My whole career has been built on the principle that, yes, they can. It’s not easy, and habits can be very hard to break, but we can do it.
The first step is to believe that it is possible. If you hold the belief that you can’t change, then you are probably right. If you hold the belief that you can, then you are probably right, too. Believe that it’s possible though or you will be stuck with the same patterns of behaviour for ever. Which is absolutely fine, if it’s working for you but not so fine if you are feeling fed up and disgruntled with the hand life has dealt you.
I have written an exercise in RenewYou which looks at beliefs we hold about ourselves. I call it Internal Spam Mail. You know the kind of thing:
“You can’t do that…women like me never get the breaks… I’m too old to learn new tricks….they think I’m stupid…my bum looks massive in this…”
The point of the exercise is to recognise when we’re doing it, and then help ourselves to change the unhelpful spam message into something more positive and inspiring. And it works!
When I worked with youngsters who had experienced trauma and loss in their short lives, we would often make a life story book, looking at the significant events of their lives. Usually these kids had had no control over what happened to them and many of them had had experiences you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. The life story work had many purposes, but one was to help them understand that they could take back some control of their lives in the future and not see themselves as helpless victims of their past. It helped them to reclaim their past and thereby have some impact on their future. I do it with grown ups now.
Don’t Get Stuck
I sometimes coach women who have had a difficult life by any standards. Some are stuck, feeling that they can’t throw this off; their early experiences of life are continuing to haunt and inform everything they do. Conversely, I have been privileged to work with some amazing people who have had equally devastating experiences but have made a decision not to let this ruin the rest of their lives, and to use it in a positive fashion. They have let the negative experiences make them stronger. Once we realise that this is possible the world suddenly seems a less daunting place.
It’s both simple and complicated. We cannot stop the bad stuff happening, or erase the fact that is has happened to us. However, we can make a conscious decision as to how we let it affect us now, and in our future. That way we stop being a victim and start being a winner. As dear old Epictetus said:
We are not touched so much by life events but by the view we choose to take of them.
Put yourself back in control of you and you career, it’s your life. Grab it, be the best that you can be!
PS Picture, in case you need telling, is from Snoopy, Schultz.inc. Don’t you love him!
Posted on November 8th, 2016 by Jane