January 2017

Stop New Year's Resolutions... Break Old Patterns Instead

If this headline caught your attention, you probably know that making New Year's resolutions rarely work.  It may be time to try something new...

Break Through

Are you noticing patterns that signal a need for change?  Doing the same things and anticipating a different result? If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.  I know these may sound like tired clichés, but the points are significant.  Our  patterns are formed from past experiences, and we tend to repeat them even when we know they are no longer serving us.  Until we stop and identify our patterns, it's hard to recognize what  needs to shift.  Breaking old patterns include new thinking, new perspectives, new actions or  new behaviors.

I recently worked with a leader who struggled to be influential with a group of his peers.  Because he had a habit of talking too much, his great points would get lost in his constant chatter.  And... these peers are extremely important to the successful achievement of his goals.   I challenged him to think about new ways he might approach this group to see if he could achieve a better outcome by doing things differently on his end.  He decided to try asking questions from a curiosity perspective and to maintain an open opportunity for dialogue and collaboration.  He has real talent strengths in relationship building, but had not recognized how to use these talents with this group.  He had built a pattern of preparing only his perspective and points every time he met with them.

He told me his new approach is changing everything.  No surprise.  The 'all about me' atmosphere was replaced with a collaborative one.   His focus on curiosity questions allowed him to recognize new input he hadn't heard before, allowing for clarification of the issues.  He's on the way to new and better relationships with this group... A win for all.

 Idea to Try

Take yourself off 'automatic pilot' and see if you discover some old patterns to break that can be replaced with some simple shifts

  • Make some notes over the next several weeks of your most common patterns - those things you do repeatedly, and perhaps unconsciously  (If you have trouble with this, ask someone close to you to help you identify your patterns - they will likely give you lots to choose from!)
  • Take a look at the list and see if you can identify how the pattern started (sometimes our patterns are formed from a single experience that when repeated over time become unconscious habits that become ineffective)
  • Review the list again, and make some check marks next to the ones that you'd like to start breaking
  • Pick an easy one first, and create some new alternatives (could be as simple as my client - changing his approach with a peer group using some clarifying questions)  
  • Expect to feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but be aware of how it feels to break the pattern and experience a new (and usually better) result
  • Then repeat the process with the other patterns you identified and start operating from a clear and conscious state!

"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future." - Deepak Chopra

Are you achieving the results you want?
The best leaders make simple shifts or practical changes for big results.  I work closely with leaders to create practical solutions to achieve real success. Let me help you discover what's possible. Visit my website www.terrihughes.com for details.

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