My Six Principles Of Change
Over the past 30 years I have had many roles supporting others to create change. The hardest thing to change is often how we react to and respond and generally feel about change. If it is change we choose then there is the lovely exciting dreamy bit at the beginning when you think and perhaps talk about what you would like to have happen. For those with a great imagination you might start to visualise and imagine it as though it has already happened and many coaches and goal setting techniques suggest that you do this. That is the lovely part; your mind and body start to embrace the feeling of success and start to react as though the change has already happened.
Then there is the lovely part at the end when change has happened and you achieve your desired outcome and all the hard work proves to be worth it.
Sometimes though change is imposed on us and we have no time to dream we are in the midst of it all. And even when we did plan for it, there is often the bit in the middle between dreaming and achieving that can be quite challenging.
If the change doesn’t happen as quickly as you would have hoped, or you get exactly what you asked for but it is nothing like you imagined it in your mind, you might start to doubt yourself. Maybe others start to ask questions (because they are interested) but you start to take offense because you feel they are challenging you and they don’t believe in you. You might start to lose motivation. It is during this time that I have learned that we need a few simple principles to get us through.
Here are the 6 principles that I now adopt every time I am creating or managing myself through change.
It takes courage to admit that you need to change and even more so if you feel you’ve been trying everything you can to be the person everyone you needs you to be and still nothing works. It takes courage to be willing to try one more time and another time and another time. It takes courage to ask for help, which is often needed especially when wanting to change ourselves as we often cannot see and hear all of us.
When you know you cannot give up you have to be able to tap into your own resource of courage. Where does courage come from for you?
Courage works in harmony with curiosity. When you have courage you can and will look at yourself. You will ask questions that make you feel uncomfortable at times because you know that curiosity is the only way to expand your current thinking. Your willingness to ask and be asked questions you don’t know the answer to can and will give you access to new information. Learning to ask and be asked questions, then listen without judgment, can sometimes challenge the current status quo. Your ability to be curious and fascinated at the patterns and processes can provide you with access to internal resources and tools.
What is happening to curiosity now?
Chatting with purpose
Change can be uncomfortable, frustrating and it can create all kinds of emotional triggers. During this time it is easy to either withdraw or to get stuck in the cycle of venting your frustrations.
Whilst talking can be, and is, therapeutic for some, in time even we get fed up of the same old story and we can drive people away when we fail to chat with the purpose of feeling better, getting clarity or simply noticing and sharing the smallest of change.
When you talk are you really listening to yourself? Are you paying attention to how you feel before, during and after? Is it working for you? Is it working for the person listening? Is it assisting and serving the process of change? If it is then nothing needs to change. However if you notice you are chatting and it lacks purpose and you feel worse and potentially emotionally drained after it then it is worth changing the focus and reason for chatting.
Start chatting with the purpose of truly listening to yourself; noticing patterns; noticing what is happening inside and out and more importantly noticing change. Even if there is only one small change for a nano second notice it and talk about it. Give the change, the what is working and what is improving, as much air time as you did frustration.
If you find it hard to notice change then ask a friend to notice what is improving and be willing to listen, really listen and notice what they notice.
If you are someone that often keeps things to yourself, then you might want to be mindful of the chatting in your own head and experiment and notice what happens when you chat out loud to yourself or someone else.
Consider what kind of chatting is happening now? What is working about that chatting?
Sometimes we say all the right things, we ask all the right questions, we keep quiet and we look like it is all going well on the outside but inside we can be having a very different conversation and our emotional buttons can be pushed. Having the courage to go within and truly listen to your own inner thoughts and emotional responses with the purpose of communicating what is happening for you and what you would like to have happen does take courage. It requires questions that focus your attention on identifying what is happening, what is working about that and what is not working.
The more I practice this, the more I catch the very thing that is stopping me. I might say out loud one thing but then inside there is another commentary. It can often be very quiet and almost a whisper at times, so I have to really listen. I might say outside I am fine, but inside I am struggling. When you have courage and curiosity what happens is that the inside and outside become more aligned, especially when you are with people who make it safe to speak, safe for you to express your unprocessed thoughts with the purpose of gaining clarity and confidence in your next best step.
What is happening to conscious thinking? Are you aware of your thoughts and are they the same or different to what you portray outside?
This is a big one. Once you start on a journey of change, progress will be made. Even when you discover that something you were doing isn’t working, that is progress. You now know what doesn’t work for you.
The trouble is that when we are unhappy we tend to talk about and get our whole system involved in the frustration. We might cry, shout or simply clench our fists. We might scrunch our nose up or shrug our shoulders. We seem more adapt and willing to use our whole body to complain and yet not so keen for the celebrations. Unless you are a sports person. They are very happy to cheer and shake their fists.
Learning to get your whole system involved when even the littlest thing is going well can and will embed the change and impact your performance. Next time something goes well, try telling as many people as you do when things are going wrong or try talking about is for as long as you did the problem. If you are not one to talk to others and you keep it to yourself, still give it equal opportunity and never underestimate the impact of a good fist punch or happy dance. Which is just enhanced when done with a friend, once you have the courage to get out of your own way.
Peer support without peer pressure. There is nothing quite a like a peer support network that have got your back and notice the change when you don’t, good or bad. Peer support that will ask questions, will celebrate with you and will hold space when you are sick of trying again but they know you will.
Sometimes you just need to vent and other times you need someone else to remind you to look back and forth to remind you where you are going and where you have come from.
Being an entrepreneur is not easy, and with so much advise and controversial marketing, it is easy to lose sight of what you want, what works for you and lose faith in your decision making process which in turn makes change more difficult.
I hope you have found this article useful and would love our comments below.
Founder of Step by Step Listening, Sheryl Andrews has always been keen to create space where other people felt safe to speak their truth no matter what that was. She is well known for her ability to motivate, manage and mentor others through change and loves nothing more than helping others feel heard understood and of value by training them in the art of non-judgmental listening and practical ways to turn overwhelm and frustration into a clarity and confidence.
At Step by Step Listening we are not always the right support and sometimes the first step is understanding what you want; what you don’t want and what kind of resource or support you need right now.
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