Have you tried changing from the inside out?
What does changing from the inside out mean? – Think of some of the things you might have tried to change over the years: being more assertive; more relaxed about your workload; more organised; or stopping smoking; losing weight; exercising more. Traditional training and coaching focuses on changing the behaviours or developing new behaviours, without necessarily dealing with the thoughts, beliefs and feelings within you which are driving your current behaviour or stopping you from changing.
I once saw a demonstration on a NLP course about someone wanting to give up smoking. Through the session the individual realised that they strongly associated smoking with being a teenager and being rebellious. And although they were in their 50s, deep down they did not want to give up, as they still wanted to see themselves as a rebellious character and different from everyone else. It was not until they worked on the inside dealing with their beliefs that they were going to be able to stop smoking and still feel rebellious!
What have you tried to change but found it difficult to do?
‘If you believe it will work out, you'll see opportunities. If you believe it won't, you'll see obstacles.' Dr Wayne W Dyer
How can you change from the inside out? – There are a number of aspects to the process of inside out change:
- Self awareness – you need to become aware of your thoughts, beliefs, feelings and the impact that these have on your behaviour. What are you thinking right now? How are you feeling right now? How do your thoughts and feelings link to your beliefs? How does this all impact on your behaviour?
- Be honest with yourself – you need to be open and frank with yourself about what you are really thinking and feeling. Denial won't help you to work from the inside out. Sometimes working with a coach or counsellor can help you with this process.
- Understanding that you are in control – you need to believe that you have control over how you think and feel, rather than putting the controls of your life outside yourself. When you feel negative emotions, what do you usually link them to?
- Transform your beliefs – be ready to transform and challenge any beliefs you have that limit and hinder you from changing. Think of something you want to change or have in your life: are your beliefs supporting or hindering you in achieving this?
- Be aware of the impact of mood – sometimes this is about supporting and nurturing yourself when you feel down or life has dealt you a few blows. At other times it is about taking action to lift and transform your mood to support you in your endeavour.
Which of these are you good at doing? Which do you need to do more of?
‘The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his mind.' William James
Why is inside out change more effective? – It is about getting to the root cause of a problem or change that you want to make, rather than tinkering around with the behaviour. I use Robert Dilt's Logical Levels of Change model on my courses and with coaching clients. Click here to see how I used it in the November 2006 edition of Inspire, where the model is related to Working Effectively Under Pressure. From my personal experience, and working with clients, once you have changed on the inside, changing your behaviour is easy and often happens without conscious thought.
The inside out approach to problems – When we face problems we can react in a number of ways either blaming the other people involved, the situation or ourselves. Or we end up thinking we must try harder or that ‘this is hopeless, I give up'. An inside out approach is about asking yourself:
- What does this situation tell me about myself?
- What are my thoughts and beliefs about the situation, about the people involved, and myself? Are these beliefs helping or hindering me?
- How are my thoughts and beliefs impacting on my ability to handle this problem?
- How are my feelings, emotions and mood impacting on my ability to handle this problem?
- What can I do to transform my beliefs and thoughts, so that they support and help me?
‘Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.' Leo Tolstoy
Some practical examples – An inside out approach can be taken with just about anything in life:
- In challenging interactions – your beliefs about yourself and the other person will have a profound affect on how you react and how effectively you communicate and handle the situation.
- In selling or negotiating – your thoughts and beliefs will impact on how you feel, behave, your ability to build rapport with a client or customer, how you communicate and how they feel towards you. What goes on inside you can literally make or break a sales situation. Click here for a new article on Inside Out Selling based on our new training programme and see the right hand column for more information.
- Working towards deadlines – when your back is up against the wall, you need to be able to think clearly and act decisively. However, if you start to let the pressure overwhelm you and you start to feel stressed, you are not going to be performing at your best. Therefore learning to manage your thoughts and your mood will assist you in working effectively, efficiently and even end up enjoying it!
- Managing your mood and motivation – It is easy to blame your mood on the rainy weather, your sports team losing at the weekend, losing a deal or someone else annoying you. But that is putting the controls of your mood and your life outside of yourself. You can choose how you react to these events, you can learn ways to manage your mood and motivation. Click here for hints and tips from our website to assist you with this.
What problems do you face, or changes do you want to make, where an inside out approach would be useful?
‘To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.' Confucius
Do you want to change from the inside out?
- Your leadership and management style
- Your presentation skills
- Your assertiveness
- Your ability to balance work and life demands
For training and coaching call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email email@example.com to arrange a time to speak in confidence. For more information about Grovelands visit our website: www.grovelands.org.uk