We talked last time about being your own hero and hopefully you’ve started to realise that this is your choice.
All very well, you might say, but how do you make the change from victim to hero if it’s in any way scary or you think it’s “too hard”? In other words – painful!
You need to get LEVERAGE on yourself to forge ahead, even if the journey will take you into unknown territory, even if you know the going will be tough and likely cause a shake up in your “business as usual” and maybe even in your relationships.
It’s important to get the leverage to go forward by taking new actions because if you don’t you’ll keep doing the same things, which means that you’ll keep getting the same results. (Some say that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results….) If you’re happy with your “results” rock on. If not, you’ll need to do some different things, otherwise over time this will lead to frustration, anger and “learned helplessness” (giving up and accepting your “fate”).
A great way to motivate yourself to take new actions to create change is to use pain and pleasure.
“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.”
“What you link pain to and what you link pleasure to shapes your destiny.”
Create the perception of more pain around not changing than around changing
As human beings, we are programmed to do more to avoid pain than we will to seek pleasure. Knowing this gives us the ability to use pain and pleasure to create leverage.
If we can create the realisation that our pain will be greater if we don’t change than if we do, then we will get the motivation we need to make the change. We will only change once we hit this “emotional threshold.” I’ve seen people get this realisation before my very eyes and in that moment I know that they WILL make their positive change.
So what you need to do is:
Turn up the pain associated with where you are now.
Turn up the pleasure associated with making the change.
Ask yourself some pain questions
When people really want to change, but are either afraid of doing so or unmotivated to do what it takes, these are some very powerful questions you can ask yourself:
- What is choosing not to change costing me right now?
- What will happen if I keep going down this path?
- What will this choice cost me in 1 year? In 5 years? In 10?
- What will I no longer be tolerating if I make a different choice/do this differently?
Really face the answers you get. You need the realisations gleaned in the answers to these questions to hurt intensely if you are to make the shift. The pain of this has to be more than you are prepared to tolerate. You have to reach that point where you make the decision to change – this is when pain becomes your friend (yes, really) – something you can use to drive new action and produce new results.
Ask yourself some pleasure questions
This is about opening up your mind to the positive consequences of taking new actions to create the change. Thinking about what that could give you. Go there!
You could ask yourself:
- If I was to do this differently, how would that make me feel?
- What would be the biggest bonus of doing this differently?
- What might I get to experience if I make a different choice?
- What new opportunities might open up if I do something different?
I think that people often struggle to think about this bit. It seems to be easier to conjure up the thought of pain than to conjure up the thought of pleasure. But if you can use both, then your levers will be a lot more powerful.
You’ve hit your emotional threshold and are now clear that you will be taking some different actions and making different decisions going forward. What next?
That depends totally on where you want to head!
In the words of Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) you need to “begin with the end in mind”. You’ll only know which actions to take if you’ve considered where you want to head and why.