You could add to the list any behavior or belief that you would like to release. Things like resentment, impatience, hatred, sarcasm, defensiveness, complaining and so on. The single most important thing is recognizing what you would like to change. Other important questions are: Why do you want to change this? What will being successful in changing that behavior, emotion or value mean to you? How can you measure the change? Who can role model the change? Who will you get to recognize and reinforce your success? Who can you trust to let you know when you miss the mark, in a positive, growth oriented fashion? Why do you behave, or think this way?
Deconstructing this into a series steps means thinking about why this is important. Motivational guru, Tony Robbins, talks about this in terms of getting leverage on yourself. They say that you can move the world with a lever and a strategically placed fulcrum. And that is what you need to think about. There are so many things that we might think that we want to change about ourselves. Which are superficial and really just daydreams? And which are the things that you are willing to risk time energy, and the reality that there will be many opportunities to learn from delayed success.
It is important to think about this in terms of delayed success. Anything that you wish to change about yourself will only come about through repeated effort, and repeated learning opportunities. One more thing to think about. When choosing something to change, make sure that you are trying to change something about yourself and not trying to change the behavior of others. In the end we are only successful at modifying our own behavior, and while I intensely dislike to speak in terms of failure (preferring delayed success), trying to change someone else will almost certainly result in failure.
So you have figured out what you want to change, think about why you want to change this. What will this change do for you? One of the most important things that I have learned on my journey is: Wherever you go, there you are. Thank you Jon Kabat-Zinn, for titling one of your books with that quote. It is powerful, at least for me. It grounds me in the sense that I am responsible for who shows up, when I show up – 100% of the time. Whatever happens, I control my response – well at least some of the time.
Who do you know that exemplifies this new behavior? They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Find your role model, tell them how much you appreciate the particular qualities that you admire in them. Ask them about what has shaped their life in this area. There are a number of benefits to this strategy and if you choose this person wisely, little downside. The benefits include deepening a relationship, an added level of insight about your desired changed state, and a potential opportunity to have someone who is successful, in a definition of success that is important to you, coach you on your journey. The down side includes possibly choosing the wrong person to emulate, a small possibility that they might take your admiration the wrong way and if you have really not done your homework some potential for ridicule. Please do not let this deter you, just do your homework, and if you cannot pick a role model that you can interact with, choose a person that personifies this attribute from history or today’s world and study them.
Support and Feedback
It is important that we create mechanisms that will reinforce our success in our desired changes as well as pointing out (in a kind way) situations where we have additional room to grow. You do have to go out on a limb here. But you know what? You are not going out that far. The people that you are most likely to choose for these assignments already have a clue about whatever it is that you want to change about yourself. They are likely to appreciate the fact that you trust them enough to share the goal and your desire to receive their feedback. Now this is really important. Thank them when they catch you doing something right. Now this is really, really important. Thank them twice as hard when they catch you in delayed success mode. It is not always easy to give someone feedback about something they want to change when they are experiencing delayed success. You must give them permission to do this and value them for their hard work as well.
There is a strategy that I like to help facilitate the change. If I can figure out why I behave the way the way that I do, and if I can tie to it an event, I like to write it down on a piece of paper and then burn that. The symbolism works for me. Turning whatever is driving the behavior into ash helps it to lose its power over me. It is at this point that I am able to begin the journey. I will experience success and delayed success. It is all ok. As soon as I recognize that I am in delayed success mode, I can begin the process of letting the breeze carry my seed puffs away.
What could you do if? If you could experience pain, anger, sorrow, jealousy, for an instant and let it go with the wind, the way a strong breeze carries downy seed puffs to distant acres?