All businesses, large and small, are comprised of people. All people develop patterns of behavior in their lives. Thus, whatever personal behavioral challenges an individual faces are also likely to be expressed in the work environment. These patterns can dramatically affect the success of any business.
Most behavior patterns operate automatically, without our conscious attention or thought. While some of our patterns support our success on the job, others do not. This article is about the latter, the ones you would like to change, but have not been able to, so far.
Following are four steps that have been proven effective in enabling people to change unwanted behavior patterns that are expressed in the work environment.
STEP ONE: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
What specific transformation do you want to achieve? For example, do you want to shift from: Stressful/anxious to calm/focused; indecisive to certain; fearful to courageous; lethargic to energized; sad/depressed to joyous; procrastinating to taking action; or some other shift that will benefit your business success?
Once you have decided, write down the transformation you MUST accomplish. Your description of the outcome should be specific and measurable. Your powerful unconscious mind will seek to create exactly what you want.
It’s likely that what has prevented you from changing this behavior is that you feel it would be more painful to change your current behavior than to continue with it. What are the disempowering: questions you ask yourself; images you make in your mind; self-talk you create; memories that haunt you; rules/beliefs you have; physiologies you maintain; states you experience; anchors/triggers you have. Also, consider what: conflicts you may be experiencing in your values; old habits you have that are on autopilot (where you feel stuck); people around you say/do; or, if you experience a feeling of hopelessness … where you have been so “stuck” for so long that you have just resigned yourself to the conclusion, “That’s just who I am.”
STEP TWO: YOUR “BIG WHY”
The primary reason you have not succeeded in changing this behavior is … your WHY (reason) is not big enough. Thus, it is extremely important to grow your WHY to be so BIG and compelling that you become 100% committed to changing your behavior so you can be more successful in your career and that you are willing to do whatever it takes! You need to get leverage on yourself. To grow your WHY you should:
- First, list your top 5 values, in order. How does your current behavior conflict with one of your top values, beliefs, or principles that you live by?
- Second, associate maximum pain to not changing. For example: How is your high stress level affecting your health? How is your anger affecting your relationships with co-workers? How is your procrastination/fear of taking action affecting your job performance? How is your insecurity about your skills and talents impacting your chances for career advancement? How much pain is your current behavior causing now? Be descriptive, graphic. What will your FUTURE be like, if you don’t change? FEEL the pain. Make this REAL, UGLY, FRIGHTENING in your mind.
- Third, associate maximum pleasure to changing. Manage your focus – create a powerful, internal movie of success, one that really excites you. See yourself having a positive influence on your co-workers. Notice how you now talk, look, and feel at work and how you interact with your boss. Tell yourself how proud you are that you have achieved your goal. Feel the success running through your body. Replay this movie in your mind regularly and frequently, with intensity and powerful, positive emotion. Manage your physiology – Adopt the physiology of success. Walk, talk, stand and breathe like you are a huge success. Fake it until you make it.
- Fourth, continue to reinforce your WHY until you are ready to commit to changing … now! The following 3 beliefs are critical to the process: (a) Something must change! (b) I must change it! (c) I can change it! Finish this statement: I ABSOLUTELY MUST change this behavior NOW because …. Once you are totally committed to your outcome, make your commitment public. Tell your boss, your co-workers, family/friends that you are 100% committed to this outcome. You may also choose to request their support in achieving it.
STEP THREE: INTERRUPT THE PATTERN AND A CREATE NEW ONE
What (trigger/anchor) causes the behavior to start? What is it that “makes you” …? Is it something you: see, hear, feel, smell, or taste?
When the trigger occurs, immediately and dramatically interrupt your pattern by doing something unusual/different. To do this, you can change your:
- FOCUS – What you focus on is what you get. To do this you can: ask yourself better questions; create a new movie in your mind; transform your self-talk (e.g., “That’s not me!”); or change the meaning of, or your perspective of, the trigger.
- PHYSIOLOGY – Pump your fist; take deep breaths; act as if you have already achieved the outcome and jump into your new physiology; change your facial expressions. Behave like a winner.
- BELIEFS – Is this belief serving you? How does it make you feel/ behave? Associate pain to old belief, pleasureto new one. Challenge old references and create new ones.
Substitute a new, more empowering behavior. Write down your strategy for creating your outcome.
STEP FOUR: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
The final step is most important. You must practice repeatedly, until your new behavior is consistent, automatic, natural, habitual … until this is who you are. This repetition strengthens the new neural pathway in your brain for your new behavior pattern.
To support you in consistently practicing your new behavior pattern you can:
- Celebrate every step forward.
- Anchor success in your mind by: (a) drawing a picture of future results from your new behavior and post it on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, desk at work, or wherever else you will regularly see it; (b) making an audio recording of empowering questions/ statements in your own voice then listening to it frequently throughout the day; and (c) replaying your success movie (in your head) regularly throughout the day.
- Get support via encouragement from family, friends.
Most importantly … ENJOY THE PROCESS of creating a successful career, or business!!!