Change is not easy, nor is it suppose to be. Unfortunately, by hoping we can change a bad habit or personality trait overnight, we set us up for failure. Behavior change takes time, discipline, a deeper understanding of who you are and why you do the things you do. (Ask any therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, they can give you a handful of examples of what happens when you don’t face the truth of who you are.)
For me, I have a strange relationship with change. I am great at accepting new lifestyle changes, where I can quickly adapt to new jobs or living situations, but extremely slow, resistant even, to changing problematic behaviors.
Recently, it’s been brought to my attention that I need to change certain behaviors and personality traits to improve my relationships, leadership, and overall, performance. On receiving the feedback, I was extremely frustrated and depressed because of how misunderstood I felt. I could feel myself drowning in a sea of negative thoughts, not sure if I could ever get to land.
My self-depreciation made it harder to see why I needed to change and the benefits that came along with it. Instead, my negative self-talk told me daily that I was a horrible person, how shitty of a business owner/leader/human being I was, how no one liked me, cared for me, or even respected me. Things started to go downhill quickly from there. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to quit my work, business, and life altogether in the darkest of these conversations.
As I worked to combat my negative self-talk, I realized, in order to change myself, I needed to first change my mindset. In order to do that, I needed to change my outlook on what I was to change in the first place. I’m not sure who the author of this saying was, but I first heard it through my readings of Napoleon Hill’s Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude: if a man is right, his world will be right. I knew in order for things in my life to get better, I need to be better.
Unfortunately, this is not a complete success story as I am still working to pivot my thoughts, from all the things I am unsatisfied with, to focus on how to better myself and achieve my goals. Recognizing bad habits, the issues and problems is only the first step. Determining that I am going to change them is the second. I still have many steps, including developing processes to overcome these habits/traits, tracking my progress, realigning myself to achieve my goals, and much more, to go.
I am working towards becoming a better business owner, community leader, and overall, kinder and more compassionate person. By focusing on all of the positive gains, I am encouraged to work on myself and address particular behaviors, then if I am to beat myself up and expect to perform miracles.
A great point I heard on a recent podcast, The Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields, 20 mins and 20 seconds in, Susan David, Ph.D. shares her thoughts on Resilience and Emotion Agility. In it, she shared how we can focus our thoughts on our values (as David refers to it as our “qualities of action”), why our values are important to us, then let that guide us to thrive towards success.
Listening to this message reminded me that my goals are more of a state of being than simply accomplishing certain milestones in my career and/or life. Success, to me, is becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be:
- a great leader capable of helping and empower thousands of communities
- business owner providing services and opportunities to thousands, possibly millions
- an intelligent, capable, kind, and compassionate human being
Looking back, I can now focus on all the great reasons why I needed to change – to bring me closer to achieving my goals and less on all the things “wrong with me”. By focusing on these goals, the change is worthwhile as it shifts the reason to change to better myself and not to please those around me.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight on my journey towards change and how I am working to navigate it. As I mentioned, I’m trying to figure it out myself and these are a few things I came across that helped me. Through the resources I’m sharing, hopefully, you can take away one little nugget of wisdom that can help you through your own journey.
I would love to hear what are you working to change and how you’re doing it! If you’re comfortable with sharing, please leave a comment below!
Inspired by The Financial Diet’s How to Better Yourself Without Hating Who You Already Are, my work husband, & a team who has been so patient as I work on myself to be a better leader.