I’ve always been considered the black sheep of my family. There was always something that was different about me than the rest of my family. It seems I was always too much of something…
I was too quiet when I was extremely young, too introverted and independent when I was a teen, too opinionated when I was in my twenties and started to find the courage to use my voice… the list goes on. If you’re here reading this, you can likely relate in some way.
Fast forward a decade or so when I started out in business and was constantly told by business coaches that I had to make myself heard. I had to do video.
That was going to be a problem. I was convinced I was too much for people. That I was too direct, too opinionated, too forceful and that I’d scare everyone off. After all, a proper lady isn’t any of those things or so I was told growing up… what the hell does that even mean, anyway!?!?
So when it came time to do video, let’s just say I had to get over a few things!
If I was to make any mark on these internet business streets I was going to need to shift my perspective and change my self-talk. But changing decades of behaviour is not a quick fix.
Lasting change happens when we take accountability for where we are and how we got here.
Otherwise, despite leaving the environment we don’t like, we soon find ourselves right back there again or in a similar one.
But interrupting those old stories we tell is difficult.
The good news is with effort you can always change it.
A belief is just a thought you keep thinking. A behaviour is just an action you keep taking.
Both were learned and so, both can be unlearned and replaced with better ones.
Whether it is as simple as starting a morning meditation practice, an exercise routine or preventing yourself from sabotaging new career opportunities or romantic relationships coming your way, you have to be vigilant about the stories rising up that get in your way.
The key is to catch yourself in the midst of your story or limiting belief and stop it in its tracks.
Remember to exercise a little self-compassion here as you build new habits. It’s a process! You didn’t get here overnight and you won’t get rid of it that quick either.
Here are 5 practical and effective ways to do it that really work. Both my clients and I have used these with great success. Have a look:
- Observe yourself. Be aware of how you respond to what is showing up for you. See yourself as a third party who has no attachment to the emotions and thoughts that pass through your mind. Let them pass in and out without holding on to them as if they’re clouds in the sky moving overhead. The cloud visual is a fantastic one to introduce the life-changing concept of non-attachment into your life.
- Snap out of it. It is the old rubber band trick. Put a rubber band on your wrist and when you, for example, notice you are engaging in negative self-talk, snap it. The goal is to do it while you are in the middle of the thought and it brings you back to the present moment immediately. I have had clients who swear by it and I’ve seen their changed behaviour to prove it.
- Recognize patterns. No matter what it is you are trying to change, consciously notice how often and in what circumstances this belief or behaviour shows up in your life. If you know when to expect it, you can plan how you will deal with it when it inevitably shows up.
- Shout “No”. I have done this to change so many behaviours in my life! It’s my personal go-to. Notice when you are in that negativity or telling yourself the old story. As soon as you notice, shout NO out loud. Stops it in its tracks! Pro-tip: this has to be done out loud. It is so much more effective that way. It commands a different level of your attention.
- Divert your attention. It doesn’t get simpler than this. Place your focus on something and that is where your energy goes. When you notice you are in that old belief stop what you are doing and pick up something that will take your mind off it. It works best when it is something you have to do physically where your mind must be engaged. So, for example, exercise isn’t a good option for this tool because your mind can easily wander. I had a client who has PTSD and he did woodworking which is a perfect example: he had to be in the moment doing the work to get the right measurements, make the right cuts. Complete distraction that worked every time.
A few tips to make this work for you…
Do not think that each of these is a “one-and-done” approach to changing your belief system!
It may take dozens of times of doing any one of these before you will see a difference.
When you finally start to see the difference in your behaviour, you will want to continue it because it is so effective and gets easier the more you use it.
The ability to change anything in your life lies completely in your hands.
Make how you show up in this world worthy of who you say you want to be.
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