Why must I change...?
We all know that circumstances change and when they do, we need to keep up or be left behind to struggle. We don't always love change, sometimes we feel it's unfair, but regardless of these feelings we have, which are emotional reactions, we need to adapt and fast. The Back on Track is designed to help you, even kicking and screaming, move forward into the future. It is unique because it recognises you as a complete, whole person and therefore treats with respect the fact that personal change in one aspect of your life is going to reflect in all other areas. You'll know that fragmented personal change (changing one aspect of your life while leaving other dependent aspects unchanged) is not going to work for you. We treat you as a whole, self respecting person. That's the process of Back on Track.
What are the key ingredients of personal change
My clients are champions in their chosen field and they know that they won't be there for long before something or someone comes to challenge them. Change therefore isn't an option, it's an automatic element of being a champion more than once.
When J came to me he was struggling with stress and possibly depression. His income was unsatisfactory and his firm had asked for psychological coaching for him in preparation for discharge from his job. He approached me with some suspicion but we soon realised he'd been left with self management practices that were stuck, 15 years in his past. He hadn't evolved as the company had grown. He'd been left behind. In just six months, we turned this situation around. Here's how:
It begins with some stillness
Being honest with ourselves is most people's ambition but it's no easy. We adapt to bad things and feeling poorly and start to thing this is normal. Our perspectives get unclear as to what is good life and what is below par. Even income and job satisfaction don't always mirror back to us exactly where we are. And so, although self honesty is for most of us and real commitment, we are often mistaken about where we are and what is to blame for our mental, physical and emotional state of being.
"all human problems stem from our inability to be alone in a room in silence" Pascal
When I meet a client I try to find a moment of stillness with them. We may sit and talk about football and income, opportunities or threats but during this time, on a walk in nature we will find real stillness and in this fragment of time, there is a human honesty. With J, the client I mentioned, we walked in a harbour-side park in Sydney and such a moment came. In this, he confessed the pain he felt and how he was not who he used to be at home or at work. This is the starting point of all change. The confession that we are suffering and need to change it. I simply asked "what is in your heart today, and are you doing your best?"
Trying is a hard path
I hear people being proud that they are trying to do better, be better and achieve more, and we can respect how hard this can be when people don't feel great. But if nothing changes, nothing changes and trying is potentially doing the wrong thing more which is really disappointing.
I train in the pool five times a week, sometimes more. I love swimming and it's good for me. But about 12 months ago I asked an accomplished swimmer to give me some tips. She watched for 1 minute for her moment of truth with me and said "you're really good at swimming really bad." Heartbreaking as it was, I realised that I had fallen into the "trying" group, working my butt off in swim training to get good at doing things bad.
Back to Basics
When the World Trade Centre came down, the phrase "ground zero" took on a whole new meaning. There is no other phrase that defines going back to the core better than "ground zero." And we all need our ground zero in life as a reset point when things in our championship (chosen field of work or life) are not going to plan. Back to basics is a way to function when things are not going your way. For example: I told J not to make any serious decisions for a week or two while we separated his emotional crisis from his healthy thinking. We also adjusted his diet and took away the stimulants that might have been healthy when he was.
Have red flags so you stop trying to get good at doing bad.
J had been wrestling with change for two full years at his firm. He'd changed a lot of things including going to a personal development course. But the further he stretched his fragmented changing, the less grounded he became and the more his troubles escalated. Just like my swimming J was getting good at doing things wrong. His perspectives were becoming foggy and the line between productive choices and emotionally driven ones was becoming less clear. The first thing we did was to create a series of red flags that he could use so his perspective on healthy and unhealthy choices could be obvious. Each of us has a sequence of red flags, but they are different for everyone, they are quite an individual thing. J's were mostly domestic.
The term "low hanging fruit" applies perfectly to personal change. We change what we like to change, what feels good to change, what we thought we needed to change. In any self-help bookshop people go in to browse the books to find a book they agree with. In this way "low hanging fruit" in personal change means we don't always get to the core of what needs to be changed because we focus on what we want to change. There's a huge difference.
So, the only way to make real human development change that sticks is to go through a pre flight check list as a pilot might, testing and checking all systems are in order and operating in sequence. Here's a quick over view of the Back on Track Pre flight Personal Change Check list. A positive answer (yes) means the instrument has failed and needs maintenance:
Are you in reaction to someone?
Do you judge your parents?
Are you breathing long exhalations when you relax?
Is your back sore?
Are you more than 5kg over the weight your doctor suggests is best for you?
Do you spend less than 2 hours outdoors on any working day?
When you work do you leave most of the heavy lifting tasks to the afternoon?
Are you sleeping less than 5 hours a night?
there are another 20 items on the check list --
Personal change is not an option or a luxury. If you don't prioritise it, you will be forced into stressful situations which can threaten your quality of life and champion status. It's therefore wise to make the leap and learn what holistic personal change looks like including getting a good honest perspective on your state.
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