Three Simple Steps to Change

June 4, 2010

Change always invites a little drama, even when you want the change.  Just a few weeks ago I received my new computer and to go with it, new software, Windows 7.   As excited as I was, and as committed to the change as I was, it was still frustrating. I was slow to find things. I felt impatient and nervous getting used to the new look.  This is an example of a change that I wanted but still I had a lot of resistance around the learning curve.  Another change I created in my life is the commitment to being more “green.” 

I started recycling and made a decision to use those cloth bags at the grocery store.  But what happend the first month?  The intention was there but the action was not. The cloth bags never made it out of the passenger seat of my car for over a month, until I decided to course-correct.

Every time I went to the store, I made a secret vow that even if I was half way through the check out line, I would make myself go back to the car to retrieve the bags.  Yes, it was uncomfortable if not slightly embarassing, but the discomfort helped me create a new habit.  Now I understand that there are three steps to facilitating positive change.

1. Become aware
2. Create a new habit
3. Course-correct

Become aware
You first have to become aware that you need a change. Whether your change is out of a need, such as purchasing a new computer and new software system, or out of a desire to be a better citizen of the earth. The first step is awareness.

Create a habit
Desire and awareness alone does nothing without a plan of action.  To implement change, you must develop a new habit so you start reprogramming your brain until it becomes second nature. Otherwise,  you will have good intentions but no real change.  At first it will be difficult. You will have to think about what you are doing, over and over until one day it comes naturally.  This is the act of going from conscious competence to unconscious competence.

Even though it is now a habit, your old programming will kick in and surprise you.  After a year of using cloth bags, one day you still leave your bags on the passenger seat.  Six months after using Windows 7 you still can’t find the command you have used thousands of times.  After eating all the right foods you go on a binge. That is why you must course-correct. Don’t be hard on yourself and create more drama.  Just make the correction and now you have sort of done what I call a “back-stitch.”  You have sewn in the new habit and now it is stronger.

Yes, change always invites a little discomfort.  The key to getting through change is to develop new habits and this comes through training.


Is Your “No” a Boundary or Resistance?

April 22, 2010

When you say “no” what do you really mean? Is your “no” a boundary or is your “no” a form of resistance?  How do you know?

 When you are in resistance,  you are in a state of non-acceptance to what something that has already happened, or to something you cannot immediately change or control.  Your “no” in this instance only makes the situation worse. Until you come into acceptance, you can’t  facilitate positive change.

However, saying “no” to something over which you have choice is alltogether different.

A good clean “no” has a different “energetic” feel to it. In other words the intention behind the “no” is the distinction.  Often times “No” does not equal “no” but instead

No = Please talk me into it.
No= I will show you!
No= Pay back.
No = I will manipulate you.
No = I need to be right.

All of the above listed forms of “no” is really just resistance to what is, and an attempt to manipulate someone else in order to change the situation.

So many times, “no” is said out of anger, only to leave a residue of regret. It  helps to remember that anger is not truth… but it can be the fuel that gets you there.

If you are angry, pay attention and ask yourself if a boundary has been crossed or if you are just frustrated because someone does not agree with or support your right to say, “no.”

You have the right to say no, when you don’t agree, when you don’t want to participate in something, or when a boundary has been crossed.  It is not your job to make sure everyone  understands, or is happy with your “no.”

In the end, if you want your “no” to really mean something and to be clear, you have to give up the need for everyone to understand or agree. Otherwise your “no” will lack integrity and clarity and your “yes” will also be watered down.

So how do you know if your “no” really means “no” or if  it is just resistance?  If your “no” is a good clean “no” there will be no drama attached. You will have peace even when you are not completely happy with how others respond, your “no” will honor the highest and best for you.

Two Big Productivity Killers

May 6, 2009

The biggest roadblock to productivity is what I call “resistance.” Resistance is some form of negativity…a non acceptance of what is. Resistance shows up in various ways, but the easiest to spot in the world of business is complaining and judgment.

Complaining is a verbal resistance to a future event or a past occurrence.  Judgment is the negative thought pattern about what should or should not be.

Complaining and judgment are obstacles to productivity because, instead of doing the one or two things you could actually do to solve the problem, serve the customer, or fix the mistake, time is wasted complaining about what who is wrong, what someone should have done and what you didn’t like about something or someone.

Judgment and complaining are time wasters that shift your focus in the wrong direction.

Why People Judge and Complain

So then, why do we judge and complain? We do it to lessen the pain and discomfort that taking responsibility requires of us. To be responsible means to look at the part you played. You didn’t explain your expectations thoroughly, you didn’t confront the problem when it was small, you didn’t speak your truth, you didn’t do a good job leading.

It’s just easier to complain about how inefficient your assistant is, or to judge them for not having the skills you thought they had.

Complaining and judging does nothing to solve your problem but it does make you feel better about yourself. It’s the most acceptable way of going into denial. Here’s an easy visual to bring this issue to light:  Your boat springs a leak, so you take a shot of whiskey and beat your rowing team with your oar. Then you go find someone who will agree with you that you did the right thing. (You vent to other leaders who have the same problems and you conclude that it’s just darn hard to get good help.)

“They” should have checked out the boat maker, they should have avoided the rock. Now you have a reason why you didn’t get to your island, and that reason feels better than to say you didn’t delegate properly and you didn’t provide training or you didn’t do a good job leading.

Your anger and denial does nothing to actually help the situation. You still have a leak in the boat, and you still have incompetent rowers, and that is why complaining and judgment hampers productivity.

Feeling Resistance? Get in the Shade or Go Home

September 24, 2008

The sun was shining with not a cloud in the sky. “You couldn’t ask for better weather for Cider Days,” I said to my neighbor.

“Yes, I’m glad it isn’t raining,”  my neighbor responded.

Cider Days is a community event where vendors from around the region set up booths to display and sell their pottery, jewelry, photography, paintings and other artistic wares.

After about 10 minutes of walking around,  I noticed how hot the sun was on my head. My hair felt like it was on fire.  Without much thought I heard my voice say, “It’s really hot.”

My neighbor agreed.  “That sun is really bearing down.”

“Yep, there’s not a cloud in the sky to give any relief,” I continued.

Several times I would go to a booth and get under the awning and feel a sense of relief, but every time I stepped out into clear view I felt the heat of the sun and with the sensation the impulse to “COMMENT” on how hot it was.

Get in the Shade or Go Home!

Get in the Shade or Go Home!

Finally a thought occurred and it was almost as if I heard an audible voice saying, ‘Get in the shade or go home…everything else is just drama.”

Because I TEACH this stuff (how to eliminate negativity and drama) I’m sometimes painfully aware of my own resistance to what is.  This may seem minor, but the fact remains that we spend way too much time in drama which is due MIND PATTERNS and a lack of discipline, awareness, and self-mastery.

As a leader  SELF-MASTERY is a tool that will serve you well.   William Penn said, “No man (or woman) is fit to command another who cannot command himself.  I KNOW that I must hold myself up to a high standard if I am to have the “privilege of the platform” in speaking on these subjects at corporate events and association speaking engagements, not to mention my consulting projects.

DRAMA (which I define as any obstacle to your peace or prosperity) can manifest in a multitude of ways,  yet there  is always a level of RESISTANCE with any drama that is present.

When you look at your own levels of resistance without getting attached emotionally you can see that there is always another choice.  See the short list below.

  • Griping about the heat | Get in the shade or go home.
  • Worrying about the economy | Call your financial planner, get a second job or sell something
  • Comparing Yourself to others | Network with those better than you or quit looking
  • Outbursts and Temper Tantrums | Beat a pillow, take a nap or go for a walk
  • Talking endlessly about how someone did you wrong | Confront or forgive
  • Judging your boss, you staff or your co-workers | Ask for what you want or set a boundary
  • Justifying bad behavior | apologize, read some self-help or get counseling

Well, this was fun and I could go on and on. The bottom line is each of us is responsible for creating the life, the relationships, and the business we want. Everything else is just DRAMA. Drama often shows up as a  non-acceptance of what is.

So now I’m setting up a challenge for myself to come live life from the perspective of  “No complaints, no excuses, no regrets.”

This means I have to notice in my own life where I’m failing to master my thoughts, emotions, relationships or physical health. This means I must notice when I am resisting versus choosing consciously.

My challenge to you is to pick one area of DRAMA  or RESISTANCE
that you are willing to eliminate this week.  E-mail me your commitment!

Better  yet, join the Release Resistance Training and really FREE yourself. It happens on July 1st.