Be Faithful in Small Things – Wednesday

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies Mother Teresa

If there’s one piece of advice that I could offer any aspiring creative, it’s this. Develop a habit of consistently doing something. It doesn’t matter what it is, how small or how big it is.

  • It can be as simple as going for a walk or meditating for 2 minutes.
  • It can be as hardcore as writing 1000 words a day or going for a 5-mile run.

The power of consistency is profound and underrated. It can help you overcome a lack of natural talent, and allow you to focus on the process instead of the prize.

If you can learn to do something consistently, you’ll tap into a much greater superpower than the habit itself: the belief that you’re completely capable of changing your behavior.

Once you’re capable of changing your behavior, you’ll be capable of making massive changes because little things done repeatedly lead to big changes in our lives.

1. Inconsistency Squanders Your Creative Potential

There are few things that will kill your confidence and your ability to succeed in a creative career or any creative endeavor for that matter, like inconsistency. I’ve seen incredibly talented people amount to a fraction of what they’re capable of solely because they are so inconsistent with what they do. They start something new frequently, but never actually finish anything.

A few years ago a friend of mine who is a highly paid corporate employee told me about his plans to start a business. He already had clients lined up waiting to actually pay him. In the years since, he mentioned this business to me. He’s spent a year attempting to design a website, setup an email address and design a business card. Given his salary, he could have easily hired someone to do this. The only thing he hasn’t done is start the business.

On the flip side, I have a friend who was in high school band with me. His first two entrepreneurial ventures failed miserably. So he got a job at a startup. The startup hired a full-time life coach to motivate and inspire employees. He told the coach that he wanted to help small businesses with data and analytics. He had no clients waiting to pay him. He contacted me and asked if he could show us what he had in mind using our podcast download data. 24 hours after we gave him access, he delivered an in-depth detailed dashboard. I was blown away by it. When I called him, he simply said: “I don’t fool around.”

So what’s the difference between these two friends of mine? The second one is in the habit of consistently trying even if it means failing a few times. It’s almost impossible for people to take you seriously if you’re inconsistent.

On the flip side, the pattern I’ve noticed over and over in people who have successful creative careers is consistency.

If you create media, the sustained attention of an audience requires consistency. Think about your favorite TV shows. If they aired on different times and days every month, you’d never form the habit of watching the show. If you want to benefit from exercise or learn a new skill it requires consistency.

  • By the time Ryan Holiday submits a manuscript for one book, he’s usually submitted a proposal and sold the next one. Consistency has enabled him to write 3 books in 3 years.
  • Seth Godin has published a blog post every day for more than 10 years. The results of his consistency speak for themselves.
  • We release new episodes of the Unmistakable Creative every Monday and Wednesday and we have for more than 5 years. Barring a natural disaster, World War 3, or my death, there’s always an episode.

Doing a little consistently is always going to be more effective than doing a lot inconsistently. And this holds true across any positive behavior or goal we’re attempting to achieve.

Now let’s talk about why consistency is so powerful.

1. Consistency Creates Momentum

If you ask me how to write a book, it’s simple but not easy. Write a little bit every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the mood, feeling inspired or having a bad day. What matters ultimately is that you’re in the habit of showing up and trying.

Momentum is based on the idea that an object in motion stays in motion.

  • This is why it’s more effective to write 200 words every day than it is to write 1000 words once a week
  • This is why we’re better off practicing an instrument for 15 minutes every day than we are an hour once a week.

When we’re consistent with anything that we do, we stay in motion. When we stay in motion we gather momentum, which is the lifeblood of any startup or creative endeavor.

2. Consistency Increases Your Willpower

I eat the same breakfast every single day: bulletproof coffee, eggs, and bacon. I do this because the first three hours of my day are the most valuable to me. I don’t want to waste my willpower figuring out what I want to eat for breakfast. Whether it’s eating the same breakfast, a daily ritual or keystone habit, having something that you do every single day actually reduces decision fatigue and increases your willpower.

3. Consistency Helps Turn Habits into a Part of Your Identity

I never have to put “write 1000 words” down on my to-do list or calendar, even though I do make it a point to block out writing time each morning. Because I’ve done it so much, it’s a part of my identity. This is what James Clear refers to as identity-based habit formation. Whatever you’re doing goes from being an item on your to-do list to a part of who you are.

4. Consistency Amplifies Skill Level

When I surf or snowboard for multiple days in a row, my skill level appears to increase almost exponentially. By the last day I’m taking risks that I wouldn’t have taken before, making waves I would have missed, and flying down parts of the mountain that I would have hesitated on just a few days prior. When we do something consistently, the process of myelination occurs.

“When we go through some struggle to learn a new instrument, learn a new language, learn a new behavior, we then forge a new neural pathway. The more we work on that new behavior and move through discomfort, the myelination process occurs. Think about an electrical wire that has a coating on it. Myelin takes that new behavior and neural pathway and takes it from dial-up to broadband”- Christine Comaford

The result is a significant increase in your skill level. With consistency, we move from a place of conscious incompetence to unconscious competence.

5. The Myth of Superhuman Discipline

One of the misperceptions we have about people who write about productivity and habits is that they have super human discipline. But this is far from true. As my friend Ben Austin says, we tend to write about these things precisely because we struggle with them. The truth is that almost nobody has superhuman discipline. Despite how much I value deep work and getting work done, there are days when I screw up and waste my day checking email, facebook, and twitter. The discipline to do something on a consistent basis is a learned skill. It’s a lifelong work in progress that that requires constant iteration and experimentation.

Many of the bloggers that started their blogs when I did are no longer around. Some of them had a great deal of natural writing talent. The reason they’re not around or relevant anymore is simple: They were inconsistent with their efforts and never finished what they started. If there’s anything I attribute to my most significant creative accomplishments, it’s a pattern of consistency.

Look back on hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted, and countless conversations, if there’s one thing that sets apart peak performers from everyone else, it’s consistency.

If you want to change your life, start by changing your behavior, and make the new behavior something you follow through on consistently.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://medium.com/the-mission/the-profound-power-of-consistency-3f1a361bb8fd

 

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Change Only Happens From The Inside Out

If you’re searching for the key to success, look inside yourself Unknown

“I think I’m done with therapy!” I told my therapist, outpouring my pent-up frustration. “It seems that all this talking and introspection is useless. Four years of continuous work and I’m still unsatisfied and constantly disappointed!”

And so I kept on rambling. “What’s the point of it all? I’m finally married to someone I love, after getting out of an unhappy marriage. I shifted to a career that I’m actually passionate about. I moved to another country, particularly to a paradisiacal city which most people would be thrilled to even just visit. I dropped over 25 pounds and feel very comfortable (even proud!) with my physical appearance. I’ve even discovered new hobbies that have shown me a different way of living. And all for what?”

There was a minute of silence. And then my therapist, after having told me so a million times before, once again calmly said: “Remember that: Change happens from the inside out. Not the other way around.”

Oh how I hated that she was right! I had managed to radically change my outside world completely, yet I still felt the same. Everything around me looked so different and so similar at the same time. Because even though my external world had changed, I had not.

It seems that despite my therapist’s words of wisdom, all along I chose to believe that if I created that perfect life I had always dreamed of I would finally be who I wanted to be.

So I spent all my energy and effort in changing everything about my circumstances that did not make me happy. Much needed changes that I don’t regret. But that time showed me were not enough for a true transformation.

As much as I wanted it to, changing the outside did not change the inside.

You can move to the other side of the world. Start a relationship with the partner of your dreams. Or even accomplish the professional goals you desire the most. But what I learned is that: Wherever you go, whoever you’re with, or whatever you do, you take yourself with you. 

And if despite your choices, you still remain the same person you were before, your life won’t be much different.

Only real personal change, the change that comes from within, can turn your life around.

So here are 6 tips to keep in mind during this journey toward personal transformation:

1. Nothing ever changes, until you do. If you have external circumstances that are making you unhappy, by all means change them. Change them in an intelligent and unwavering way. But keep in mind, that whatever role you are playing in that unhappiness will continue, unless you change too.

2. If you want true change, face yourself. There’s no running or hiding. You have to look at your biggest fears straight in the eye. You have to dig deep into your old hurts and wounds.  And you have to challenge your self-limiting beliefs and toxic ways of thinking.

3. Believe you can change, then persevere. Don’t hope you can change. Believe that you will. The right mindset is critical for this mission. Because defying your lifetime habits will not be easy. It will feel like swimming against the tide. And it’ll be your faith and determination what will give you the courage to carry on.

4. Watch out for your unconscious along the way. Challenging yourself will feel so threatening that you may rely on defense mechanisms such as denial to avoid facing your reality. This will “protect” you from the anxiety of confronting some ugly truths about yourself. But will only delay, or even sabotage, your road to transformation.

5. Avoid a real self vs. ideal self war. Fighting against your (not-so-desirable) actual self is not only pointless, but steals away the energy you need to transform into your ideal self. That person you aspire to be. The more you fight who you are now the harder it’ll be to let go of it. You need to accept yourself just as you are so you can then start working towards transforming into that person worthy of your admiration.

6. Take it day-by-day. Step-by-step. Transformational change is created through daily individual actions. There’s no milestone to be reached. Because it is a process that lasts a lifetime. All you can do is take a step every day to get closer to the person you wish to be. And every now and then, stop to reflect on who you are today, and compare it with who you were yesterday.

We can all undergo a process of personal transformation or “metamorphosis” (as I like to call it), if we’re willing to let go of who we are to become who we truly want to be. And just like the caterpillar completely rearranges its form to emerge into something so beautiful, we too can emerge from our cocoon to transform into the best version of our unique wonderful self.

It is not the beauty of the butterfly what makes it so remarkable. It’s the changes it has gone through to achieve such beauty.

Today’s article was written by Jessica Beltran, MS and is shared from the following website: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/10/change-only-happens-from-the-inside-out/

 

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What Are The Steps Of Positive Thinking?

We Become What We Think About Earl Nightingale

The most potent form of energy is thought because thought-waves are cosmic (energy) waves penetrating all time and space.

  • Watch your thoughts, they become words.
  • Watch your words, they become actions.
  • Watch your actions, they become habits.
  • Watch your habits, they become your character.
  • Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

A man is but the product of his thoughts – what he thinks, he becomes. – Mahatma Gandhi

What Are The Steps Of Positive Thinking?

Becoming a positive thinker is easy when you know the steps of positive thinking…

…and of course, you also apply them! (By the way, do you wonder if you need to study positive thinking?)

All you need to benefit from positive thinking is to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones – this is, to change your focus of attention from something that makes you feel bad to something that makes you feel good.

It *is* that simple!

How do you do that?

Follow these easy steps of positive thinking:

  1. Become aware of your thoughts. You can do this on the spot, throughout the day.If you’ve never paid attention to your thoughts, then you can train yourself to do that by choosing a quiet spot and sitting in silence for a while, just noticing what comes up in your mind. I found it best to do this in the afternoons, after work is done and before taking care of things like making dinner.Most of us are over-identified with our own thoughts, and believe that just because *we* have a certain thought, it means something. But thoughts are just thoughts – they are not yours or mine, and they only have as much weigh as you want to give them.
  2. Notice the thoughts that make you feel bad. This is easy to do: your emotions (fear, jealousy, worry, anger…) will tell you that you are on a ‘negative’ train of thought.For instance, think about the subject of money. How do you feel? Anxious, nervous, scared? What thoughts come to mind? ‘Money is hard to make’, ‘I never have enough money’ are perhaps some of those thoughts.Taking this step can also help you to uncover the root of your beliefs (most of them would have been acquired during your childhood) and set yourself free to choose new beliefs.
  3. Change your negative thoughts for positive ones. This is easy: choose thoughts that make you feel good when you think them.You can only think of one thing at a time; if you think about something that makes you feel good then there is no room for feeling bad.For example, if you find yourself worrying about money and bills to pay, you could instead choose to focus on all the abundance that you do have, or you could list situations where money came to you unexpectedly.If you find yourself unable to think about a certain subject in a way that makes you feel good, then choose to think about something else that does make you feel good. The point is to change your train of thought and thus your emotions.

Why can I not change my thoughts?

Sometimes, you might notice, it is not so easy to change your thoughts about a certain subject. You may try to think about it in a way that makes you feel good, yet you find that there is no way you can feel good about it.

The thing is, when you have thought about a subject in a certain way for a long time, you have ‘walked’ that path of thought so often that it seems the only path available.

Some of the big subjects where we may find difficulty changing our thoughts are money, relationships, and health.

In these cases, it is best to first practice changing your thoughts about something small.

For example, do you get upset when you have to queue for a while? Next time, change the direction of your thoughts by focusing on whatever benefits you can find to queuing – “This chair is actually quite comfortable”, “I now have time to just relax”, “I can now read a few more pages of this book”.

As you practice following the steps of positive thinking about small things, you get the hang of it and it becomes easier to change your thoughts on larger subjects.

You can also use your thoughts to ‘program’ yourself a good day: get up to positive thinking; or you can use positive thinking to change your thoughts about your own life.

Summing up the steps of positive thinking:

  1. Become aware of your thoughts
  2. Use your emotions as a way to discover your negative thoughts
  3. Put your attention on thoughts that make you feel good

The trick, as you would have probably imagined, is to repeat these steps often, with many different subjects, and to start small in the subjects where you find it difficult.

As you do that consistently, you start changing your overall perception of life, and life starts changing for you.

Use the following resources to help yourself when following the steps of positive thinking:

  • Positive thinking activities
  • Positive self statements
  • Positive thinking tips
  • Positive thinking programs

You can then expand on these steps of positive thinking with the Law of Attraction, which shows you how you can intentionally use your thoughts to achieve or obtain what you want. Discover how the Law of Attraction, positive thinking and quantum physics relate.

In the words of Henri Matisse…

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Today’s article was written by Cristina Diaz and is shared from the following website: http://www.the-benefits-of-positive-thinking.com/steps-of-positive-thinking.html

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How to Change the Stories You Tell Yourself

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite William Blake

Around and around I went.

Like a Ferris wheel. 

It was only a pattern, a habit, an unexamined cycle. 

It wasn’t something I was proud of, but it was my reality.

It was the world I created for myself.

It was full of fear. Full of scarcity. It was survival.

I lived in it for many years until I examined my prison.

Fortunately, I was open to changing my perspective. If I am not open to examining my perspective, I accept I can create a mental prison.

It’s invisible. I had many blind spots.

Blind spots create pain.

Blind spots create struggle.

Blind spots create unhealthy realities.

When I examined my mental world, I realized it was full of scarcity.

My worthiness was scarce, although I had several accomplishments.

My happiness was scarce, although I did many remarkable things.

My finances were scarce, although I had plenty in the bank.

Love was scarce, although I was loved by many around me.

Relationships were scarce, although I personally knew many people in the area.

I was always afraid, although I was never in physical danger.

I had various phrases I used to think and tell myself.

Here are some examples of mental stories I told myself…

“You’re not good enough.”

“Who are you to do this?”

“You’re not old enough to do that.”

“What will others think of you?”

“What if you get rejected?”

And I’ve changed these stories. This article shares what I’ve learned in the process.

Powerful analogies to the stories we tell ourselves

When I get a flat tire while driving, it’s immediately noticeable that I get a flat. I feel the bumpy driving. Maybe I hear the tire get punctured. I know what needs to happen next.

In life, the equivalent of a mental flat is when we struggle for too long. It’s a mental growing pain. Until we look at this behavior under this lens, it can be a blind spot.

When a painter paints on his canvas and is too focused on the small area where he is painting, he can’t see the full picture. Sometimes, in life, when we don’t see the stories we tell ourselves, we fall into this trap of being imprisoned by the stories, stuck in a small area, thinking small, and living small.

When the CD skips and the music abruptly jumps, we know the CD is likely scratched. What’s the solution? Clean the CD. For this to work, we must first understand that it’s only a CD. It’s only a mental story. It’s not us, it does not define us.

The rear-view mirror of a car says, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” For us to gain another perspective, we must seek it. We must look for another perspective. Use another mirror or look over the shoulder in a car. This is not a reactive act. This does not happen by accident. This is a proactive practice.

When we’re consumed in fear, it’s hard to see our story. Fear, a biological survival instinct, used to keep us alive. Now, it can keep us in survival mode. In survival mode, we cannot detach from our story, we are simply consumed by it because we’re fighting for our survival. This takes effort to transcend.

Why you would want to change your inner narrative

Maybe you don’t realize it, but the story you tell about yourself says more about you than the story. The way you see the story says something about you. Neither good nor bad, it simply is. I want to raise your self-awareness to help you consciously and proactively decide if you want that story.

Until you understand your story, you may attract others with the same story. There are reasons why cycles and habits and patterns live on through generations of families. Objectively speaking, it’s because we don’t invest the time to understand our story and the way it’s affected us (possibly because we never had an opportunity to learn or it never entered our awareness). Conscious or not, who you choose to surround yourself with says something about you and the stories you tell yourself. Nothing good or bad, it just is. (Same is true for me)

Maybe you’re tired of blaming external circumstances. Maybe you’re ready to change yourself. Maybe you’re ready for one of the most meaningful journey’s you can take… the journey to better understand yourself. Blame is the discharge of comfort and pain. Maybe it’s time to face within and stop blaming.

The empowering truth about your story

You decide your truth. You decide what truths you want to accept. If you accept these truths, you will find yourself with less friction to change your story.

Believe that you are not your story. Your story does not define you, it’s just your story. Sure, it’s the only thing you have that’s unique to you. But it is not you. The more you attach your identity with your story, the more friction you create for yourself in changing your story.

Believe that age has nothing to do with it. It’s easy to say, “I’m X years old, this is not for me, I should have this figured out!” I believe that I am doing the best I can, with what I’ve been given, with where I’m at in life. Because I believe this for myself, I give this gift to everyone else. It is the foundation of my empathy and compassion. When we learn how to respect our own journey, we can respect the journey of others. Age has nothing to do with this. We are never taught this truth in school.

Believe that it’s only a story. To center myself, I like to zoom out. I like to remind myself that I am 1 of ~7 billion people on this planet. BILLION. That’s a lot of people. Everything I experience is affected by only 2 factors: 1) my biology. 2) the stories I tell myself (the inner narrative). If I had 3 hours of sleep last night, it will affect the way I experience the next day. If I tell myself I am afraid of what others think of me, then I live in that fear of what others think of me. I like to ask myself, “What am I telling myself that is making me feel this way?” After I acknowledge the story I am telling myself, I then ask, “What can I tell myself to better serve me?”

This is not about happy thoughts and positive thinking. This is about having the self-awareness to understand the stories you tell yourself so that you can rewrite your stories to reach new levels of awareness and personal growth. Not for yourself, but for others. For legacy.

Understand how your story affects your biology

I’ve written before about my past story of personal surrender.

It was the moment life brought me to my knees and I was forced to examine the story I was telling myself. It wasn’t serving me anymore.

A scab on my leg from a mountain biking accident didn’t heal itself after several months.

Eventually, I took notice.

The scab on my leg was not healing itself because my body’s immune system was weak.

Why?

It turns out, eczema (a skin condition) took over my scab.

Why?

My eczema is aggravated and triggered by stress.

Why?

Stress is experienced by what I believe about stress (and other thoughts). Yes, if I believe stress is good for me, then I experience it in a positive way. If I believe it’s bad for me, I experience it in an unhealthy way. Actually, if I believe it’s good, I live longer. If I believe it’s bad, I die sooner. If this sounds crazy, watch the TEDx talk.

Our thoughts, and the words we use, and more importantly, the relationship we have with the words we use, have the potential to affect our experiences.

I covered this in-depth in an article about self-awareness.

Burn out, depression, and having a stroke can be the result of weak stories that we tell ourselves that are not sustainable.

If you proactively practice gratitude, you’ll live longer. Think about it. Scarcity is fear-based. Gratitude is abundant and truly powerful. If you don’t believe me, Google it.

Stress and anxiety also manifest in our bodies in other ways. How about sweaty hands? How about sweating from nervousness? How about talking too fast? How about being unable to sit still? We can blame certain factors and pop a pill, or we can accept that maybe the world we’ve created for ourselves isn’t serving us. (It’s ok, it’s just a story…)

Why we have weak belief systems

At HX Works, I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection.

I believe there are 2 ways to respond to life: out of trust, or out of fear.

Often, we learn how to respond to life before we’re able to understand what we’re doing. Meaning: there is a childhood response driving us all (until we examine the behavior and move beyond it).

These seeds of stories get planted by society, caregivers, parents, teachers, bosses, professors, and various connections we make to others throughout our developing years (and even into our adult years).

Often, we have these experiences, and we cruise through life in autopilot, not aware of the stories in the mind. Since I am the only person I have to live with throughout my life, I invest the time to live with myself.

I believe that vulnerability is power.

Vulnerability is embracing uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure (Brené Brown). Vulnerability is the foundation of creativity, change and innovation.

All of these stories we often tell ourselves prevent us from vulnerability.

Many of the stories I told myself above tried to keep me away from being vulnerable. Or my struggles with perfectionism. Or how I gave my power away to others. All of this prevented me from being vulnerable.

When we embrace vulnerability, we embrace the truest sense of reality.

The reality is, life is uncertain. There are risks involved. If we’re not exposing our emotions to someone or managing them, they’ll force a surrender.

This is a natural law, like gravity, it cannot be fought.

Yet, the voice in our head makes it easy to avoid it and to ignore our objective reality.

I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection.

The root of many of the voices in our mind are rooted in the fear of disconnection from others. This takes effort to transcend.

Because we don’t experience life as it is, we experience life as we are, many high performers, entrepreneurs, and high achievers, are driven (conscious or subconscious) by the fear of disconnection. We’re not living to make a difference, we’re living to be worthy. (This used to be me, I know this story) When this is not understood, these things take power over you and they feed your blind spots.

Blind spots can lead to pain, discomfort, struggle, burn out, depression, or strokes… either we consciously decide to understand ourselves better, or natural law forces a surrender.

I like to ask myself, “Am I making this decision based out of fear or trust?”

Trust overpowers fear if we allow it to.

This is about self-awareness. I realize it’s easy to read this stuff and automatically think, “Well, that’s not me.” I challenge you to reflect on this. Not for me, or yourself, but for those around you.

Oh, and for the record, this cancerous lie we tell ourselves of “fake it until you make it” is not healthy. It disrespects our objective reality and further propagates weak belief systems.

When we trust, we embrace uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. We’re living.

When we fear, we seek certainty, perfection, rigidness, and absolutes. We’re surviving. (This also weakens us by forcing us to surrender our power to others)

This is about living more proactively and less reactively.

Understanding the 5 stages of competence

In psychology, the conscious competence learning model can help us understand the progression of changing our inner narrative. I’ve modified it with a 5th element.

Unconscious incompetence is the first stage of the model. Unconscious incompetence happens when something is in your blind spot. You don’t know what you don’t know. You may deny what you don’t know. Until you recognize what you don’t know, and see the value of the new skill/awareness, you can’t move onto the next stage.

A basic example of this is when you were a toddler and you didn’t know that one day you’ll probably drive a car. Until you accept that you don’t know how to drive a car, and until you see the value of learning how to drive, will you move onto the next learning stage. The same is true of your mental patterns. Since they’re abstract and not as concrete as driving a car, they require effort to work through. Usually, you need a powerful cause to force the effect of changing your beliefs. But does everyone need to learn the hard way?

Next is the conscious incompetence stage. At this point, you recognize that you’re conscious, or you understand, what you don’t know. You see your incompetence or lack of understanding or skill.

In our driving example, at this point, you’re in your mid-teens and you’re starting to see the value of driving for yourself. You accept you don’t know how to drive but see the value in it.

Thirdly, we have the conscious competence stage. This is when you understand or know how to do something. However, it requires focused concentration. The process needs to be practical, simple, and broken down into steps.

In driving, this often happens in a focused format during driver’s education. First, there is reading material and videos to learn from, and then there is focused time behind the wheel. Heavy concentration is required to carry this out. In the context of changing your inner narrative, this is often where people get stuck. People may, at some level, know what they’re doing and what they need, but it never moves beyond that because effort is not invested (or practical solutions are not discovered).

The last stage of the official conscious competence model is unconscious competence. This is when the skill or inner narrative becomes second nature. No effort is required because it’s automatic.

In driving, this is when you can talk on the phone, eat food, and drive with your knee. No, I’m kidding, I hope you’re not multitasking while you’re driving! However, most of us live our mental lives like this… we never see clearly because we’ve never turned on the windshield wipers to learn how to see past the dirty window. Strong belief systems give you power to live with strength (for yourself and those around you). It’s just a story, that’s it.

The last added stage to this model is mastery. It’s when what you’re doing happens with unconscious competence and you know what you’re doing enough to teach it and explain it. When you can teach what you’re doing, you can fully detach from it, examine it, and explain the behavior.

Simple strategies for changing your inner narrative

Before I continue, I want to repeat something I said earlier. I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection. Many of our behaviors can be described under this lens.

If you woke up one morning and you realized you put on socks that you didn’t like, how do you change them? Take them off and put on a new pair, duh. 🙂

Changing your narrative works the same way.

To change it, you must disconnect from the old story and connect to a new story.

Here are simple and practical tips to changing your narrative…

Understand the source

Some say this helps, some say it isn’t necessary. I want to include it here because I think it’s valuable. It’s easy to tell someone, “well, just change your thoughts.” When you understand the root of your thoughts, you may uncover other patterns and/or thought patterns related to that. Identify the fear or reason underneath the thought.

Understanding where that fear came from (maybe a person or an experience) can also be valuable to deeply understand how, conscious or not, you affect others.

Accept your narrative, but don’t embrace it, yet

Accept the narrative. If you don’t accept it, you add tension to moving past the narrative. No judgment, no critical thoughts, no negative feelings towards the thoughts, simply acknowledge the thoughts for what they are… thoughts. After you’ve taken off the sunglasses, or the narrative you have, analyze it. Ask yourself, is it serving you? Is it beneficial? Or is it holding you back? What would the narrative be if you focused on something else? It’s all perspective.

After you’ve accepted and detached from your narrative, how can you laugh it? Imagine all of your old narratives and stories that you tell yourself as gummy bears on the floor. Then imagine stepping on them. Seems silly, right? The more you can laugh at your narrative, the more you reduce the friction for getting away from it. It’s a mental game.

After you’ve accepted, detached, laughed, and examined your narrative, find a new narrative that you want and start to attach to it.

Be mindful of your body and how you feel

Depending on your life experiences, “feelings” may not be something that are valued. You may even be moving so fast onto the next thing that feelings are the last thing you think about.

Be mindful of slowing down and paying attention to your body. Pay attention to how food makes you feel. Pay attention to how your thoughts make you feel. When do you feel great? When do you feel uncomfortable? When do you feel nervous? The more you become aware of the tension within, the more you’ll be able to uncover the thoughts and patterns that create the tension.

Journal nightly

To detach yourself from your narrative, journal nightly. Express yourself openly and honestly. How was your day? How did you feel? Did you do what you wanted? When you’re done writing the summary, read it back to yourself. Disconnecting and connecting yourself to your story helps raise your awareness to your narrative and how you are. Be honest.

If you’re working through a certain narrative, or if there is a specific thought that you want to change and not have, ask yourself a question to counter what you don’t want.

For example, when I struggled with self-acceptance, I asked myself, “What do I accept about myself?” When I struggled with fear in my life, I asked myself, “What do I trust in?” When my world was full of scarcity, I asked myself, “What am I grateful for?” When I wasn’t aware of my wants or what I wanted in life, I asked myself, “What do I want?”

I asked myself various questions for hundreds of nights. Answering a question that counters a limiting belief for hundreds (or even dozens of nights) will raise your self-awareness.

You can write this down in an app (I like DayOne for iPhone), or you can write it down by hand in a physical journal. Whatever works best for you.

Speak the new narrative out loud

When I focused on gratitude, it didn’t stay in my journal. My gratitude found its way into my language. I started saying phrases such as, “I’m grateful to be here.” Or, “I’m grateful to have this time with you.” I also started using phrases such as, “I trust that…” when talking with others. Or, “I accept that I …” This process can take months or years. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done for myself.

To make this more real, tell a close friend or significant other what you’re doing. Share what you’re proactively working on. Share this article. Maybe even have them let you know when your old narrative comes out (whatever you want to replace). (You might inspire them)

Meditate

Meditative practices mean different things for different people. Maybe this means sitting in silence and paying attention to the thoughts in your mind.Don’t try to control them, simply observe. The more you do this, the more you intentionally connect yourself to yourself (crazy thought, eh?).

Maybe this means a guided yoga practice to do something different, focus on breathing, and focus more on being mindful of your body.

Maybe this means going on a walk every night and reflecting on your day.

Whatever you do, set reminders to do it daily. Everything I’m sharing with you are things I’ve worked on. Set triggers to help remind yourself.

Find a greater meaning

Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, coined the phrase “logotherapy.” Logotherapy is the process of finding a greater meaning behind your experiences in life.

For instance, if I had a bad accident, I could focus on the pain and my accident. Or I could focus on the lesson the accident taught me and believe that it’s preparing me for something greater. This meaning is highly personal. Where can you find deeper meaning in your life?

This, in a way, changes the inner narrative because it can put your focus on something greater than yourself. It can be something meaningful to you.

Mind your connections

Again, I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection. The sum of your connections brought you to this moment in life. You’re connected to your body, your DNA, the stories you tell yourself, your life experiences that have brought you to this point, and more. The more you understand all of these connections, the more you can shape them to serve you so you can create the greatest impact in the things you do.

The more you unpack your narrative, the more you can understand the narrative you want to change. The more you understand this, the more you can understand what’s connected to your narrative.

For example, when I was changing my inner narrative in the past, some of my narratives were tied to certain friends. While I proactively worked on that narrative, I limited my time with those friends so I can strengthen my narrative and gain control of it. (I could have also brought my friend’s awareness to what I wanted to change about myself, but I didn’t think of this at the time)

Often, we get caught in our narratives because we’re not evolving our environments and our relationships. Imagine if you hit a “refresh” button on all of your friends and you could start over by being whoever you wanted to be.How would you be?

Think about that for a moment. I’ve scheduled dozens of lunches with new people simply for the sake of re-telling my story and finding out what I enjoyed the most.

Friends, or environment (Facebook?), or significant others, or employees, or even parents, have the ability to influence your inner narrative (some more than others). When this happens, you get put in a box. In psychology, as the labeling theory says, you act out as you’re labeled.

At some point in your life, you taught others how you are (consciously or not), and that construct of who you were may be difficult to change. The more you’re aware of how others do this to you, the more you’ll be aware of how you do this to others. Pay close attention to the language. Be mindful of statements such as, “Oh, that’s just how he/she is” or “it’s ok, that’s just you.” These are powerful words.

Or maybe you connect your inner narrative to fear about your environment and decide to stop watching horrific news.

Or maybe you discover that the “I’m not good enough” narrative is getting old so you take a break from social media and seeing what everyone else is “doing.” Maybe, you decide to be selfish.

Be mindful of your connections. They often have more power over you than you think.

Know your connections, know your focus

Part of changing your narrative is by changing your focus.

When I’m mountain biking in advanced trails in the Southern California mountains, errors can result in intense pain. Boulders, rocks, roots, ruts, cactus, and cliffside exposure are the norm on many rides. When mountain biking, I focus only where I want to go. Not a split second of thought gets focused on where I don’t want to go.

In life, the same lesson applies. It’s a game of focus. I’ve explored this in-depth in my article on what mountain biking can teach us about focus.

Before I get on stage to speak in front of an audience of dozens or hundreds, I focus on my breathing. I slow my breathing down. It calms my body. Having done this dozens of times, the nervousness eventually goes away. If you want to escape a mental pattern, focus on your breathing. It affects your whole body.

When you understand your power, you’ll understand how to focus your power on what matters – often, your narrative. Willpower is finite. Your ability to make effective choices is limited. To optimize your days, focus on things that deeply matter to you.

And while I’m at it, who do you focus on the most? Yourself, or others? If you focus on yourself, what do you get out of that? For me, I get understanding about myself (which, as I write in a powerful article on self-awareness, helps me understand others). If you focus on others, what do you get out of that? I imagine, if I spent more time focusing on others, I would miss out on opportunities to learn about myself.

Reframe your narrative

Ah, the power of reframing.

I could tell myself, “But I have no experience in this, I’m not good enough.” Or I could tell myself, “My strength is that I have no experience in this, I bring a fresh perspective.”

I could tell myself, “I’m not old enough, I don’t have enough life experience.” Or I could tell myself, “I have the resources to learn and the ability to adapt and the energy to make it happen.”

The answer lives in changing the perspective. Take whatever you think is a weakness or a narrative you don’t like and find the opportunity or the strength in it.

After you’ve changed your narrative

After you’ve changed your narrative, you choose your world.

This requires focusing your power on the thing you have control over, your self-awareness.

Imagine showing up exactly as the person you want. No doubts, no insecurity, no limiting beliefs, no old you, only the new you that you want.

Too many die with their music inside because they don’t invest time into this process or were never aware of it. Don’t let that be your story.

As you take this journey, remember, personal growth is not personal. It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with your children (if you choose to have them), your friends, the people you work with, and the people you love the most. This is about how you affect them. That is your legacy.

Your external world is a result of your internal world.

Do you value self-awareness and want to strengthen your beliefs?

Today’s article was written by Michael Gallizzi and is shared from the following website: https://hxworks.com/insights/how-change-stories-you-tell-yourself/

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Shout Outs for Taking Personal Accountability!

Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies Heather Schuck

As many of you know who follow this blog regularly, I love to post positive and inspirational leadership stories. This particular story I want to share touched me in a lot of different ways. There is power in doing the right thing regardless of how difficult it may be.

On June second of this year, Armando Galarraga, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, was one out from pitching a perfect game; something that is rare in major league baseball. However on the last out the first base umpire Jim Joyce ruled the runner safe, putting an end to Galarraga’s quest for a perfect game. Joyce believed he made the right call until he saw the replay for himself after the game; the replays showed the runner was clearly out and that Galarraga should have got credit for a perfect game. Joyce, the umpire, immediately went to the 28-year-old pitcher from Venezuela after the game and apologized for getting the call wrong.

Holy cow, backup, rewind… let me say that again. The umpire, Joyce, went and apologized for getting the call wrong. That is accountability in all of its purest glory folks!

And then Galarraga turned around and forgave him for blowing a call that cost him something he may never ever do in his career again; throw a perfect game. “He probably feels more bad than me,” Galarraga said. “Nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s human. I understand. I give the guy a lot of credit for saying, ‘I need to talk to you.’ You don’t see an umpire tell you that after a game. I gave him a hug.”

Wow! I love it when people take accountability. And I love it when people forgive. Whether it is my kids, friends, umpires or leaders, I love watching people do the right thing because it is the right thing. Taking accountability for one’s actions builds huge trust dividends. Do you think feelings of trust and respect for Joyce have improved across Major League Baseball? Absolutely! It’s interesting how when we try not to cover up our pride we become people of character that others genuinely love and respect.

Thank you to both Jim Joyce, an accountable umpire and Armando Galarraga, a forgiving professional athlete. You have taught us and left a legacy as leaders that is worth way more than nine innings of perfect baseball.

Today’s post was written by Michael Rogers and is shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2010/06/leadership-accountability-that-may-move-you-to-tears-true-story.html

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