Deeply embedded in my coaching approach are 10 principles around transformation. I’d love to share these with you and encourage you to take one action to explore the principle further. Just to get you into the mindset of experimenting, a little…
Principle No. 1: Acknowledge and appreciate where you are now.
I start with this concept first as its potentially the trickiest concept to grasp. It may seem contrary or a paradox to why you’re here with me now. You’ve come seeking change because something isn’t working in your life, and I get that. Many of us spend a lot of time in the past dwelling on what we’ve missed, screwed up, or regret and want to leave it all behind. Many of us also live life in the future by planning, dreaming, wishing for things to be different – I know this one well, as I can be a future dweller!
However, let’s spend time appreciating and acknowledging who you are and what you have now. See, if we can’t sit with the accomplishments, failures, learnings we’ve had so far and truly appreciate each of these experiences, we’re going to struggle to do the same when we actually achieve what it is we seek. It will always seem elusive, not good enough, that there is more to do. When in actual fact, I wholeheartedly believe you are enough, you are special, you are clever and capable, now.
You know yourself better than anyone else on this planet, and this exercise will help you to appreciate all of who you are.
When I work with people through career transitions, I encourage people not to ‘diss’ their foundation, people think that all they’ve done isn’t worthwhile for what they want to do in the future, and actually it’s all the warm up work, there is so much richness in all your experiences that will help shape your future.
Experiment a little… Write down everything that you can appreciate in your life. And get really specific on the details, don’t just write because I have a partner, write what it is about that relationship and them you adore, why it makes a difference in your life. Now you may end up with a few bullet points or pages, either is great, but really soak up the time and effort to write this list, even include all the times in your life you’ve messed up or faced challenges, what can you look back and appreciate from that experience now?
Principle No. 2: We are all energy in motion
We’re all made up of energy, every person, plant, animal and item on the planet. There is a field of energy on this planet that gives form to all creation. You’re capable of creating what you want. Who you’re being impacts how your energy takes form.
If you’re aligned and taking inspired action towards the change you seek, there is flow and ease, and more available to you.
If you’re despondent, lacking belief, sluggish and reluctant, there is potentially chaos, hurdles and negativity that prevents you achieving what you want.
The calibration process will shift your energy to align it better with what it is you want to create and how you want to be. By placing your at-tention and in-tention on exactly what you’d like to create in your life, be it love or a partner, more structure, prosperity, a new job, better health, exercising more often – it will draw it closer to you.
Your at-tention energises and your in-tention transforms.
We’re going to create an energetic intention for your life, and consciously align your attention in the way you think, feel, connect and act, to allow your desire to take form.
Experiment a little… James Redfield said famously, “your energy flows where your attention goes”. Think about a time in your life when your ‘attention state’ determined the ‘energy state’ of the experience.
Principle No. 3: Take responsibility for the direction of your life
This may seem like a no-brainer but was quite enlightening to me when I was feeling lost in my late 20s. Before then, I’d bounced around reacting to situations and circumstances and caught in the traps of blame, excuses, denial and often putting my head in the sand hoping things would magically fix themselves. I treated people unfairly, made harsh judgments and did things I am certainly not proud of.
But there was a turning point, where I decided to take the reins and own the direction of my life. This meant I had to understand myself better, align to my values even when it’s really tough, set boundaries and show up as the best version of myself as much as possible. It was a massive discovery process.
There is now a difference in my energy, my posture and how I hold myself, and how I feel – many doubts have evaporated, people pleasing isn’t as prevalent. Others feel this and there is a harmony to how I am around others in my close relationships and even amongst strangers. In find that my conversations with others are more direct, honest and caring.
I’d love for you to share in these types of experiences also, all by taking responsibility for how you show up in each experience and align that back with your values.
Experiment a little… Identify one thing you have been avoiding taking responsibility for… something simple like making your bed (honestly I feel like I have won the day early when I leave the house tidy!), through to feedback you’re avoiding giving that’s causing more angst, or an apology for your part in an argument with your partner…
Principle No. 4: The only constant in life is change
A phrase coined hundreds of years ago by philosopher Heraclitus. And maybe it is a known given and really obvious thing to some, but I observe many of us still seem to dig in our heels on wanting things to stay the same. I think it’s wise to remind ourselves that change is the only constant (every once in a while). Even just reflecting on your emotional state over the course of a typical morning, not even a day. From how you’re feeling upon waking, to rolling out of bed, showering, to when you have a drink or something to eat, you may have changed states multiple times either consciously or not.
Did you know, that you’re also able to guide this change intentionally, yes, you can choose how to feel rather than reacting or being on auto-pilot. This was a lightbulb to me when I was made aware of it! We’re all able to choose how to respond in any circumstance. If we embrace change as growth, it makes claiming our emotional state easier to grasp and helps us feel more empowered.
Experiment a little… Just try it now, notice how you feel, and give it a description, a feeling word, and see if you can be more aware of your emotional transitions as you read the rest of these Principles. Just pause and connect, it can take just a few seconds.
Principle No. 5: Don’t let a crisis go by without learning the lessons
You’re here because there is something you’d like to shift, and while all of you may not see it as extreme as a crisis – it is a juncture where you’d like to see things change.
The human experience is to encounter challenges, it’s part of whole-hearted living, you can’t run from the difficulty (you can try, but after a while the difficulty will compound and you’ll really get a hit harder!) The challenge really lies in the choice you make at these junctures.
The choice to turn towards the crisis. To embrace it and all that may come as learnings, as growth and as new experiences. Or to pause and observe first. Or to remain stuck in the same old stories and potentially stagnate or even regress.
There is an opportunity to step into a new paradigm and way of being, when your choice is to learn from your challenges. I encourage and invite you to think about challenges not as a sucky, why me, and why does this keep happening? Instead, attempt to understand what’s behind it happening and how it’s a transformation point for you to look at choices you’re making, and do life differently. Embrace your experiences of change as growth!
Experiment a little… Pick one challenge you’ve faced (recently or in the past) and identify one way you grew from it.
Principle No. 6: Grief is part of the change process
Holy shit this is important. I have been wondering how to spice up the word grief into something more palatable for you, but I decided to just go with it. Grief often makes us think of loved ones we’ve lost. It’s messy, ugly, uncomfortable, hard, we don’t understand it, and quite frankly undesirable for many of us.
Well guess what, when we transform within ourselves we have to let go and relinquish parts of ourselves that are no longer helpful. We need to surrender, sever, transform, let go, release, get angry about it, be spontaneous, feel out of control, get sad, cry, laugh, forgive, scream, shout, erupt, that is grieving.
It isn’t linear and it often ain’t pretty. Along any change journey the experience of grief will come up for you, and I want you to know it will be okay and it’s normal. All of my coaching has frameworks to support this process.
Experiment a little… What is something you are fearful of losing if you make a change in your life?
Principle No. 7: Adaptability is a muscle we need to train
The pace of life is intense, it was fast before the pandemic years and it’s only sped up. There have been significant paradigm shifts around how we work and live, connect and build community. The pandemic has seen people go through rapid and often unforced change they couldn’t have predicted. You may resonate with some of these experiences. Have you felt isolated or disconnected? Has your family been separated, united to the point of no space from each other? People are noticing what is working and what is not in their lives, what their priorities are, relationships have broken down or thrived or survived a rollercoaster ride, work has shifted to hybrid and been restructured in ways we can’t even have imagined, we may not have even (or will never) meet our colleagues in person!
This isn’t all doom and gloom, some of these transitions have been hugely beneficial. There are movements around the globe forcing and encouraging us to be more inclusive, value diversity, and people’s varied experiences. It’s actually ‘humanising us’ to appreciate each other when there are differences, not just similarities.
All of this is forcing us to unlearn a lot of what we know, re-learn new ways of being, and to be more compassionate about how we do it. Compassionate towards ourselves and others. It’s a delicate time. Like any sort of strength training, adaptability also requires consistency. Being able to stay true to yourself amongst the chaos can be tricky, so knowing your values or what is important to you will help. Change requires you to adapt how you think, feel, connect and behave. So be ready for what lies ahead – it may just surprise and ignite you!
Experiment a little… What has been the most significant way you’ve had to adapt since March 2020?
Principle No. 8: Trust in yourself
Trust during change is SUCH a multi-layered principle to unpick. It’s especially important to understand when you’re making decisions, which happen constantly but when you’re in a calibration as you’re hyper aware of them. When you know what is important to you – your values, it allows you to align how you think, feel, act and trust yourself to progress. No matter the result. And this is the trust I am talking about, the way you commit to yourself, to be patient, to not sabotage your goals and dreams because it gets tough, to commit and stay course when your friends snicker or prioritise their fun and festivities over your choices to create a new or different path.
You can put in guardrails to help keep on track too. Say you commit to exercise in the morning, then go to bed on time, lay out your clothes, focus on how good you’ll feel after, get a buddy to join you. These are all the signals that demonstrate you can commit to your word. These build inner trust.
I spent a whole year with ‘trust’ as my intention word in 2014. Putting myself through crazy challenges, from moving city, meeting new people, training in yoga, starting my business in a whole new state, and what did I realise? There isn’t much to be scared of… A mantra I often internally repeat to myself is, ‘don’t abandon yourself in this moment, keep up and you will be kept up.’ Which is really about all the support out there being available to me, when I am available to myself. More often than not, the imaginings, stories, fears and illusions our own mind creates are far scarier than reality. If we tune into our resistance for too long, we deteriorate the trust we have in ourselves.
Just remember, the majority of people want to see you succeed and be happy in your life, so trust that they will emerge and champion you in the most unexpected ways. But we have to do it for ourselves first.
Experiment a little… What is one thing you do that builds your own sense of inner trust?
Principle No. 9: Frame your adventure ahead
Many of us travel through life with a belief it is ‘hard’. I hear it all the time, especially when people talk about parenting, ‘it’s the hardest job in the world’ then the but… or that they work hard, the workout was hard… the list goes on. If we have a belief about something we carry this into how we think, feel, connect and act, and can often form part of our identity – we too will harden and it shows in our anger, resentment, or a fierce approach or discomfort around your life.
When I became a parent I consciously removed ‘hard’ from my vocabulary, as I couldn’t bear Jack growing up thinking he’d made my life hard. It was a choice and a pleasure to become a parent, and while some days or moments are definitely more challenging, I don’t want to frame being his Mum as hard. I also want to take a moment here to say this is my experience and choice, and to acknowledge that each of our experiences are on a sliding scale of discomfort and joy, I know that some people’s life experiences or childhood aren’t set up as consciously as what I’ve described above, and people are doing their best at the time. I’d like to also echo Maya Angelou’s sentiment that, ‘when you know better you can do better’ in this instance which is what inspired me to remove ‘hard’.
How can you see your life more like an adventure, rather than a fixed notion of hard or easy that you either endure or aren’t entitled to? It’s topsy turvy, riddled with ‘shake your head’ moments of disbelief and moments of deep love and unbridled joy. It takes grace and patience to embrace your adventure. I love the work of Brene Brown and in one of her books when she talks about embracing vulnerability, she sees that you can’t embrace the seemingly ‘positive, happy’ moments until you’ve embraced the seemingly ‘negative, scary’ moments, you can’t have one without the other. You can’t live full and deep without going to the messy dark places in order to experience the ecstasy of the light. Change asks this of you: to embrace adventure, get messy and go explore places you never thought possible.
Experiment a little… I’d like you to consider how you can ‘frame’ what lies ahead for you (a certain change). What is a go-to word you can use to anchor the way you want to view what lies ahead?
Principle No. 10: Focus on the journey not the destination
This principle tops and tails with the first one, about appreciating where you are now. In any change, you will have moments when you question if what you’re aiming for is worth it, if you’re worth it, if it was the right thing to do. Things may not seem to be going the way you want them to. However, there will also be the moments when you’ll feel in flow, when things improve more consistently, when you’re joyful and light.
These are the journey moments, and staying close to these and observing what you can lean into more of and less of helps to guide the next steps. Sometimes we can focus too much on an end point. Guess what, you may never reach it, or not even recognise when you have achieved it, or just keep wanting more. And honestly, what is the end point? Be on your journey, lead it rather than acting like a passenger.
Experiment a little… Hopefully you have your ‘frame’ word earlier in no. 9. Now, how can you use this to ground yourself when you feel the wobbles that will come as you move through a transition?
Just one more… Principle No. 11. Create your own rituals
I really wanted to squeeze this in as a final principle, but felt 11 principles was uneven and not neat, bah, when have I followed the rules to a tee, rituals are what coaching is really about – the small daily moments you can incrementally build and use to transform your way of being. This is the re-calibration.
So my last words of wisdom for you, please think about how you can bring the art of ritual into your life. A decade or so ago, I used to think transformation was large leaps or risks that plunged you out of your comfort zone, but really these acts only occur successfully when people have been making small daily choices over a long period, like six to twelve months. Yes people may take leaps spontaneously, but they often take the fall quickly afterwards.
If you want to succeed in your goal and your change endure, then I encourage you to start with a daily ritual. The research into behaviour change and habits proves that consistently spending just 2 minutes a day over 30 days is all we need to embed a new neural pathway in our brains. There is also a lovely alchemy that happens when we are able to embed one shift, there is motivation to make more. Creating a lovely ripple in our lives.
I placed a little tag next to my bed in 2020 when I’d been in lockdown for seven months that read, ‘do one thing today just for you’. I would spend just 15 minutes to cook something lovely, take a walk, meditate, read. I reflected close to a year later and realised that rippled intention had permeated so much of my way of being. I was able to make choices that came from, “does this feel right for me?”, I actually asked my three year old son to leave me for 15 minutes while I meditated and he respected that (that really blew my mind!), I felt less angry or resentful, I was drinking less, I felt I had space in my life just for me, a deeper respect for myself, plus I was moving more because I ‘wanted to’ rather than I ‘had to’.
We’ve lost the art of ritual in our lives, and instead we ‘busy’ ourselves, and especially with the blurring of living and working at home in the pandemic. Ancient cultures used ritual for transitions, rites of passage and for everyday activities, it was effective for keeping people connected, community engaged and passing down knowledge.
Experiment a little… What nourishing 2 minute ritual can you start today?
If you’d like some help on a reset, my Recalibrate Self-Paced Coaching Program is available to start now. You’ll learn life-long skills like value-setting and taking action to achieve your goals, as well as how to smash through limiting beliefs, bad habits and negative thinking. You can download an Info Pack for all the details, or simply get in touch and we’ll organise a time to chat!