How to Change
Happy New Year friends!
With all the talk about resolutions and change, I wanted to take a few minutes to touch base with you. Our cerebral selves complicate change immensely, but I think in the final analysis, the process contains just three components:
A thought: Without this, there is nothing. Things are simply what they are with no quality or judgment. Getting underneath and really examining what you're thinking is powerful. Sometimes it's painful too. But it's okay. A thought by itself is nothing-it has no mass or power. The only charge a thought has is the meaning we ascribe to it.
"Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in." ~Alan Alda
From a thought, we take action. For example, a thought like, "I can't take this job anymore," either drives a person to make a change-as in, find a new job-or simply becomes a woeful mantra played over and over again.
No action=no change. Same, same.
"Action is eloquence." ~William Shakespeare
In taking the first step toward change, we create momentum. And at this juncture, the first step can be quite small. In the example above, the first step might be committing to more professional networking or a casual chat with the boss about other opportunities within the company. Think small here. Then do something. (See quote above.)
So once you've completed that first small step, take a minute to check in with yourself. How'd it go?
Results: Now it's time to evaluate the quality of that momentum. How does the movement feel? Exciting? Daunting? Risky? Just observe your feelings as feedback. Does the result of your action feel warmer (closer) or colder (farther away) from what you desire? Do you feel energized from the step you've taken? Depleted? Scared? Remember, it's all feedback. And it's usually frightening to take steps you've never taken before. You can be afraid and still move forward. See what's on the other side of that discomfort. Most things aren't as momentous as we have concocted in our minds.
"Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
If we can consider change more of a playful exercise, how would we experience it differently? Would we be kinder to ourselves? To others?
Give it a go and let me know your results. And here's to more kindness, to and for everyone, in 2013.
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personal development and Equus coach, former Penn State journalism instructor and professional writer.