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Struggling with change? Ever thought you could be the problem?

Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

Struggling with change? Ever thought you could be the problem?

Struggling with change? Ever thought you could be the problem?

by Moyra Mackie on July 1, 2013

Is there anything in your life that you really, really want to change?

Do you believe you have the power to change so that you achieve the things you really want to achieve?

Or do you believe that change is unlikely because the situation is just too complex or too difficult?

Take a moment to seriously consider your responses to those questions. Perhaps even note them down as we’ll come back to them in a minute.

In the meantime, I want to throw something at you.

When it comes to change, we are our own worst enemy

Dr Eric Berne’s research in the 1960s revealed that from early childhood we develop a script about ourselves that is shaped by things said to us by our parents and other influential figures in our lives at that time.

This is the beginning of our belief structure and, because this structure is formed so early, we begin to think that what we believe is reality.

So, did you believe that you had the power to change the things that are making you frustrated or unhappy?

If not, why not?

The answer to that might well identify one of your key beliefs.

The only reason this belief holds any power over you is because you’ve decided or agreed that it is true. Other people, elsewhere, might come to a different conclusion.

What else might you believe to be true?

  • Working hard is the key to success
  • Time is money
  • Being an adult is about being responsible, not about having fun
  • Showing emotion is a sign of weakness
  • Getting it 100% right is what matters
  • Being nice to others is imperative

Many people are often stalled in their attempts to learn and grow because they are not aware of the script they are playing out, the beliefs that are holding them back.

As Tony Robbins says:

“The past does not equal the future, unless you live there.”

If we live by limiting beliefs formed in the past, conscious or subconscious, we are doomed to repeat the results of the past over and over.

And you form another belief: change cannot happen because it’s just the way things are.

Coaches have a powerful role to play in challenging belief structures and supporting change

Coaches ask clients to question their assumptions and values and spend time reflecting on what would happen if these beliefs were rejected, in favour of different outcomes.

One such coaching question might be:

“If you knew you couldn’t possibly fail, what would you try?”

You can use your own Inner Coach to challenge your attitude to change

It might help to think of your limiting beliefs as your Inner Critic.

In order to change and to feel motivated and in control of your life choices, it may help to listen more to your Inner Coach – the encouraging, supporting part of your inner thoughts.

Your Inner Critic will never go away completely, but you can learn to control it and reduce its negative power.

How can you be coached to change?

It was Carl Jung who said:

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

So becoming aware of your own limiting beliefs is an important start point.

Some common limiting beliefs are:

  • The feeling of not having enough
  • The feeling of not being …. enough
  • Having to work hard for a living
  • Not deserving your success

Pay attention to the language in your script

Write down the thoughts you have about the things around you that you would like to be different.

What kind of words are you using? Are you generalising? Or using extreme descriptions such as “everybody”, “nobody”, “never”, “always”?

If so, you are being controlled by your Inner Critic. Let your Inner Coach take control by rephrasing your sentences:

  • Become specific (avoid “they”)
  • Use “I” sentences and add “can” or “will”
  •  Be realistic by focusing on what you can control (and there is always something you can control)

Accept that change is hard

You are overcoming a lifetime of programming, so don’t be at all surprised when your Inner Critic tries to re-assert your old beliefs.

Calmly acknowledge your feelings and return to re-framing your responses by focusing on your Inner Coach.

And if your Inner Coach needs some support, call on an external coach

We are here to help you change, to show you what is possible, to support your move into areas that you had never previously considered.

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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