Change is hard: it requires discipline, it takes energy, it is painful, it takes hard work, it never lasts, it is no fun..... Have you ever heard any of these? Better yet, have you ever told yourself any of these?
While it is true that the human organism loves homeostasis (a state of stability and balance), it's a total myth that change has to be hard. In fact, through our experience of coaching tens of thousands of executives, I would argue that when we make change a chore, it rarely happens and even more rarely lasts. The problem isn't in the changes you want to make; it's in the resistance and the lack of alignment that your new behaviors have with your current self-image.
As you have heard many times from us at Tignum, most human beings operate off of their default self-image. This self-image has been given to you by your parents, your culture, your societal norms, your religion, your group of friends, your... you name it... With this self-image, your brain aligns your behaviors to make this default true, even though you didn’t purposefully or consciously design it. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t take any discipline, extra work, or pain; it just happens. What if you could use this same approach, habitual pattern, and effortless thinking to actually be better? You can.
When you purposefully and consciously design your self-image, everything changes. You are no longer imprisoned by other’s views. Instead, you are empowered to grow, expand, and become who you truly want to be. When the vision of success is clear, your brain will naturally help you align your behaviors to get you to that vision. For this reason, it's critical that you create the right vision of success (self-image) for you to be your best and implement the change(s) you want.
Once the destination is clear, the next step to making effortless change is to get rid of the goals, the guilt, the shame, the accountability, and the self-talk of the discipline you don’t have or the failures you have had before. Instead, you simply ask yourself, “What choices do I need to make today to become the person that I purposefully created and want to become?” This is exactly what your brain has been doing your entire life anyway; it just might have been taking you somewhere that you didn't want to go.
Over the years, it has fascinated me how many our clients have changed their behaviors, their habits, and their impact by aligning their choices with the self-image they consciously created. Of course, creating your self-image, consistently reminding yourself of who you want to be, asking yourself what choices you want to make, and reflecting on what choices you did make requires some effort, but it's probably less than you think. Most importantly, it's actually fun effort rather than painful effort because the reward you get is the greatest reward there is for a human being - you get to be in control of creating a better you.
As always, I would love to hear what you think.
By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer