Sticking to change doesn't necessarily mean a constant effort
Worrying what others think of you can have a great impact on your life, from not following your passion, to not speaking up and expressing yourself, to going out of your way to make sure everyone’s needs are taken care of and neglecting your own.
But it doesn’t have to be this way
Here are some examples of recent client experiences:
August 1st 2019:
I’m worried too often what other people think of me
September 9th 2019:
I was away at a conference. I knew no-one. And everyone in attendance were veteran professionals in the industry. I spoke to a lot of people. I was comfortable, it was effortless, there was no anxiety. I felt like I owned the room
Linda R. (Connecticut)
November 15th 2019:
I get started on different projects but don’t follow through to completion
December 18th 2019:
Got email sent out to my list. It was one of those things I kept on putting off. I did it for the third time in as many weeks and really enjoyed the process
Joy B. (New York)
August 23rd 2019:
I’m afraid of putting myself out there with thoughts of what others will say
October 12th 2019:
Doing videos, promoting myself and feeling no anxiety whatsoever. I feel excited about how I can make them fun and interesting
Danielle C. (California)
So how do clients change in such a quick amount of time and what can we do?
First off, lets look at what we usually do when we identify an area that we want to change.
We will use the following common undesirable behaviour as an example:
“I want to speak up, but I’m afraid of what others are going to say about me, are they going to judge me?”
How do we usually deal with this?
We seek advice from friends and family, who are well-meaning, however the usual advice is “just do it, just speak up”, “say what’s on your mind, they’re probably thinking about themselves anyway”
We go to to public speaking events, eventually mustering up the courage to speak, feeling nervous until we are ready to go on. After a few months our public speaking skills are much better in this environment, however when we are outside this environment are fears, nerves and anxieties are still present.
We put ourselves “out there” - we try out different events, we go to workshops, seminars, Meet Ups
We do our own research, we read self-help books, affirmations, motivational quotes, we google “how to stop caring what others think”.
And a few other things, such as meditations, visualisations, retreats etc
And while these may work, at least in the short-term, there is a constant effort and you have to work on it
Why is there a constant effort and is there a better way?
To explain, we will use Sigmund Freud’s model of the mind1. Our brain is split into three levels; the conscious mind, the pre-conscious mind and the subconscious mind. For this purpose we will be focusing on the conscious and subconscious mind.
1. McLeod, S. A. (2015). Unconscious mind. Simply psychology:
Our mind is like an iceberg where the 90% that is below the surface represents our subconscious mind and the 10% above represents our conscious mind. When we try to change our undesirable behaviour, we focus primarily on the conscious mind (the top of the iceberg). We learn new information, we read books, go to seminars - we are trying to effect our conscious mind. In other words we focus on the 10% of the mind, ignoring the other 90%.
The constant effort, comes from when what is in our subconscious mind is not in alignment, with what is in our conscious mind.
In our subconscious mind, there are beliefs*, that we originally formed early on in life, that are running our conscious mind.
(*A belief is our generalised view of how we see the world)
So beliefs are stored in our subconscious. Both positive and negative beliefs. Its these negative beliefs that have such a pull on us. Negative beliefs such as I’m not capable, People aren’t interested in what I have to say, If I say what's on my mind I’ll be rejected.
It is beliefs such as those listed above, that will cause us to worry what others think of us, have us fearful of speaking up and saying what’s on our mind.
This is why trying to take action by reading more books, going to seminar (in other words affecting things at the conscious level) requires a great deal of willpower, especially if we have our negative beliefs below the surface running us.
Once we start to eliminate the beliefs, we eliminate those things that are holding us back, so that we are able to take action, as our conscious and subconscious mind will be in alignment.
What can you do?
Here is a little exercise, that will take a little effort on your part, but I promise the personal insight you will gain from this will be awesome and you will see which beliefs are driving your undesirable behaviour.
Step 1: Identify your undesirable pattern. (A pattern is something that you repeatedly to, or at least do often enough)
To identify your pattern:
- Grab a notebook, your phone, a pen and start jotting down your negative self-thoughts for the day, in different situations that you find yourself in
Examples of patterns include:
- I know what I need to do and don’t do it and focus on something less relevant
- Berating myself when making mistakes
- Fearful of stating my opinion, am I coming across too strong
Step 2: Look at the pattern that you wrote down.
Look at the thoughts related to that pattern. What are the constant thoughts that are coming up?
Here is an example:
Step 1. My pattern is:
When I’m ready to present myself, especially when it comes to public speaking, I feel that others are judging me and I can’t wait to finish
Step 2. I’ve noticed that the main thoughts that are coming up are:
I can’t do anything right > Belief: I’m not capable
I better not make a mistake here > Belief: Mistakes and Failures are bad
No one wants to hear me > Belief: People don’t want to hear what's on my mind
By doing this exercise, you will get a great insight into what is constantly playing in your mind, those things that are on constant loop and an amazing awareness into what is driving your undesirable pattern.