Moving On…To What You
by Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.
Whether life hands you a bucket of stuff that you’re
anxious to get rid of, or you find yourself sitting on
life’s sidelines but longing for something more, the
dilemma is the same. How do we get the push we need to
It’s that old approach-avoidance thing that keeps
us stuck. Our hearts say, "Go," but our feet
won’t move. Our friends say, "Move" and we
dig in our heels. One foot firmly placed in what we
know; the other poised to take us to what we truly
desire. It all seems so simple, intellectually. We want
something different, so why don’t we just move forward
with all the gusto we can muster? As a psychologist and
coach specializing in life transitions, I have seen two
primary roadblocks to moving on: resistance and fear.
"Resistance," you’re probably thinking,
"what planet is she from? You bet I’m resistant.
Who wants to lose a mate, get fired, and get diagnosed
with hypertension?" Or perhaps you find yourself in
some other equally uncomfortable place. So what’s
resistance got to do with moving on or drowning in
Imagine you are standing by the ocean’s edge. For
balance, you dig your heels into the sand. But each new
wave just knocks you down. Finally the undertow drags
you out to sea. If you try swimming back against the
tide, you’ll exhaust yourself and drown. If you do as
water safety experts tell us--swim parallel to shore
until the powerful current subsides--you’ll likely
survive. Therein lies the first secret to moving on…don’t
waste energy resisting what is beyond your control.
It is impossible to move in two directions at the
same time. As long as you fight against what you don’t
want, you will make no progress toward what you desire.
So, consider this. The next time you experience a
loss, face real disappointment, or have a streak of bad
luck, by all means kick and scream and whine and weep…for
while. You hate the fact that this or that happened. You
expected things to go along as they had before. It’s
okay to ask, "Why me?" or "Why can’t my
life just be the way it was?" For a while. Then it’s
time to shift gears and start accepting what is. You may
be feeling that your situation is unfair, but in
reality, it just is. So instead of railing
against what is, try to embrace any good that might be
hidden in it. Have you learned something? Did someone
else benefit? Have you received love and concern? Has it
strengthened your faith? Once you have mourned your
loss, and acknowledged any good, shift your focus to
what you want next. If you’re sick, how do you want to
feel? If you’re sad, what change would make you happy?
If you’re angry, what would open your heart again?
Facing forward, squaring your shoulders to the future,
envision all that your soul desires. Allow yourself to
dream again…of how you want to feel, who you want to
share your life with, where you want to live, what you
want to contribute, and when you want to move on. Then,
you’ll just have to get your feet to follow your
I mentioned that the second common roadblock to
moving on to what’s best for you next is fear…fear
of failure, fear of success, fear of not being loved,
fear of not being enough.
Fear of the unknown--anything outside of our comfort
zone- is universally human. It is exquisitely normal to
be afraid. But it need not be immobilizing. For the
courage to walk with your fears in the direction of your
dreams, you might have to change your mind--or your
thoughts. Change all thoughts to empowering ones. Ask
not "Why me?" Ask, "What can I do to
reach my goals?" Change any mindset of "I can’t"
to a mindset of "I can if I ___." Just as when
you climbed the high diving board as a child, gave a
first speech in college, got married, decided to be a
parent, or interviewed for a dream job, you will find
the strength to face this and any future challenges.
Change any overly independent thoughts such as "I’ll
handle this alone" to "I have many sources of
help, if I simply ask." Shift any catastrophizing
thoughts such as "This is THE worst thing that
could happen to me" to "I’ve handled other
challenges in my life, and I’m sure I’ll survive
The secret to moving on is to simply keep moving…one
thought, one step, and one day at a time.
© Copyright 2004 Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D. All rights
Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.,
is a life-balance expert, author, and national lecturer. Through her writing, coaching, and seminars, she helps individuals and work teams reach their full potential. With a personal mission to nurture growth, she supports practices that lead to energy, empowerment, and the realization of meaningful goals.
Suzanne’s books include Teams At Work: 7 Keys To Success (Tower Hill Press, 1997), The Participative Leader (McGraw Hill, 1995), Create A Life That Tickles Your Soul (Tower Hill Press, 1999) available in paperback as well as
hardcover, and her newest, Recharge In Minutes (Tower
Hill Press, 2003). All are available online and from major retailers.
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