You can’t be who you want to be and who you are at the same time.

When you look at your future, what do you see? A higher salary? A better job title? More security? When you look at where you are now, do you remember what it took to get here? Chances are, you’ve had to make a lot of changes over the years to get this far. The question is, are you ready to make the changes necessary to get to the next level?

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It makes sense, doesn’t it? How could anything in your life change if you don’t change what you’re doing? Different results require different actions.

So, why is doing the same thing over and over again such an easy trap for us all to fall into?

The truth is if you want to grow at all – in life, in love, in career – then change is inevitable. The act of growth is an act of change. Feeling resistant to change is the same thing as resisting growth. You can’t have one without the other.

Why We Resist Change

We often resist change because it’s uncomfortable. It’s hard to do something differently than you did in the past. It’s hard to say “no” to happy hour in order to go to the gym. It’s hard to confront people’s expectations of you. We are afraid of letting people down, of disappointing them. “What do you mean you don’t want more chocolate cake? It’s what we always get here!” “What do you mean you’re going to that company??!”

It’s more comfortable to stay in place. To not ruffle feathers. To not ask for the promotion. To not look for another job. To not speak up in the meeting (or speak up in the same way we have before – repeating and regurgitating the same ideas over and over again).

I get it. I was there for years. Not taking the risk I needed to take in order to grow and get to the next level in my career and life. Change is scary. Like most of us, I use to cling to the familiar. This is something we’re hard-wired to do. We seek certainty in a world full of uncertainty. And change, growth, risk – they are chalk full of uncertainty.

It’s uncomfortable. We feel like we’re losing ourselves in the process. “Who am I if not the person who goes to happy hour, stays late, and eats whatever I want?”

But when we start to be honest with ourselves, we know deep down that staying put in a life we’re unhappy with is actually more uncomfortable. And the only way to remove that discomfort is to get out of your own way.

Hone Your Skills

Besides preparing your finances and lifestyle, you’ll need to prepare your professional toolkit. Keep honing your skills and finding new ways to grow into the career you want, the position you want. Take courses, read books, talk to people who are where you want to be. Never stop learning!

Accept that You Will Be Different

Finally, accept that fact that you will be different and that’s okay. That’s actually what you want! Remember, you can’t be who you want to be and who you are at the same time.

Let’s revisit the quote above – the one that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. If you were to expect something different from your future without changing at all now, how would that difference even be possible? Yes, sometimes the status quo can feel safer than what we don’t know, even if the status quo isn’t good. But do you really want the life you live ten years from now to be exactly the same as it is today? Do you really want to be in the same job, the same financial situation, the same place?

Or do you want to grow, to prosper, to advance?

If you do, then you must change. And that doesn’t have to be bad. Change doesn’t equal negativity. It doesn’t mean you have to forfeit who you are now and everything you’ve worked to become. Change doesn’t mean you have to turn your back on the people and experiences that got you this far.

Change means you get to explore your boundaries and grow past them. It means you can learn things that will take you to the next level in your career. Change means you can break through mindsets that were keeping your rooted in fear. Change means you get to become the person you were always meant to be.

As life goes on, we have to incrementally grow, evolve, adapt. Those who stay the same, stay in the same place. Don’t let that be your story. You can’t be who you want to be and who you are at the same time. And why would you want to?