Tag Archives: personal change

4 steps to happiness …

“If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”
― Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

 

Are you living the life you want to live?   Would you like to  live a better life?

If you’re not living the life you want then what would it take to live the life you want?   What steps would you take to start living that better life?

The questions are simple.   The answers are hard.   It isn’t that the answers are necessarily difficult but it is hard to sit down and really figure out what you really want.   Often what people say they want isn’t what they really want, it just looks that way.   We can see that in the way people behave.

If you could find peace, would you find it in have more things?   Many people think having more things is what leads to greater peace and it doesn’t.   Being rich doesn’t make people happier, it just changes their problems.   For people with a lot of money it may be that they fear losing it all and being poor.    What do you think?

Back to living a happier life.   Don Miguel Ruiz has a simple formula for building a happier life.    It is four agreements, four essential components to living a better life.

1. Be impeccable with your word.       Living with and in truth in all that you do and say.    That means being truthful with others and yourself.   Imagine your internal self-talk being truthful about who you are.

2. Don’t take anything personally.    Live in your story not someone else’s story.   Reacting to others, what they say or do and allowing that to provoke anger within robs you of happiness.     The opinion others have of you is only a reflection of the world they live in, you are either challenging or confirming their perception.

3. Don’t make assumptions.   We can easily make things up.   If we don’t know what is true we make up stories that match our version of reality.   Our brains want to fill in the gaps and because we have the ability to imagine, we imagine what could be true and fill in the blanks with our interpretation.   The way to truth is through asking questions.

4. Always do your best.  Challenge yourself to do your best.   Sometimes easy isn’t always the best, it is easy to do less than the best.   Focus on your best, define your best and do your best.

What would change for you if you were able to follow those four things?   Just notice throughout the day how you live out those four statements.

1. Is your word impeccable?

2. Are you taking things personally?

3. Are you making assumptions about others,  yourself or events in your life?

4. Are you always doing your best?

Just notice, just look at yourself and reflect.   What can you do different to improve in any of those four areas.   It’s time to take charge of your life.   Living a happier life starts with you.

 

reinvention … you … your organization …

“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.’
Warren G. Bennis

Reinvent yourself.    There is no denying that the rate of change for organizations are changing fast, yet many of our processes and principles rely on methods that are old, very old in an age of exponential growth.

In many cases we are using principles and processes that were developed for the industrial age and many  of those processes are outdated.   Organizations are struggling to find their identity in a time of unprecedented change.  

The old ways are indeed the old ways.   New ways of thinking and acting are required today and certainly for the future.  Gary Hamel a leader in business thinking has some suggestions on how organizations need to change.

After looking at the model Gary Hamel explores, what do you think you need to do to keep pace in the world we live in today?  

1. Adaptability – new ideas, new methods, new processes are informing organizations and people on how to act and thrive in an ever changing world.  How adaptable are you?

2. Resilience – the ability to respond to events quickly and without becoming overly emotionally constrained.  When change occurs are you quick to respond or do you find yourself trapped in the past?

3. Outlook – what does your future look like, are you focused on the past or on what you can do today?

4. Social Intuition – I notice people their actions and emotions or people blend into the environment and I don’t notice them.   What do you notice about the people around you?   Are they visible and important or invisible and unimportant?

5. Being self-aware –  Who are you?   Do you really know the answer?  Are you open to finding out?

6. Attention –  I have the ability to put my energy into the right thing at the right time or my energy is scattered and little gets accomplished.   Where are you putting your attention?

 Organizations implement processes that support their key goals.  Anyone who is a part of an organization needs to have personal processes that support their activity in that organization.   If you are finding yourself mimicking patterns of the past and struggling to adapt to the new organizational landscape then what things do you want to change so that you can contribute to a larger measure?

Reinvention isn’t something that others or organizations do, it is something you do to respond to fast change.   Practice being more adaptable, resilient, generating a positive outlook, being aware of others, being self-aware and putting your attention into the things that are the most important.  

Practice reinventing yourself.   Here take a look at what reinvention can do in organziations.

6 stages of change

“Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts; the sight of the deep-blue sky and the clustering stars above seems to impart a quiet to the mind.” Jonathan Edwards

For many people the thought of change is something that pulls them back into the closet of darkness.  Not so much the thought of making a change but making change happen.   Change invokes fear, a kind of fear that increases stress to the point of creating anger, grief, sadness or even withdrawal.   Think about it, when was the last time you were asked to change how did it feel?

So, where does change start?  For some people change starts with someone else making a change.   That’s right someone else needs to change more than you need to change.   It sounds like “If that other person would change I would feel a lot better”, or “If they asked me first about the change I would tell them what should have been done”.     People in this early change phase are really acting like victims, unable to control themselves they desire to control others and blame others when things go wrong.   You might know some people who are constantly blaming others and circumstances for their feelings.     This phase of change is called precontemplation, a place of denial.   Why me?   “Look over there, look at that.”   Someone in precontemplation wants anything but to talk about change, especially personal change.

“I don’t know how”, or “Something is stopping me”, these people are in the stage known as contemplation and while they can acknowledge that they should change they are only thinking about change.    There is a restless energy about making a change, a feeling of unease and dissatisfaction, but not enough energy to actually start the change process.    It is almost like having packed for a trip with a planned destination but no ticket to get there.    Here they are standing at the curb, bags packed, ready and waiting to go.    Someday they will actually make the trip, it is anybody’s guess when that will happen.   Have you experienced this phase in your life?   Maybe you are there right now.

When people are ready to make a change they are putting more focus on the solution to their problem than the problem itself.   There is a marked energy increase but not enough to actually implement change.   These people are fence sitters, they are ready to jump but not quite.   This is a place where the thought of “what will happen to me” frequently enter the thought stream.   “What if it doesn’t work then what?”     People in the preparation phase may make small steps but not enough to make a real change.

Eventually the desire is greater than the pain of staying in place.   The action phase is where people make a commitment to changing their behavior.    So, in a burst of activity the individual starts taking steps and making progress towards change.    Great progress is being made and then, and then it stops.   The change has been going well but suddenly the lack of outside encouragement to push through the change is missing or disappears.   The action phase can cause burnout if there isn’t someone who can act as a cheerleader in the change process.    For those who maintain the energy to move forward change will happen.

For those who make the behavioral change and have passed that initial burst of energy required to make the change the next phase is the maintenance phase.  As important as the change is maintaining the new habit is important or it is possible that the change will reverse and the old habit will come back. You’ve probably seen this happen many times yourself.   People will go on a diet and lose a lot of weight and then before long that weight comes back.  Without a strong maintenance phase reversal is possible.

With effort and positive reinforcement people transition into the final phase or termination.  When people reach this phase the behavioral change is permanent and is the habit.

Organizations that are trying to create change need to be aware that people transition through the  phases at different rates.   It is easy for leaders who have contemplated and pushed for change to grow weary of the change effort and forget about reinforcing the change and helping people move through action to maintenance.    Organizations that fail to provide strong reinforcement programs that are positive and reassuring will end up falling back into the previous behaviors.

Too often organizations fail to realize how large some changes are and the impact change can have on its employees.   Businesses may assume that everyone is going to grab hold of the change initiative and move right into action.    Leaders or managers will be asked to ensure that the change happens quickly and if it doesn’t blame the individual contributors for not taking the change seriously.

People who are dealing with significant changes in their lives may have external events put before them that push them into the precontemplation stage.     Changes in career, life circumstances, major moves, death, illness or other high stress events push many people into the precontemplation phase.  Moving out of precontemplation requires shifting the energy towards the positive, lots of encouragement and plenty of success stories need to be used as an intrinsic motivator.

Each phase of change requires different incentives and rewards so that falling back into previous patterns can be avoided.  Again, organizations need to properly manage change as people will not all be in the same phase.  Mixing the incentives and messages to align with each stage a person is going through should be considered.

Where are you stuck?   What changes are you avoiding?   What is it costing you not to change?   What are the benefits of not changing?

The change process

1. Precontemplation

2. Contemplation

3. Preparation

4. Action

5. Maintenance

6. Termination

If change seems daunting to you, find someone who can work with you through the change.   Friends aren’t always the best people to support your change effort because of their emotional connection to you.   Try finding someone who isn’t going to judge you during the change and someone who can support you through the change.

What are you thinking about changing?   Write them down and identify each stage of change you are in.

 

For more information, read “Changing for Good”  Prochask, Norcross & Diclemente (1994)

Love is the biggest eraser there is. Love erases even the deepest imprinting because love goes deeper than anything. If your childhood imprinting was very strong, and you keep saying: “It’s their fault. I can’t change,” you stay stuck. Louise Hay

start hitting home runs

“The secret to success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” Benjamin Disraeli

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” Babe Ruth

Think about Babe Ruth’s quote for a minute, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”,   what does that say about your life.   Each day you have a chance to hit a home run and yet for many people it is another strike, another strike and another strike.   It might not seem as if there will be any days that a home run could be hit.   What if that could change?   What if you could hit more home runs than strikes?

What is a home run for you?  

Would it be,

– A better job

– Better relationships

– Financial security

– Personal Development

–  increased spirituality

– Better relationship with friends and family

Whatever it is that defines a home run for you can be improved so that the swings produce more home runs than strikes.   How?

1. Learn what it takes to create a home run for you.  (What do you need to know or do)

2. Practice (become an expert at what it takes, develop the skills)

3.  Take action (do what you have learned and practiced)

4. Go to step one and repeat.

Now that sounds simple, too easy perhaps.   What happens is that people can read the steps and maybe jot down a few or even try it for a few days and then they give up.   Hitting a home run takes more than a few days of work, it may take a few weeks of work or a few months depending on what you are working on.   It is easy to give up.   If you aren’t taking swings there is no way you can hit a home run.   Sitting there and thinking about it doesn’t get you closer to the goal.  Taking action is required.

Having a coach might help as well.  A coach will work with you to achieve those goals and provide the encouragement and support so that you don’t just give up. 

When do you want to start hitting home runs?   Why not start today!   Why wait another minute longer to start hitting those home runs?

change positively change

“Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be — because you only have one life and one chance to do all the things that you want to do.”

Britta Fiksdal  
 
 
Do you follow the crowd or does the crowd follow you?    For many people staying in the crowd provides a great deal of safety.    There are many people who would like to change but the fear of taking action to create change is too scary.
 
Barry Posner and James Kouzes wrote,  ” Challenge is the opportunity for greatness. People do their best when there is an opportunity to change how things currently stand. Maintaining the status quo facilitates mediocrity. Those who embrace this practice do not wish to rest on their laurels. They motivate others to exceed their limits and look for innovative ways to improve the organization. “
 
 
In a crowd there is a sense of safety and that is one of the most significant contributors to change resistance.   What happens when you are not in the comfort of the crowd?     It takes a high degree of confidence to step out of the crowd and go off on your own.   Personal change requires personal courage.
 
What are you doing to cultivate personal change?

 James Kotter a change expert provides eight steps for organizational change, see if they work on an individual level as well.

1. Create a sense of urgency.   (Now is the time)

2. Form a powerful coalition.  (As an individual speak with others about your own personal desire for change, or work with a coach to increase the energy around making a change)

3. Create a vision (What is it that you really want?   Create a picture of what change you desire to make).

4. Communicate your vision (Share your vision with others, keep building up the story, believe in the vision).

5. Find out what is stopping you.   (If change were easy people wouldn’t be following the crowd.  Find out what is blocking you from stepping out and taking positive action).

6. Stair step the process.   (Start small, and win small wins.  Then with confidence of success with you start building up on the small wins and creating more significant goals.  Celebrate success)

7. Build on the momentum.   (Once good success deserves another)

8. Make it stick.  (Habits are hard to change … make it positive, make it fun and make it happen … if things slide back go back to the small wins and build up again.   Keep on the positive side).

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”
Chinese Proverb