Would you like to feel more powerful?
More able to rise to the challenges life throws at you?
Would you like to achieve more in you life and your work?
Here are eight tips on how you can become more powerful and achieve more in your work and your life.
1) “Accept the feeling, choose the action”
Accept all uncomfortable feelings (no exception). This means being willing to experience the feeling and recognise that feelings will never harm us. And if you want to resolve the feeling, repeatedly choose an action that’s opposite to whatever the feeling is telling you to do.
If you’re fearful or anxious, accept the feeling and do whatever you’re afraid of; if you’re feeling low, accept the feeling and do whatever you’d be doing if you weren’t feeling low; if you have an anger problem (repeated excessive anger), accept the feeling and withhold the response. If you have a craving for food, accept the feeling and choose not to indulge it. If you’re ‘comfort eating’ to control uncomfortable feelings, accept the feelings and stop trying to control them.
Most people make the mistake of believing they have to control their uncomfortable feelings in order to gain control over the behaviour that’s driven by those feelings. The opposite is true. If we change the behaviour, while accepting the feeling, the unconscious programming that’s driving the feeling will be undermined.
2) Stop playing the “when-then” game
The when-then game is generally an excuse to delay taking action. “When I’m more confident, then I’ll do the thing I’m afraid of”; “when I’ve got everything worked out, then I’ll take the first step”. If your when-then games are holding you back, stop playing them.
3) Make a commitment
If the goal is challenging, make a sincere promise to yourself and others that you’ll do whatever it takes to achieve it. The success of Abicord’s weight-loss and smoking-cessation programmes move from 80% to 100% by including a commitment.
4) Focus on contribution
If you’re held back by perceived self-limitations, focus on what your goal will do for others.
Many years ago I was hesitating commencing running personal development trainings. I was held back by thoughts such as “do I have all the material clear in my mind?”; “do I have all the answers to possible questions?”; “will the audience appreciate the delivery?”
Finally I realised all these questions related to my own perceived limitations. I refocused on what the trainings would do for others, then realising that with the material I already had, my audiences would benefit enormously even if I wasn’t 100% ready. I began running the trainings straight away.
5) “Act as if”
There are several ways of using this tool:
- Think of someone you admire who’s achieved or could achieve your goal. Ask yourself what they’d be doing in your situation. Then do it. If it’s fearful, “accept the feeling, choose the action”.
- If you’re held back by a negative self belief, ask yourself what you’d be doing if you had a positive self-belief. Then do it. If it’s fearful, “accept the feeling, choose the action”
- Ask what you’d be doing if you’d already achieved the goal, e.g. what would you be doing differently if you’d already achieved your weight loss goal? To the extent it’s realistic and practical, start doing those things.
6) Take bold action
If a one-step-at-a-time approach isn’t working, do something bold or amazing to break through the blockage and move your goal forward.
7) Positive Acceptance
This technique combines ‘accepting what is’ with taking action to change or improve the future. ‘Accepting what is’ means ‘stop resisting what is’.
Practically all dissatisfaction involves wanting something that’s happened not to have happened or wanting a situation that exists right now not to exist right now. Both are impossible. Both are referred to as ‘resisting what is’ and this is always irrational. I prefer to describe these thoughts as ‘crazy’. And yet it’s what we humans tend to do much of the time.
Positive Acceptance is a technique we can use to train ourselves to stop ‘resisting what is’ and instead ‘accept what is’ while refocusing on improving the future.
It’s a four step process:
- create a habit of noticing whenever we’re ‘resisting what is’, in other words whenever we’re wishing something were ‘already’ different (easy enough as this is practically always the case whenever we’re dissatisfied about anything)
- recognise this is irrational, actually crazy, as nothing can ever be ‘already’ different;
- drop the thought (easier than might be imagined after the first two steps);
- refocus on how we can change or improve the next moment or the future
Use this technique to eliminate regret, dissatisfaction, disappointment and stress from your life and instead always refocus on action to improve the future.
8. Set goals and work towards achieving them
- Write the goals down;
- make sure they’re SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, timed);
- write down the benefits (useful for generating and maintaining motivation);
- visualise them as being achieved;
- ask for support if needed;
- celebrate success and key milestones
These tools are not all universally applicable. Some “when-then games” are sensible, such as “when my new business is showing clear signs of succeeding, then I’ll give up my job”. Some ‘bold actions’ might be unduly risky. But used sensibly, the tools will drive you forward to become more powerful and achieving.
About Graham W Price
Graham W Price specialises in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance-Action Therapy (AAT). His company, Abicord Ltd, offers seminars or DVDs on Acceptance-Action Training. See www.abicord.com .
Price’s techniques are contained in his book ‘What Is, Is! The Power of Positive Acceptance’, published by Hothive, price £9.99. It can be purchased at www.abicord.com/what-is-is or from any good bookshop. A free extract can be downloaded at www.whatisisbook.com