How to navigate personal change to create personal transformation.
Change starts with shift in our mindset. The resulting external change grows from this internal starting point. To achieve not just change but personal transformation, several major stages must be navigated.
Having an understanding of these stages allows us to be active participants in the process and drive the process, instead of letting change “happen” to us.
The Six Stages of Personal Transformation:
Awareness - Nothing will change until you are aware that something needs to shift or change. This stage can occur over time. Perhaps you have become aware of some nagging feeling that things aren't as good as you’d like them to be. Maybe you notice a long held belief that no longer serves you. Sometimes this awareness can happen very quickly, for example, if you have a life changing event or a medical diagnosis. This may make you much more aware of the need to change your diet or your lifestyle and you make changes rapidly!
Examination – Once you have the awareness that change is needed, the next step is to examine or think about the situation. You might start by asking yourself these questions: “What's wrong? Why do I feel this way? What needs to change? Does anything really need to change? Can I live with this the way it is?”
Intention - At this point you have made the decision that change is needed. This means you have to replace an old belief, or behavior or a habit with something new. In making this decision, you are setting an intention to make the change and create new habits so that the change can be transformative. This is the most powerful step in the process and requires your willingness to commit to the change. Having a strong intention will give you the courage and motivation you will need in the next step – Action.
Action - Only with action do you begin to experience change. At this point, you've already come a long way. You've taken what may have started as a sense of discomfort and given it a name and a face and you have set the intention to change. You might however feel more uncomfortable now than you did in Step 1 because now you're more aware of what's going on. This is when you need to remind yourself of the intention you set and the outcome you are hoping for. But remember that hoping isn’t enough. Despite your fear or discomfort you must take action.
Improvement - As you discover what works for you, your initial actions may be inadequate or incorrect. When changing yourself, a fine-tuning process occurs until a sufficient solution is found. This is largely trial and error. You simply keep making adjustments to your approach until you hit on an effective solution. Stay focused on your goal but remain flexible in your process.
Integration - This stage may take some time; new habits can require some effort before they take hold. At the completion of this step, you’ve fully adopted the new belief or behavior. The initial discomfort that started the whole process should be gone now, since the cause of that uneasiness has been alleviated.
Having a fundamental awareness of these steps will help you go from experiencing emotional discomfort to feeling whole and satisfied.
Remember this quote from Richard Branson: “Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.”