What Does It Take To Experience Transformation?
By Sally Anderson
What does it take to experience transformation
in the domains of our lives where we have never experienced mastery?
As we look forward to our future, it can also be rewarding to review how far we"ve come and what we"ve learned. I have had the privilege of coaching some amazing men and women in what I believe is the formula for experiencing transformation in the areas of life where they have not experienced mastery, and would love to share some of my observations with you. Please bear in mind that I do not present the following as truth, but purely as my own opinion, based on my own experience and that of my clients.
I never stop hearing clients say: "Sally, I want to change". My response is usually, "I get that you
want to change, but are you prepared to do what it takes to be committed to changing?
There is a huge difference between the two." Understanding the difference is fundamental to the
LIVE NOW Philosophy. Much of what I will speak about here relates to this philosophy.
I think of wanting as "shape shifting", where humans live in a state of past and future
projections, to which they add meaning, and continue to live a life of "doing where they are
often struggling, overwhelmed, frustrated and angry. I see commitment, however, as a
powerful state of transformation, where a person exists in a state of "being", attracting
synchronistic opportunities and living a life of integrity - a life of ease and flow.
In my opinion, people generally do not experience sustainable change in many areas of their lives
because they do not realize that they get a lot out of keeping things in these areas exactly as
they are. I believe that every human being has a default identity, which feeds their internal inner
critic dialogue and keeps the person in the vicious cycle of not producing the results they want
in their lives. Before transformation can occur in any area of life, that identity must be
challenged. Usually people are not aware that they have a default identity, so before a client can
transcend it, the coach must first presence the individual to its existence.
Clients will often say to me things like:
I do not set goals because I don't want the definition of goals to constrain me.
I have done goal setting before, and it doesn't work.
I have read the books, done the courses, and invested A LOT of money into my own
transformation, but I struggle with sustaining change. I get the shot of euphoria at a course or
from reading a book, but then I go back out into my life and the same old things still happen.
I think that beliefs and values are adopted in childhood; they then form our behavior, which
forms the structures, which form the culture, which then forms the results. Most people try to
incorporate change from the outer two layers of culture-results. For example, they might say, "I
wish to lose weight", and then expect the results to show up; or "I wish to dictate the cultural
change within this organization", and then expect the culture to change overnight. Then the
individual and the organization are left wondering why the experience is not sustainable. If you
want to achieve any level of sustainable change, you need to go much deeper - you need to
unearth the "negative beliefs and values that were adopted in childhood and held in the subconscious, and "re-train or "re-program them into more positive, empowering beliefs.
Do you know that whenever you are triggered, it is never the current circumstances that are
triggering you? It is always something unhealed from your childhood. When I meet a client
aged 30, 40 or 50, they come to me with 25, 35 or 45 years of preconditioning in their default
behavior. To sustainably circumvent decades of default behavior takes something! I believe
that the default behavior is adopted at around 3-5 years of age. Children are present, they
implicitly trust, and they do not have safety issues - these are learnt. They innately trust the
unknown. From the minute a child interacts with others, walks and talks, he or she begins to
adopt beliefs and values from parents, siblings, teachers, and his or her environment, and as a
result the lid goes down on the child's potential.
Therefore, when clients present themselves to me, they come with "what they know". They live
in a world - or box, as I call it - inside which they believe that they are safe and in control. The
irony is that the box of what they know confines them, for they do not trust the unknown.
When they step outside their box, they confront beliefs and behaviors that have kept them
constrained for years, and two fundamental things occur: they experience fear, and their inner
critic dialogue becomes a lot more vocal. If insufficient work has been done on their default
behavior, they will go back inside the box of what they know - where any change they have
made is not sustainable. To achieve any level of sustainability, they must learn to master their
fear, master their inner critic, and trust the unknown.
Most coaches say that coaching is about the present and the future. I have an issue with this.
I think that we are self-fulfilling prophecies if we do not heal our past preconditioning. Coaches
also tend to view any past-based interaction with a client as counselling or psychotherapy, and
outside the realm of coaching. I disagree. I am not interested in delving into the past for the
sake of dragging up old wounds. I am, however, very interested in helping people regain their
power, and to do this I need to show them that their past is forever in their future and they are
not even aware of it half the time. We read time and again that "what we think creates our
reality", yet we are not taught to be vigilant with our thought structures.
I believe that moment by moment by moment, we are either in our default or in our power.
How do you live in your power all the time? You have to begin by believing that it is possible,
and then you need to learn certain tools to help you maintain any change you make. Here are
some of the sustainable tools I teach clients in my own coaching programmes:
1. How to master your inner critic dialogue;
2. How to be a 10 every day and sustain that state;
3. How to de-trigger within a mili-second regardless of what comes at you (rather than live
in a triggered state for an hour, a day, a week, a month etc);
4. How to live "in the zone and be the conduit for attracting synchronistic opportunities to
come to you;
5. How to stop doing life - experiencing struggle, overwhelm, anxiety, frustration, anger -
and start living a life of being which results in an experience of living in flow, with ease, no
longer striving to accomplish goals but attracting and manifesting goals as a function of
who you are being;
6. How to end the lifetime of sabotage and learn experiential compassion for yourself
and the list goes on.
Experiencing any of the above is like walking on water!
I disagree with those who believe that happiness lies in the fulfilment of goals. I have clients who
pretty much "have it all", but are not happy. I also have many clients who want what those clients
have, thinking that when they get "there (wherever that is) they will be happy. I see so many
people striving for a future that is no more than an illusion, not realizing that happiness is a
choice only accessible in the present - but that's another paper in itself!
This is not to say that I discredit the power of obtaining goals. Be very clear to the universe
about what you want, just do not be attached to how it shows up! Rather than striving for goals
in the world of doing, we can all arrive into the state of being and attract what we want as a
function of who we are being. Do you realize that on any given day, from the minute you are
awake, your thoughts are primarily past- or future-based and you are hardly ever present? I
believe that the magic we all seek lies in the unknown, and the ability to access the unknown can
only exist in the present moment. Oh, but to be present, one would have to FEEL again "
Buggar that! Let's go back into the mind chatter of past and future thought structures.
Your life will be transformed when you live in the reality of the present. The past is no more
than a thought, and exists nowhere other than in a thought, so why do we keep feeding it? The
future is an illusion, and can only be a function of what we think in the "now moment. When
you collapse your past and future thought structures and train yourself to live in the present
moment, you will no longer be living in a world of thought and illusion, but in the reality of the
present moment. Your life will be excitingly unrecognizable!
For this, you need to come back to want versus commitment. It really takes something to be
committed - and it is something you choose moment by moment based in what it is you say you
are committed to. With commitment comes responsibility and integrity, and I believe that to
experience true freedom you must transform your relationship to these three things:
Sadly, most people have no freedom with commitment, and even view it as a prison sentence.
Most people's relationship with responsibility is heavily weighted from the past, so they have no
freedom in the "now moment. And most people's relationship to integrity is that they do their
version of it when it suits. To experience trust in the freedom to be, you must learn to
transcend the past and transform your relationship to these three areas.
In one of my seminars recently, someone said, "Sally, I got something the other day". "What was
that? I asked. She said: "I now realize that when you are committed you do not always enjoy
what you are doing! "Brilliant! I said, and gave an example: I am currently training for a body
sculpting competition, and am often asked why I am doing this. I always reply that it trains me
to live at a high degree of integrity, and fundamentally my reason for doing it has little to do with
the competition itself. Do you think that I enjoy going to the gym at 5.30 most mornings to do
one or two hours training every day? Not particularly, but I do it because that is what I am
committed to, and it enables me to live in integrity with my word, thereby producing the results.
In my coaching practice, I have seen that many people do not act every day in alignment with
what they say they are committed to. Why not? When they are confronted, fearful or anxious,
they allow themselves to live life as a consequence of these feelings - and these are default oriented feelings that keep people in the vicious cycle of not producing the results they want in
their lives. This is why I stand for people to not make whatever they feel at the default level of
thinking mean anything, and just stay on the court by saying to themselves:
I am fearful. OK, fear is present - so what! Don't make it mean anything - EMBRACE THE
FEELING and take the action anyway.
Fear is only a thought and has no power unless you feed it. If you feed it, you will always be
stopped from having what you really want by a past- or future-based thought structure. You
will either have dragged something in from the past, or gone off into the future and created a
world that doesn't even exist. Fundamentally, fear is a function of not being present. If
you can learn to transcend/embrace your fear, you are well on the way to achieving what you
want in your life. Remember, what you resist, persists. The answer lies in the ability to BE
WITH what you feel without adding the meaning!
About The Author
Sally Anderson is New Zealand's first Legacy Coach for Legacy Leadership. As an Executive Coach, Sally facilitates sustainable transformation in individuals, which is frequently lacking in the corporate world. To find out more about Sally's coaching and development work, visit http://www.sallyanderson.co.nz.