Before people can take advice on how to change their lives or businesses, they need to be acknowledged for where they are coming from, and require some empathy for their past and current struggles. I acknowledge people’s difficult and often unprofitable lives because I understand that it takes specific knowledge to change the pattern, and people don’t always have that knowledge. At least, not initially.
People get derailed in life by
- faulty childhood programming
- not being able to identify what they need or want
- career and general advice that’s wrong for them
- the pursuit of a career as defined by (a) current trends and what they can access with limited resources, (b) lack of information or life experience about options, and (c) internal beliefs or hangups.
People may end up where they don’t want by
- believing they had no choice
- of the available options, their choice, although not desired, was the best of the lot
The pervasive message “out there” in books, articles, and social media is that all you have to do in order to change your life is (fill in the blank). All you have to do is choose to change your life by changing your thinking and changing the things you accept to do every day.
That’s all true, except it’s not as simple—or as immediate—as it comes across. And that’s why people fail, and then feel even worse about themselves or become cynical about the world. People who live difficult lives don’t do so because they want to; they do so because situations (both internal and external) led them to lead that life, although it was the sum of their choices at each crossroad that got them there. Better lives are not just the luck of the draw. People who live better lives do so because they have specific knowledge.
It follows that, in order to get to a new “place” in life or to undo a string of detrimental choices, a person has to undergo a new process. Process is the key term.
Five things commonly missing from the “just change/just choose/just quit” messages are
- the whole “recipe” (not just a few tips)
- a breakdown and explanation of the required steps
- that change is not instant; it’s a process
- that it’s hard to change yourself and your life, and the process could be a fluid two steps forward, one step back (which doesn’t mean you’re failing)
- the how: how do you identify and adopt the right mindset?
The reality is that not all people can walk away from something that’s detrimental to them, such as a certain job that’s paying their bills, and survive. If they could, they would have done so already. But they can plan for it. And, certainly, the first thing that needs to change is mindset and commitment. A person needs to shift the beam to a new goal–and believe.
So the first four steps, the primers, are
- Define what you want. Make time to think, meditate, and align your priorities, if you haven’t already. When we clear our minds, answers flow into the void. If you are unhappy with your life, then your needs and values do not mesh with your present reality. Ask yourself what you are willing to put up with, and what you are not. Draw your virtual line.
- Intend. Make what you want to change your priority.
- Visualize. See yourself getting there and being there, and do this often.
- Believe and commit. Have complete faith that it’s possible, and that’s it’s happening. Period.
The real trick
How do you believe and commit with the conviction that is necessary to make this work? And it does work. But it took me some time and a lot of practice to get it right. Because there’s a trick to it. Here’s how you know when you’re doing it right.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone has pushed you and pushed you, and you kept backing up, or sidestepping, or thinking of alternatives, but you never quite freed yourself of that person or his/her pressuring? You began to feel increasingly helpless, like you didn’t have control or choice. Until one day you’d had it. The pressure outweighed any fear of consequence. Something in your mind clicked over, like a switch. The fear and self-doubt were gone. Your goal became singular, you’d already decided that you’d step back at nothing, and you drew your line in the sand.
The other person sensed it, this invisible shift in thought. You had communicated it, and effected change.
As a child, it took me a long time to understand this with bullies. It’s not a one-way action, but a two-way interaction. Whether a bully continues to bully you really does come back to what your response is. You do affect the future outcome. You do have an impact. In essence, you give the bully permission to continue to bully you—or not. But you have to believe and transmit that message of absolute intent.
I’ve seen it with people in their jobs. Finally, when they can’t take the situation any longer, they decide they no longer care if they are fired. They accept in their mind they may be on the street without a roof over their head. The crazy thing is often they are not fired, but suddenly respected. (Assuming they used socially acceptable means, of course. A person can be polite and rational, and still be firm).
Or what about all those years you spent telling yourself (sometimes subconsciously), “I have to keep doing this because…”? One day something changed. You said, “Wait a minute. I don’t have to keep doing this.” Because you changed your thought pattern, things around you began to change shape too.
People sense when you are 100% committed. Even you react to when you are 100% committed—and it affects your choices and actions.
Detecting the feeling of shift
The hard part is developing the mindset, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, or what it feels like. The best way to find it is through some experience. Think of a time in your life when you absolutely intended something to happen, even something improbable, and it did. What was going on inside you? How did you force it to happen? That’s the feeling and thought pattern you need to duplicate.
When you keep a destination or goal firmly in your mind, you begin to find avenues, either consciously or subconsciously, to reach that destination. Things you choose to do along the way begin to change through the filter of your new mindset. This concept can also be defined as a change in values, or a priority shift.
The final steps are
- Plan and make changes, big or small. What are the steps you need to take to get to your goal? What do you have to tweak, adjust, or downright force?
- Act. Keep going. Don’t turn back. Don’t push the “eject” button. You don’t have one. You’re committed, remember?
The amazing thing is that you can make the seemingly impossible happen with the right mindset, which in turn generates the right steps. But I’ll also tell you that it took me time to get results and I had to wipe a lot sweat from my brow.
You start the process of change by changing yourself. That takes time, effort, and commitment. Changing yourself affects your priorities and choices, which affect how you interact with your environment, which affects where you end up. So the idea is simple, but the process is not.
Change yourself —> priorities and choices —> interaction with environment —> destination
It comes down to mind over matter. How many people have defied the odds in the many facets of life?
So, yes, you do have a choice. Start the process so your life becomes one of your own choosing.
© 2012 Eva Blaskovic. All rights reserved.