1.6 Active or Passive?

Think of any change that’s happened in your life.

You started at a new school. A new job. A new partnership. You moved to a new town. You broke up with someone. You became a parent, or maybe you buried a parent.

Each of these events was challenging, but you learnt from it. You acquired insights and got stronger. You were more ready to accept other challenges.

Change makes us more flexible, more versatile. There’s a saying: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger.’

So while you may be trying to avoid change, it IS good for you.

If you’re in difficulties, dealing with a problem, it can be hard to see what life on the other side will look like. And we often prefer the safety of what we know.

If you’re reluctant to make a change, is it because there’s something going on inside your brain? Perhaps you want to stay small? Maybe you want to be reliant on someone else?

Perhaps you prefer getting instructions from someone else, because it’s less tiring than having to take responsibility?

But it’s more likely that you’ve internalised the ‘little me’ feeling. Maybe the thought of change is overwhelming. Or perhaps you can’t see the way through. If so, that’s OK. This book is here to help.

When someone finishes one of my courses – or even before they start it –  they sometimes ask me ‘What course can I do after this one?’ That’s despite them signing up for a course that shows them specifically how to become a dog walker, a copywriter, or an interior designer.  

And I say to them, ‘You won’t need to do another course. This one tells you everything you need to know. So, go do what it says.’

But sometimes their mindset is stopping them from achieving success or change.   

If you do that, you’ll have to create a ‘bias for action’ mindset.  It’s the habit to taking action, and not being afraid to take decisions. It’s seeking a solution whenever you see a problem.

What I’m saying is, too many people read a self-help book, or listen to a podcast, and then don’t take action. I want you to be the exception.

‘Change’ versus ‘Being changed’

And there’s a saying, which is partly true: ‘People don’t mind change; but they don’t like being changed’. We’re happier with change that we instigate but we hate finding ourselves on the receiving end.

This saying reflects the fact that some change is external – it’s forced upon us, such as being made redundant, our partner deciding to leave, or the death of a loved one. But external change teaches us about life, it adds to our store of knowledge, and it makes us more flexible because we’ve had to adapt. 

So if your partner dumps you, or you get fired from your job, that’s hard to take. It’s difficult to see what the benefits might be. But people often find a new partner who’s more suited to them. Or they find a job that’s better than the previous one.

Dylan Thomas was right

He said, ‘Don’t go quietly into the night’. And ‘Rage against the dying of the light’. He meant, ‘Don’t stop living. Don’t give up’.

We should take that to heart. We shouldn’t accept life as we’re given it. It’s up to us to say ‘No’ when we need to.

He was talking about death. But it applies to all aspects of life. You don’t have to give in.

Do you want help with achieving change in your life? We have a coaching programme that could help you. Learn more.

1.5 Types of change

There are several types of change. Each one of them helps will you.

Some types of change are the sort we look forward to with pleasure, such as going on holiday.

 Other types fill us with anxiety, such as the need to pass our driving test.

But they all have one thing in common – they strengthen us. Here are some of the benefits

Change takes us out of rut, and can even be exciting. It requires us to adopt new behaviours or learn new skills. Technology keeps changing, and thus people’s actions do as well. When Covid swept the world, people got used to remote meetings using Zoom or Teams.

If your life is unsatisfactory, change will ensure it doesn’t last forever. You won’t stay unfulfilled or unhappy. Change can help you. Sometimes it’s a matter of moving on or moving forward.

Change helps us focus. It tells us what is wrong with some aspect of our life, and makes us think about how to fix it.

The big change in your life becomes a turning point. You can look back, see what you did, and reflect that although the change was difficult, you achieved it, and your life is better now.

The two main types of change

There are two main types of change: voluntary and enforced. Voluntary changes are the ones you initiate, while Enforced change is what someone else does that then affects you.

Voluntary change is affected by a variety of factors: the number of people involved, the costs of change, the time needed, and the number of steps involved.

The number of people involved

Let’s start with the number of people. The more people affected by your change, the more complex the change and the longer it takes to implement:

  • Only you (change your hairstyle)
  • You and your partner (a decision to get married)
  • You, your partner and your children (moving house)
  • You and outside experts (a lawyer or a web designer)

The costs involved

Cost is also a factor The higher the cost, the more challenging it is to make the decision.

  • Little or no cost (a changed hairstyle)
  • Moderate cost (setting up a side gig)
  • Massive cost (becoming a commercial property developer)

Time needed to complete the change

And then there’s the time taken to make the change. The longer the time frame to reach the outcome, the more likely you are to avoid making a decision.

  • Instant (give up alcohol)
  • A few weeks (change your diet)
  • A year or more (writing a book)

Number of steps involved

Some changes require more steps than others. The more steps, the harder it is to be decisive.

Only one step (break up by email)

Very few steps (enrol on an online course)

Many separate steps (change your job)

Enforced Change

There are two types of enforced change:

Change we can do something about. Car breakdown. Redundancy. Your lover walks out.

Change we have no control over. War in a foreign country. Death of a loved one.

This is known as the ‘Circles of Control’. We talk about this later in the book. But in a nutshell, there is no point in focussing on things that you have no control over. It’s wasted energy.

Do you want help with achieving change in your life? We have a coaching programme that could help you. Learn more.

The people and things that hold you back


Self-doubt plays a part in stopping you having Agency. But it’s only part of the problem.

The world about you is conspiring to hold you back.

Your friends (yes), your parents, your children and your boss.

It’s the TV channels, and the ever so cunning TV commercials.

It’s the unfair ways society is structured.

Unless you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth, life is conspiring to hold you back.

Too many ‘gurus’ say lack of confidence is holding you back. They will give you tips for boosting your self confidence. And with that, they say, you will succeed. There’s an element of truth about that. Lack of confidence holds us back.

But lack of confidence is only the current state of mind. It doesn’t look at what has caused that. And it’s not the only factor.

There are people and systems that militate against you succeeding. And repeated encounters with those people and systems will reinforce your lack of self belief.

So on this site and in the book I’m going to look at the people and systems that are keeping you down.

Some gurus will tell you to find strength inside yourself, and that it’s easy to blame others. But the truth is, your lack of agency, lack of self belief, is caused by outside factors. And until you can identify them, you can’t prosper.

In the world of voodoo, people stick pins in dolls that represent their enemies. And while that is supposed to cause their enemies pain, it also psychologically reduces their hold over you. I’m not suggesting you stick pins in dolls, but releasing others’ hold over you is a mighty powerful tool.


Let’s look at the people and things that have a hold over you:

The people:

  • Your parents
  • Your siblings
  • Your friends
  • Your work colleagues
  • Your boss or bosses
  • Your spouse or partner

You past experiences:

  • Your experiences at school

And the systems that control you:

  • Your gender (unless you’re male)
  • Your colour (unless you’re white)
  • Your class (unless middle or upper-midddle class)
  • Your place of birth (unless you’re from an affluent or middle class area).

George Bernard Shaw said, ‘A Englishman only has to open his mouth for another Englishman to despise him’, and it’s true. The same discrimination applies to people of colour, to women, the disabled, and people from ‘the provinces’. 

Across the medieval world, men were buried with weapons, while women were buried with their necklaces and brooches. Some attitudes to women haven’t changed much over the years.

You need to find out who and what is manipulating you; and how to regain control over your life. And lack of Agency is something I see all the time – people who don’t take the necessary action to change their lives for the better.


Want to know more?

These ideas are taken from my forthcoming book, Get Up and Go.

If you’d like a free, no-obligation chat, click the button below. It takes you to our phone call booking system.

Talk to us in confidence



Do you want help with achieving change in your life? We have a coaching programme that could help you. Learn more.

1.3 Your new Magic Word

I want to introduce you to your new magic word: ‘Agency’.

Agency is ‘the ability to take responsibility for your own life.’ It’s your ability to take action.

For anyone wanting to make a big change in their life, Agency is set to become an important word in your dictionary.

Here’s a small example of Agency. The local council installed new street lights. They were dazzlingly bright. So I emailed the council’s ‘street lights department’ and complained. I pointed out they shone into people’s rooms, hindered sleep, and discouraged wildlife especially bats. The council has now said they will put shades on them to reduce the glare. It was a small act on my part, and a small win. Maybe when the council puts up new lights elsewhere it will take into wildlife into account? But the point is, it takes someone with Agency for this to happen.

Agency is about changing the bad things in your life. You don’t let other people get away with bad behaviour. Need to tell your mother an honest truth? Go do it. It’s also about making good things happen. You want a better job? Make it happen.

Agency means taking decisions, rather than letting other people make them for you.

It’s about having ‘get up and go’.

Exercise: Agency

On each of the columns in the table below, circle the word that most applies to you.

You’ll see this table again at the end of the book. When you’ve finished this book, I will ask you to do the exercise again. By then you will have attained greater agency.

Lack AgencyHave Agency
Someone else will fix the problemI will fix the problem
They won’t let meI can do that
They’re in chargeI’m in charge
I don’t know what to doI’ll find out what to do
I’m not a strong personI’m strong enough
I’ll have a think about that.Here’s my solution
I’m overwhelmedI’ll offload some of my overwhelm
I’ve too many things on my plateI’ll fix the most important thing.
Stay quietPush back
DaydreamMake it happen

Are you tied down?

Tom Ziglar, son of the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, talks about people being tethered to the ground like a balloon.

He imagines each of the ropes as a bad habit or a limiting belief. Some of the ropes are things people have told you, and you’ve internalised them. They’ve said you’re ‘not the kind of person’ who makes a change, or who sets out on their own path. And you believe them.

As Ziglar says, you can (if you choose) bravely look over the edge of the balloon, cut each rope, and as you do so say ‘I don’t need this belief. I don’t have to accept it. I’m going to cut myself free’. And when you cut each rope, you’ll bob higher.       

You’ll need a sharp knife, because those ropes are strong. Don’t underestimate the effort it will take. Sharpen that knife. Make those cuts. Be strong.

Do you want help with achieving change in your life? We have a coaching programme that could help you. Learn more.

1.2 Examples of Big Change

Let’s take a quick look at the big changes people want to make. They’ll help you zero in on your particular need.

The issues range from the simple (keeping a goldfish) to the really dramatic. Let’s have a look.

Change your job

If you dread Monday morning, or have a boss who breathes down your neck, you should be looking for another job. Tidy your CV and set up notifications on Indeed.com or your favourite job board.

Change your career

It’s easy to fall into a career that we never intended to, whether because your parents said it was sensible, or because someone offered you a job. If what you do doesn’t inspire you, it’s time to think more widely about what your ideal career would look like, and start making plans.

Go travelling

If you don’t have dependants, you could be going to exotic places; and it needn’t cost a fortune. Seeing how people live in other parts of the world is always unforgettable, especially if you travel cheaply, such as going by bus. Even if you have children and need to travel locally, camping out or spending a few days by the sea can refresh your life.

Find a partner

Some of us are so busy we don’t find time for romance. But it’s good to have someone to share experiences with. So, if you lack a partner, now is the time to get a good dating app and widen your circle of local friends.

Get a more suitable partner

If your partner isn’t responsive to your needs, isn’t caring, or has selfish ways, you should let them know, and discuss it in a grow-up way. But if they don’t change, and you’re aren’t getting any closer, maybe it’s time for a change. Worse still, if they are abusive or controlling, it’s definitely time to leave.

Have a baby

Are you at the right stage of life for children? Are you ready for the complete change of lifestyle that comes with it? If so, now is the time to discuss it with your partner and make plans. As more couples delay the decision due to carer and money needs, it can get harder to conceive.

Get a pet

We’re a nation of pet lovers. They reduce your stress and give you a whole new outlook on life. But they tie you down, some more than others. If you like to go on holiday or travel for work, you’ll need to find someone to manage the pet when you’re away.

Change your friends

You are the average of the five people you’re closest to. And if they have a negative outlook, or don’t live life to the full, they will reduce your opportunities. If so, seek new friends by getting more involved in your community. Try joining a reading club, a knitting circle, a men’s shed, or a local history group.

Write your autobiography

With 25-year old celebrities writing (or ghost writing) their autobiography, why not write your own. It will be a precious gift for those who come after you. It will also help you reflect on your life, think about your future, and if you keep it private you can tell it about the bad things that have happened to you.

Keep a diary

We talk later in the book about how a diary helps you review each day. Some people find a gratitude diary helps them develop a positive mindset. So, apart from being a change in itself, it can help you make other changes in your life.

Write a book

60% of Brits want to write a book and and 81% of Americans feel them have a book in them. Most of them want to write a novel. And why not? Today it’s easy to get your book published – just put it on Kindle.

Get more active

If you’re developing a tummy or a ‘dad bod’, you may decide to get fit. Maybe the gym works for you? Or active walks. Experts talk about building activity into your life, by taking the stairs rather than the lift, and getting off the bus one stop before yours.

Eat better

Changing your diet can have a big impact on your appearance and your longevity. It starts with cutting out the take aways, the biscuits, the pastry covered foods, and the sugary drinks. None of this is news. There is plenty of advice on the internet.

Change your image

If you always wear the same clothes and have the same hairstyle, a new look could be the start of a new you. It might make others see you in a new light, rather than taking you for granted. And it’s one way to avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Get more sleep

Sleep has an important effect on how effective you are in the day. But one in three adults don’t get enough. Some of us go to bed and then flick through Instagram or Facebook. Others stay up late watching TV. Do you need to set yourself a target time to turn the lights out? And do you have a sleep app?

 Set up a side gig

Maybe you have an interest you could turn into an income stream? A side gig could let you earn money on the side, without having to abandon your livelihood. And who knows, it could turn into something big.

Change house

Sometimes we have to change house, for example if we have to move jobs. But it can be a voluntary move, too. Perhaps your existing town or city is uninteresting or too noisy? And if you like where you live, maybe the house is too small, or not close to schools or parks? If so, start to research where your dream home would be.

Give up alcohol

Alcohol can be relaxing, but for some it’s also a bad habit. Drinking every day is probably bad for your liver and may impair your sleep. Dry January is popular, but you can decide to cut down at anytime, or even give up permanently.

Watch less television

As a nation we watch a huge amount of television, especially if you include the time spent watching it on tablets and laptops. Being more discerning can reduce the time you spend, and perhaps give you a better TV experience.

Cut down on social media

We’re learning that Instagram can be bad for your self-image, while Facebook can absorb huge amounts of time. Are there better things you could be doing?

Learn something new

Ever thought about keeping bees, learning how to build your own furniture or discovering practical mechanics? Or how about learning Spanish or Italian? Classes can be quite informal, and may help you make friends. It also keeps your brain sharp, and gives you a new interest in life.


Volunteering helps us focus on people less fortunate than ourselves, which will improve your mental health and banish depression. True happiness comes from the feeling of being useful and helping others. There’s a charity for every kind of interest. You could even set up your own.

What’s the One Big Change you need to make?

1. Choose only one item, and mark it in the middle column.

2. Then in the end column, tick any items that will help you achieve your One Big Change.

The Big ChangeTick here – but choose only one!Tick here for any changes that will support your One big Change
Change your job  
Change your career  
Go travelling  
Find a partner  
Get a more suitable partner  
Have a baby  
Get a pet  
Change your friends  
Write your autobiography  
Keep a diary  
Write a book  
Get more active  
Eat better  
Change your image  
Get more sleep  
Set up a side gig  
Change house  
Give up alcohol  
Watch less television  
Cut down on social media  
Learn something new  
Other (write it here)        

Did I omit your One Big Change? Email me at KitSadgrove@gmail.com. If I get enough requests I may add it here.

Do you want help with achieving change in your life? We have a coaching programme that could help you. Learn more.

1.1 What change are you seeking?

Dissatisfaction lurks inside every one of us. We feel there has to be something better out there. A better job, a nicer partner or a smarter place to live.

Maybe you have a burning ambition to be a standup comedian, a rally driver or a teacher? Maybe you feel you’re wasted, doing what you do?

Three out of four people around the globe want to make a significant change in their life, according to Ipsos.

One in twenty people in Britain is “extremely unhappy” in their relationship. With 16 million couples married or living together in Britain that means more than a million people are in a bad relationship. A further 3.5% are “fairly unhappy”, so that’s another half a million couples.

Meanwhile an Australian survey asked university students about their parents. It classified 22% of the mothers and 14% of the fathers as ‘toxic’. That’s a lot of unhappiness.

60% of British people say the job they most want is to be an author. 81%, according to another survey, want to be a writer. 54% want to be a librarian and 51% would love to be an academic.

On the other hand, If you’re a miner, a call centre worker, or a traffic warden – rest assured, hardly anyone wants to take your place.

Want a better work/life balance? So do 56% of the population, while 50% want a higher salary.

What makes you unhappy?

In this book I set out to help you identify and resolve your dissatisfaction.

What’s the One Big Change you need to make? And note that it’s only one change; because if you try to change several things at once you’ll succeed with none of them. Or, more likely, you’ll achieve some minor changes but not the one really important one.

We’ll start by looking at what’s troubling you. It could be the relationship with your partner, your siblings or parents. It could be your friends, your work colleagues or your boss. It might be your job.

Alternatively you might want to go self employed, or become a writer. Maybe you chafe for travel, or change where you live?

Many of us know what we need to do, but we don’t get around to achieving it. There are lots of reasons for that. We procrastinate. We’re afraid of failure. We don’t believe in ourselves.

Having enrolled over 10,000 adult learners in courses designed to get them into self-employment or a new job, I see this all the time. And it’s really frustrating. And that’s why I wrote this book – to help you succeed in making the change you want.

I’ve amassed a great toolkit, and an even better structure to help you achieve your life change. By the end of this book you will have started to make that change.

Free Bonus Download And to help you succeed, please download the One Big Change Worksheet. Print it out and put it somewhere you’ll see it daily. It will help you focus on the steps you need to take. It’s here: