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Personal Power: Implementing Change from the Inside Out

Personal power is an INSIDE JOB. It doesn't mean getting other people to do what you want them to; it means getting yourself moving toward your goals. What creates the power is a series of attitudinal realities which you create for yourself and by yourself. Therefore, the key resource in managing change is YOU.

First and foremost, RESPECT YOURSELF. Are you hard on yourself, self-critical? Cut it out! Do you tend to minimize your strengths and focus on your shortcomings? Cut it out! Do you tend to blame yourself, no matter what the truth is, when things go wrong? Cut it out! YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME! A positive attitude begins with self-respect.

Second: FACE THE FUTURE. Another way to say this is to LET GO. SURRENDER to the reality that things are changing and that you must, therefore, change, too. If you're one of those whose job may be in jeopardy because of downsizing, a corporate move or an economic downturn in your industry, don't make the mistake of hanging on and hoping it won't happen. Move in the direction of your options -- that is, your FUTURE ?rather than staying in your stuck place, which is your PAST history and patterns. Change, among other things, is a monkey wrench thrown into the mechanism of your expectations about yourself, your job, your life.

Third: the fastest and perhaps the best way to move forward is to learn how to SAY GOODBYE to the past before welcoming (or, at least, accepting) the future. Granted, it's difficult to part with what's familiar -- even if the familiar is painful. But it's a necessary action, so get on with it, because no matter how much you'd like things to return to normal, they won't - because there's no such thing as normal any more. And the sooner you do this, the less time you'll waste with unproductive stuff. Fourth: as you adapt to change, particularly during the DENIAL and RESISTANCE phases of your personal journey, you'll likely find yourself vacillating back and forth between the exciting possibilities that represent future SUCCESS and the dreaded catastrophes that could mark future FAILURE. When you observe these feelings of denial and resistance, it's time to work on creating POSSIBILITY ATTITUDES and BEHAVIORS. Fifth and finally, how does one create those attitudes and behaviors? This is a separate job, and it involves five actions:

· TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. This is a tall order for many of us, because we've learned how to pass the buck very effectively -- to our families, our schooling, our significant others, to anything outside of ourselves. We BLAME. So, instead of viewing the world as something that's happening to you, view it as something you're creating by your thoughts and actions. You'll be amazed at the power of choice you get from this.

· EXPERIMENT. Always look for the evidence when you hear negatives. Questions like "Who says?" and "Is this always true?" are valuable kinds of detective work to do. What you'll often find is that nobody knows and it isn't always true. That's good information to have if you're trying to be positive about things.

Now, here's the NEW AGE stuff. But, amazingly, it works, and there's a formula. Point three in this series of five?

· CREATE AFFIRMATIONS. Picture yourself in an ideal situation and then verbalize it. Yes, you really have to say it - out loud (and, at least at the beginning, in private, I'm sure). Use colorful, descriptive adverbs and adjectives. Also, use the present tense and the "I" approach. Don't talk about the situation, talk about YOU IN THE SITUATION. For example, in applying for a job you might affirm, "I am moving effortlessly toward getting a wonderful job in a terrific company, and I deserve the job I'm getting." Sound a little sick? Maybe?but rest assured, it works. Try it.

· PRACTICE VISIONING. It's easy, as you already know if you've ever daydreamed, and you can do it anywhere, silently, even with your eyes open, without disturbing anyone or embarrassing yourself. It's a great tool, so use it. And finally?

· REFRAME. Shift your beliefs, consciously, from negative to positive. Try looking at one belief each day and moving it from negative to positive. Then extend this thinking to the entire frame you call YOUR LIFE.

Miracle of miracles, after you've been doing this for a while, you'll note (or someone else may point out to you) that you're different. You've changed - and probably for the better. Try it and see. You might even like it!

Copyright 2002, 2005 Optimum Performance Associates/Paul McNeese.

Paul McNeese is CEO of Optimum Performance Associates, a consulting firm specializing in transitional and transformational change for individuals and institutions through publication. His publishing company, OPA Publishing, is an advocacy for self-publishing authors of informational, instructional, inspirational and insightful nonfiction.

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