01 Mar Be The Change That You Want To See
Today I feel compelled to give an update on my last blog, which talked about my dear personal coaching client whose severely unwanted behaviours have been eating away at her emotional and physical health for the last 4 years.
At first, I wondered why I was her very last port of call before she reached the point of seemingly no return. Had she really run out of friends and family who cared about her? She certainly seemed to have replaced her true, lifelong friends with a new bunch who not only shared her questionable values and destructive behaviours, but encouraged them. Her family were now struggling to stay alongside and support her and, because of her inability to hold down a job, she had no work colleagues to relate to.
Knowing her friends and family well, I know that they still cared. It was more a case of distancing themselves from her because they were fearful of the risk and embarrassment of being amongst her behaviour, and they had exhausted their supplies of the courage and knowledge to deal with it – even though they wanted to help and knew it was the right thing to do.
If someone you know and love was treading a similar path to self-destruction, would you have the faith in yourself to dig deep enough to do the right thing and support them? Short answer is, it’s hard. Super hard.
My client was living in a ‘coma’ of self-justification and blame mentality. In her world, she wasn’t interested in catching herself doing anything wrong. Everyone else was the problem. Her solution was to self-medicate with drink and substances, then sleep it off for days at a time. Then to repeat the prescription.
As this behaviour snowballed, her problem and her solution also snowballed – to the point where she lost connection with her friends and family and she gravitated towards a new group of like-minded blamers and substance abusers who reinforced their black-spot behaviours together.
This may seem an extreme instance of unwanted behaviours, but similarities crop up in all kinds of day to day life; what about the group of rumour-mongers and backstabbers you might encounter at work for example – the ‘actively disengaged’ as we call them? These people attract more of the same type, and their negative attitude and behaviour becomes more engrained, more defensive and closed, making it more difficult for their colleagues to do the right thing and deal with it.
So, how do you breakthrough and deal with it? Here’s some Stalkie strategies towards being the change you want to see and being a force for good:
- Have the courage to put the subject on the table in a non-aggressive manner. Coming from a place of good isn’t about being perceived as the winner. It’s about aligning each other
- From the start, set the ground rules for the conversation. Agree that neither party will walk away without a mutually beneficial outcome
- You can’t change history, so don’t bring it up and beat yourselves up in the process. Don’t recite where it’s all gone wrong in order to score points
- Separate the unwanted behaviour from the person – talking about the behaviour as a 3rd party is less personal and will detach it from the person’s heart, reducing the chances of conflict between you
- Only use open questions to open up the person’s desire to talk about it – good examples are: What happened? Why did it happen? How did it happen? How do you feel about it?
- KEY POINT. Your outcome is to make the person acknowledge their behaviour, then to acknowledge that they have the power to choose their response to any situation. From an early age, we are ‘stimulus response’ beings – we react to a situation or an event, BUT we have a moment in time after the stimulus to choose the response to it that will best serve us and our values (to blame or not to blame for example). Self-acknowledging their behaviour means we can then agree the benefits of changing it
- If we need more leverage to change the behaviour, then associate pain with the unwanted behaviour: ask the person to visualise vividly where their current behaviour will take them in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and 25 years’ time? (For my client it would have been potentially catastrophic – a junkie with no friends, family or relationships based on care and trust, ill health, no job, no chance of bringing up a healthy, happy family, no money or the security that it brings (such as a warm house and food on the table)… I won’t go on. I’m sure you get the picture
- Empower the person with the desire to replace that behaviour with a new set of behaviours. Reinforce this by getting them to say and write down what they would replace their current behaviour with, eg ‘I used to blame/bitch/drink too much. Now I am open, honest, selfless and have a healthy diet and enjoy exercising with my friends and II have learnt from my experiences’
- Agree that these new behaviours are the mutually beneficial outcome that you desire and hen set about agreeing the timeline and organising the practicalities to deliver them
I can only go so far to articulating 30 years of experience and case studies in a (longer than usual) blog, but I would encourage you with all my heart to come from a place of good and use this information whenever you witness a loved one, friend or colleague falling victim to unwanted behaviours. Being the change you want to see can become a welcome addiction.
I would love the opportunity to support you in becoming the architect and builder of the most fulfilled and happiest life you could wish for.
That’s why I have devised the Improve Your Life Now! programme which is full of tools such as those described in this blog. You can receive 14 days of FREE video coaching, a FREE workbook and goals chart, all geared towards creating the life you deserve. All details are on my website www.paulstalker.com
Love the day.
Paul ‘Stalkie’ Stalker
The Mindset Man.