Episode 86: How Have You Changed?
Every week I ask my 1-1 clients this same question and each week I get a wide variety of answers. First, it’s interesting the interpretation of the question itself – it’s almost like they all hear a different question being asked. Some hear, what have you done this past week? Other hear, why haven’t you changed enough or more than you have? Others hear I should I have changed more or had more to share/report. But what I’m really asking is for them to notice how they’ve changed mentally and emotionally this past week.
This question isn’t for me. I’m not asking for a report. It’s not about fear or about accountability even at this point. This is for them. It’s for them to see how they’ve grown, and what win’s they’ve allowed themselves to see and to celebrate.
Here’s the thing, you guys, we change daily and not just daily – you will be different by the end of this podcast even. But we don’t notice it or I should say, we don’t allow ourselves to notice it and when it comes to our lives we want to notice. We want to see and be aware when things are changing because if they’re not changing in productive ways that we want to change in, then we want to catch it before it becomes a pattern and a habit.
And that’s what I want to bring to you today in this podcast. I encourage you to adopt this question into your daily life. It’s a really good one to ask either first thing in the morning or at night depending on when you have the most energy to ponder and reflect on this question.
We change every day and every day we’re giving our brain more information and patterns to store away for future use and some of the things we’re holding onto we don’t really want to be holding onto. Some thoughts, some judgments, some hurts, some frustrations, some cycles of overwhelm or worry, fear, insecurities, doubt, discouragement, or shame. You don’t want these to stick around, you don’t want these to go unnoticed and sneak its way into your autopilot.
We live in a society that puts value on productivity – I mentioned this last week – Most people when they see you ask you some version of, “What do you do?” Or “What have you been up to?” Which instantly has you frantic thinking internal about what have I done? What accomplishments are acceptable? and we start giving a list of productivity and doings.
And we leave that connection with more disconnect because you either compare and despair or you compare and then start talking about what you’re doing because their activities prompted your own thoughts about what you’ve been doing – and none of that really is a problem but you don’t really get to know the other person.
It’s like a walking Wikipedia question. There’s so much more depth we can learn about ourselves and others. And really it’s these moments, these more vulnerable questions that draw us in and unify us way more than our actions do.
We don’t ever or maybe it’s incredibly rare that we hear or are asked something like, “how are you feeling?”, “How are you bettering yourself?”, “What have you been thinking about lately?”, “What are some emotional wins you’ve had recently?”, “What are you proud of?”, “How have you changed since the last time we met?”, or my favorite question but I haven’t figured out how to eloquently word it, Some of my writers and English majors can help me with it – is, this, “How are you on your journey to becoming?”
What’s most important to you? What talents are you developing? And then how can I help you on your way?
That invites real connection and unity. Sharing your future visions. We all have some idea of what we want for our lives – and no, I’m not talking about accolades or achievements in the professional realm. I’m talking about who you are becoming and or are trying to become, what kind of character you have, what virtues are you working on.
See, the how, the actions matter much less than we think they do or that we put our emphasis on. The actions are a means to get what we really want and that’s who we want to be.
Just about everyone you ask, “What do you want in life?” They’ll answer with something like, “happy”, “I want to be happy or happier.” “I want to feel better”
Notice it’s less about the accolades and productivity and more about the feeling. We go and do because we are motivated by feelings. We hope that when we do that thing, get to that paygrade, have that body, be in that relationship that then we’ll be happy. So why then do we continue to focus and emphasize the doing portion of our lives instead of the feeling and becoming portion?
Life isn’t about things. It’s about the moments, the daily minute moments. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson shares that life isn’t in the big things but rather that it’s made up of these micro-moments – which are really individual models:
One thought, that creates one feeling, that prompts one action and creates one result or one micro-moment.
Our lives aren’t these big events, it’s built up of these teeny micro-moments. Think of it like a drive. We’ve all heard our lives being compared to a journey: Our lives aren’t the big places or landmarks. But it’s built from each lane change, each turn, each acceleration, each stop. Micro-moments that over time added up to arriving at a destination.
No one achieves anything without a build-up and accumulation of these micro-moments. No one just graduates without yeeeeears of getting themselves up, dressed, fed, and off to school or without out countless moments in class, listening, writing, reading, problem-solving. Micro-moments.
In the scriptures we read, it’s by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. If you want to see how you’ve changed on a daily basis, pay attention to your micro-moments which means that you have to be more intentional about your awareness and spend less time on auto-pilot.
If we want to live a more confident life it’s not going to be because all of the sudden now you’ve decided you’re going to be confident and voila, you’re confident. You most likely are still carrying a lot of baggage from the past – bags of insecurity, fear, doubt, worry, and not-enoughness. So it’s in each micro-moment that we choose to unload little by little so that you become a confident person. So that you can feel the great benefits and blessings that quiet confidence embodies.
Let me offer you a few suggestions to help you start being more mindful of your micro-moments and intentional about noticing these changes in your life and to treading a more confident path for yourself:
1.) You have to know what kind of person you want to be.
What are you working toward? What do you want?
We will forever beat ourselves up over a conversation or think, I shouldn’t have said that, done that – or talk down to ourselves, “that was so stupid of me!” – only focusing on the negative if we don’t have a vision or goal in mind because we’ll just keep adopting what we think the world or our parents, or our church wants us to be.
What really matters is what you want. Who do you want to be? Who are you working to become? What attributes are you trying to strengthen or develop?
How can you notice how you’re changing if we don’t have some kind of goal or plan or direction to what we want to become?
It’s like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland when Alice asks, “Which way should I go?” And he answers, “where are you trying to get to?” She replies that she doesn’t really know – so he says, “then it doesn’t matter which way you go, any road will get you there”
We can’t have a vague idea or a vision of this blurry person. We need to know and see our future selves so clearly that we start recognizing each micro-moment that took you closer or farther from that goal. This is one reason I’m so adamant and excited to choose a word of the year each year.
I love the process of becoming and focusing on one overall attribute each year. Still growing in others as well but with a main focus and emphasis on one in particular. It makes it simpler to check in and notice how I’m changing on a daily, hourly basis.
If you don’t have a vision or word of the year – it’s not too late. Your year can start today -from this date today to this date a year from now – done. The same amount of time as a year and remember, this is your life – you get to do what you want to do, create your own start or New Years – it does not have to be January 1st to make these kinds of changes.
So first – know who you’re wanting to become of what you’re wanting to work on.
I like to keep my goals front and center – not just my attribute but my goals for the year. I write them down daily. The same goals each day. This is huge because it reminds me what I really want. Have you ever decided on some goals only to forget about them and when someone asks you or you think about it months later and you can’t remember what your goal was anymore?
That’s a problem right? If we don’t know what our goals are then we’re not thinking about them which really means we’re not working towards them.
Going back to the car visual – it’s like starting with an end goal, a destination but then starting down the road and getting swept into detours and traffic and then pretty soon you’re just driving with the flow of traffic and instead of being closer to your goal you’re in the middle of nowhere because you missed key turns, or highways because you couldn’t remember where you wanted to go in the micro-moments of the drive. That’s a problem right?
So instead, we have GPS telling us each step, reminding us each turn, each highway, each everything until we arrive.
Writing your goals down daily is like your own personal GPS talking to you. It might feel redundant each day but I’m telling you, it’s the best secret to attaining your goals and it’s because it makes your brain think about them often. Writing them down each day it’s not far from your mind.
If you have a goal to eat healthier and you write that goal down each day. When you’re hungry and there’s a donut on the counter or lettuce in the refrigerator you’re not going to automatically reach for the sugar – there’s going to be a micro-moment of agency. Your brain will offer you the reminder: Hey, you wanted to eat healthier!
And in that micro-moment, you have a choice. You still might reach for the donut but that awareness is priceless because I promise you, the more you keep these goals at the forefront of your mind one day you’re going to make the choice to opt for the salad instead of the sugar and you’re going to notice a huge spike in your confidence and in how you feel about yourself.
You’re going to notice the change, the win, how you overcame and you’re going to crave THAT again and again.
How you’ve changed – that question isn’t about all the wins. It’s not about the actions or the achievements – it’s about the journey, the micro-moments of becoming. So when you think about answering that question daily you can tell yourself, I would normally reach for the easy donut but today I chose to honor my goal and go for the salad – and maybe it’s not because of will-power but maybe it’s more out of curiosity and that’s okay too at first.
It’s still a change, a step closer to who you’re wanting to become.
Okay, the second thing you can do to help you notice your changes and become more mindful of your micro-moments is to adopt this reflective practice:
It’s just two questions but how you answer these makes all the difference.
You can just answer these in your head but I’m a big advocate for writing things down because it makes it more clear and helps you remember long term – so in my daily journal I have two boxes: one huge box-like half the page and the other is like maybe a quarter or less of that first box.
Start with the question: What worked?
Then just think about your day. What worked for you? What micro-moments brought you closer to who you’re working on? To your goals? To becoming who you want to become?
When you give your brain a job, it will go to work finding it. Give yourself time in this area to reflect on all your wins. These can be small – like, I decided to give someone the benefit of the doubt on the freeway when they cut me off instead of getting upset and honking the horn.
I chose to drive past Jamba Juice and instead opted for a glass of water.
I noticed when I started to feel upset and just let myself feel the emotion instead of diving into a story about it which would have made me even more upset.
I chose to listen to a book instead of the radio on my drive home and I was filled with all these thoughts and ideas.
I noticed the donut on the counter but chose to eat the salad instead.
I let myself really sit in gratitude for the sunshine and beauty of the day.
Just everything, think about your day and go through as many wins as you can. This is obviously the huge box that I write in and this is so important you guys not just to do this at all but to make sure this is first and to make sure it’s in the BIG box.
Your primitive brain is wired to look for the negative so you’re already naturally prone to think negatively about yourself or others or the world and that can be quite dreary or negative so when you go the opposite route and write in or think about all the wins it first, feels way better, but then it starts changing some of that outdated wiring so you can become a different person. So you can rise above the natural man, overcome the natural man and start becoming who you want to become.
It also helps you to come from a place of abundance and like, look at all I’ve done today – again – not productivity-wise but change-wise – choices, thoughts, feelings, awareness. And from there your next question won’t be as difficult or as painful – which is: what didn’t work?
This is not a bash-fest. This is a question to seek small and constructive feedback from yourself.
It’s thinking, what didn’t work? What didn’t get me closer to who I want to become? Do you see how important it is to know who you want to become? Everything else falls under the umbrella of that question.
Oftentimes we answer this question but not in a helpful or productive way – we just start criticizing ourselves because we know we don’t want that! I shouldn’t be that! I shouldn’t have said, done, been that! But without an end goal none of that is helpful or even matters like Alice.
So what worked is first. Then from love, abundance, and feeling closer to your goals you can offer feedback –
Do you know what the difference between criticism and feedback is?
Criticism is more for the critic than for the recipient. They criticize more for their own desire to criticize, to elevate themselves over the criticized.
Whereas feedback is for the recipient. It’s desiring to help the recipient without thought or internal desires for themselves.
This is a topic for another podcast but when it comes to yourself, are you criticizing? Being mean just to be mean? Or are you offering yourself feedback because you want yourself to grow and to become?
So when you answer this question: What didn’t work? The aim is to offer awareness and not judgment.
I love using the phrase: Make it math.
Math is focussing on the facts rather than the fictional drama. Math isn’t mean.
So in this tiny box I let myself think of a few things that didn’t work and that I want to be more mindful of the following day. Instead of a huge laundry list of things you didn’t like which then feels overwhelming and discouraging and remember, you take action from your feelings so if you’re feeling negative, chances are you’re not going to want to go and do.
So keep it small, keep it doable and keep the abundance feeling alive and well from the first huge box, what did work?
Remember: Know who you want to become – what you’re working towards
2.) Ask yourself two questions in reflection each day: What worked? What didn’t?
And now the third thing: You want to define yourself from a future-focused standpoint and not from the story of your past
The way you speak to yourself matters. The confidence model that I teach isn’t focused on the past although we work with it to help us progress, but rather it’s centered on the future, on where you’re going. You want to look at yourself, your identity from a future standpoint.
You have to be able to see yourself, to visualize yourself at the place you want to be. You have to see yourself as the kind of person that eats salad, that likes salad. That when you go out to eat, you order a salad and like it.
I remember years ago thinking about that concept when I went vegan and worried that that was the life I was resigning myself to – which of course isn’t true but at the time salad wasn’t in my daily repertoire. I didn’t really like salad and when we went out to eat salad wasn’t on my radar. But my future self did. My future self liked it even – wanted to order that instead of thinking she should order that.
And through my micro-moments of change, of awareness and agency – one choice to experiment with the salad over and over again – I can tell you that it works. My husband and I just went out to eat this weekend and I ordered a salad and I loved every bite.
And you do not have to eat salad – that’s not the point I’m trying to make – the point is to see yourself daily from a future stance. You need to think about it, see it in your mind so clearly that it acts as a guide throughout your day to help you navigate these micro-moments where the real change actually happens over time.
It’s like that donut example when I could see myself eating salad when I had the choice to reach for something my tastebuds craved or something my higher self wanted – I had agency to choose which path I was going to honor. It would then give me something to reflect back upon: what worked? What didn’t?
And each day I knew if I was getting closer to my future self, the girl I chose and wanted to be, or further away from that. It made the question easier to answer – how am I different today? How have I changed?
Small and simple things add up. Life isn’t about the milestones or what you have produced. It’s about who you are and who you are becoming. Quiet confidence – which is THE BEST kind and caliber of confidence is built brick by brick of micro-moments.
Okay, my friends, let’s recap: really easy to remember:
1.) What do you want?
2.) What Worked? What didn’t?
3.) See yourself from the future instead of the past
This is a bit different than the first of what do you want? I know 1 and 3 can seem similar and they work hand in hand but the first is just like hoping, dreaming, aiming – and the last is about truly becoming and aligning.
There’s a big difference between I want to eat healthier and seeing myself as the kind of person that orders salad. Your brain can’t tell the difference between what’s happened and what you visualize – but like, really visualize and create the emotion that belongs to that. So the more you think and see yourself from that future place you’ll either feel more in alignment with it or you’ll feel off when you’re not.
Does that make sense? And the more you practice seeing this in your mind – the more you’ll notice how you’re changing, what micro-moments are taking steps closer to that or when you’re veering more away.
It’s so powerful, it feels so good and you’ll notice day after day that you are becoming, that you are growing, and that you are changing – one thought at a time.
Okay friends, have a beautiful week! Please don’t forget to stop by iTunes and leave a rating and a review AND…the doors to the membership open up next week so be ready to hop on board and join this amazing group of catalysts! See you next week!