that you can do small, scary things, the more the big things won’t seem quite so scary.

Joining a community, job shadowing, working with your first client, and doing the work to get your mind right can all feel a little overwhelming. But small actions like this are absolutely vital to growth.

So if your big dreams feel out of reach right now, remember that it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. You CAN grow yourself in small ways toward change.

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