Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Inner Work of Creating Positive Change (Part 1) - Shelley Stile

Contrary to a widely held belief that people do not change, I submit to you that people do change and often in dramatic, life-altering ways. I say this with full confidence as I have witnessed it happen time and time again. Creating positive change in your life is totally possible. You can change yourself and thereby your life.

When you are fully committed to making changes in your life, it will happen. That commitment, based on a deep desire for growth, is half the journey. Once you have made that choice, one made with total awareness and a honesty of your present reality, you are free to move forward towards a better or even new you.

The one constant in this universe is change. Everything that exists is in a state of change. Ask any quantum physicist. As part of the universe, we are part of that cycle of change. The experiences you have today will impact you in such a way that you will awaken tomorrow changed in some way. Once you have hit your forties or fifties, the kid you were in your twenties is pretty much gone and a wiser you is standing.

Change is desired on a number of levels. In business we might be looking to be a more effective leader or manager in order to increase productivity. That might entail changing how we deal with people by improving our motivation and communication skills. Change might mean a new career, lifestyle or relationship. It might mean building more confidence and self-esteem or learning how to be less aggressive.

Inner Change To Create Outer Change

Change involves inner work before the outer work can begin. That is always the case. As Albert Einstein said; 'The significant problems we face cannot be solved on the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.' Steven Covey, in his critically acclaimed book; 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People', stresses the concept of inner work before outer work or change:

The inside-out approach to change means to start first with self; even more fundamental, to start with the most inside part of self - with your paradigms, your character and your motives.

So, if change is to happen and if it is to last, we need to acknowledge that we must take a look at who we are now and who we want to be in the future. We will have to be honest with ourselves and recognize reality as it exists and not as we think it should or could be.

Take Responsibility for Change

We need to develop a high level of awareness and clarity about everything that we do as all too often, our subconscious tends to run the show and not us. Most importantly, we need to take full responsibility for our lives and not place the blame elsewhere. That also involves giving up the need to control things; except of course, yourself. Until you are willing to do this kind of work, change will not occur, at least not enduring change.

Where are you feeling dissatisfied? Where are you noticing dissonance in your life? Where are you feeling stuck? Identify the issues. Now, recognize exactly where you are and then consider where you would like to be in the future if everything were running smoothly?

If for instance, your sales team is not performing up to budget and you are having a difficult time motivating them towards success, consider what a sales team that is highly motivated and successful would look like. Consider what your role would be in achieving that goal? Who would you be? How would you function? How would you feel? The gap between where you are now and where you want to be is where the work will be done.

In Life Coaching we find that your ability to succeed at your job is highly dependent on whether your values and passions are in alignment with your job and it's requirements. After some serious inquiry, you might discover the things that are called for in motivating your sales team. Say it will consist of more patience, more enthusiasm, more nurturing and more of a team atmosphere. Are these the kind of things that hold value for you? If not, you will be unable to be effective.

Do the important inner work of discovering who you are now, what matters to you, what you are passionate about and what you place value on. Are these things showing up for you in your everyday life? If not, there is sure to be dissonance.

If being successful in your work is of great value to you then what are you willing to do and not to do in order to be a success? Are you willing to make the necessary changes in how you are being? Are you willing to try something different? Are the things you need to do aligned with your values and passions? What are you willing to say yes to and even more important, what are you willing to say no to?

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