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  Jane Miller


Articles -- Being

There are some life changes that you can accomplish simply by following a plan and carrying out a few clearly defined action steps. But often you find that a major obstacle is your habitual way of being. For example, you aspire to being a top executive, but feel that you’re ‘far too shy’ or ‘lack self-confidence’.

Breaking out of a limiting self-image is not always easy, but it is always possible. You start by clearly defining your ideal way of being - creating an image of ‘your future self’. There may be a number of characteristics that you would like to have - ones that are currently not as predominant as you would like. For example, you may want to be “confident, out-going, dependable”.

Taking small steps in practicing each of these characteristics involves planning activities, monitoring and introspecting both during and after these events. For example, organizing a family outing, giving a presentation at work, helping with a community project are just some ways to practice new ways of being. If you feel you’re too shy to give a presentation to a large group in a formal setting, try creating an entertaining skit for a group of children, or put together some information on an interesting topic for a group of friends, or provide a ‘how to’ session on some skill you’ve learned.

Monitor how you feel at these events and make incremental changes to your behavior. For example, if you’re feeling self-conscious during a presentation, change your focus to the audience and the topic by asking, “Can everyone hear me? Is this making sense to everyone? Are there any questions so far?” After the event, journal about the experience, think about how you might have done things differently and re-write the scene in your imagination in a way that would better express the ‘new you’.

Great athletes have learned that envisioning is the most effective way to perfect a skill. So too, by envisioning yourself in the role of your future dream, you are stepping into that way of being.

I often hear people say, “Oh it’s just the way I am”, but it would be more accurate to say, “This is the way I usually (or habitually) choose to be.” When you align this choice with your goals, aspirations and values, you will feel a deep inner harmony, and you will move in the direction you want with greater clarity and purpose.

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