Monday, November 10, 2014

Consistent Variable

You are the consistent variable in all of your interactions, successes, failures and near-misses. If you are human and breathing you are bound to face many life challenges that elicit your characteristic patterns of behavior - some that move you forward and some that keep you stuck. Many of my career transformation and organizational development clients are skilled at unintentionally recreating their historical family of origin dynamic via their work culture and peers.  (Personally, I have experienced this same force at work during various times in my life.) It’s highly likely you have also experienced this assembly of a family of origin representational “cast of characters” in the various areas of your life, the individuals who take you by surprise and render you temporarily unresourceful.

When you engage with your unique “cast of characters,” you are essentially transported back to an earlier time in life when you had limited physical/emotional resources, skills and options. As this unanticipated time travel occurs, a very human tendency is to respond in the present with mindsets, resources and skills from your past. The impact of this regression to the past is rarely pleasant, often including an unsettling combination of behaviors: misinterpretation and personalization of data, words, intentions and behavior; communication breakdowns; and, unintentional self-sabotage. Although the “cast of characters” and circumstances may change, the consistent variable in this detrimental equation is ultimately you.

The good news is that just because you are the consistent variable in your life equation, you are not destined to repeat the past. Through commitment, awareness, strategic/informed action, practice and ongoing adjustment, you can learn to develop new habitual responses to situations that have historically served to disempower you. I invite you to consider the brief and iterative process detailed below. This process will ultimately serve to rewire your brain, build new more functional pathways and dismantle familiar no longer needed ones.
1.      Commitment: Transformation is activated by your commitment to change. You recognize that your old way of being in the world in no longer providing the benefits you currently desire and you commit to intentionally modify your behavior.

2.      Awareness: Self- and other-awareness regarding when your unique “cast of characters” gets activated in your world, as well as your habitual response to their words and actions. Self-awareness includes your personal narrative regarding the meaning of others’ words, communication style and behavior, information and data that you tend to personalize or distort and your characteristic manner of interacting with your personal “cast of characters.” Awareness also includes your generating an engaging vision for the other side of change.

3.      Strategic/Informed Action: It’s normal and natural when faced with your “cast of characters” to be more reactive than proactive. A significant aspect of being strategic is learning to slow down when you feel the pull to reactively respond. Slowing down empowers you to strategically choose an action/response that aligns with your vision for change; it also provides the time to evaluate outcomes from your prior reactive behavior. Informed action steps become clear as you view your situation from a more neutral meta-perspective; this viewpoint provides a means to choose behaviors that organically lead you toward your desired outcome.

4.      Practice: Practicing your self-awareness and strategic/informed action behaviors and mindset facilitates the forming of new improved neuro-pathways, as well as the dismantling of historical no longer needed pathways. This process occurs over time, requiring patience, perseverance and periodic visits to your original vision and commitment. Over time, your new narrative expands to include behaviors directly leading to your vision of success.

5.      Ongoing Adjustment: Adjustment is a lifelong process as you continue to accomplish your goals, adapt to internal and external changes and generate new visions for the various aspects of your life. The added bonus of ongoing adjustment is that others will increasingly notice how different you are and will be curious about your growth, success and overall expansion.

You are the consistent variable in all of your interactions, successes, failures and near-misses. You do not have to live in the present driven by habits and resources from the past. I invite you to follow the five steps detailed above and enjoy your desired results.


For related posts, please check out the following links:

Optimal Performance Fundamentals
Courage Revisited

Defining Moments



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