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October 7, 2013

Self-image – 3 Steps to Personal Transformation

We all have a self-image: an idea of who we are that we hold in our minds. For most of us, that self-image is a lie.

We lie by telling ourselves we cannot change. We’ve all said it at some point – “That’s just the way I am.” Right? And every time we say it, we feel the sting of defeat.

It isn’t that we haven’t tried to change. We set goals, plan our days, get accountability partners, and yet we can’t seem to make the change take root. No matter how big the effort, you find yourself going back to your “old ways.”

The truth is that the future is yours to create. The power to transform your life is ready and available to all of us. I know. I’ve used it, and I’ve shown others how to use it, too. It’s all about your self-image.

Now let’s be square with each other. There’s work involved here. I know, that’s a nasty four letter word. People flinch less when you drop the F-bomb. That’s the whole point of breaking it down into steps – it makes getting a thing done easier.

Personal Transformation Step 1 – An Honest Self-Image

After more than two decades of associating with successful people, Napoleon Hill listed Thinking Accurately as one of the components for the Law of Success. The place to start thinking accurately is with yourself.

Part of my history is not finishing things. From homework to projects to tasks at work – my life is littered with things left unfinished. When I was part of a research project on ADD in adults, that was a question on the weekly interview: Do you get things finished? I answered yes by thinking “Yes, I get things finished. It may take me longer than others, but I get them done.”

Well, that answer just wasn’t true. I just made the lie small enough that I could live with it. (Until I couldn’t live with it anymore.)

Personal Transformation Step 2 – Know Where You’re Headed

This one is easy. Everyone has dreams and things they want to get done. The key here is to be super clear about where you’re headed. Write down your goal, and describe it in as much detail as you can. Be sure to include how you’ll feel when you arrive, and how you expect others to feel toward you.

Personal Transformation Step 3 – Change Your Self-Image

To do all the things you want to do, you have to be the sort of person that does those things. Finishing things is important to me, so I worked on changing my self-image from “Quitter” to “Hitter.” There have been some pleasing results, to say the least. (Five books published in 19 months, two bestsellers, a podcast averaging 500 weekly downloads, and a boatload of work done for clients.)

The secret to getting from who you are to who you want to be is Be then Do.

Okay. I know you think you know this, but I’ve discovered we really don’t know how to get it done. The reason so many things take a lot of effort, willpower, and time is that we try to achieve a goal without being the sort of person who achieves that goal. Do you see how that’s backward?

For me, it was finishing things. So I started picturing myself having completed things. In my mind, I rehearsed doing a thing all the way through to the end. Then I went and did it. The more I worked at changing my self-image, the better I got at finishing things. You can learn more about the process in Dr. Maltz’s book Psycho-Cybernetics. (Not an affiliate link.)

Making it Happen

How often have you read this sort of stuff, and done nothing about it? Do you know that’s part of the lie you’re telling yourself? It’s time for Step 1.

If you have the courage and personal strength it takes to be honest with yourself, I’d like to hear from you. Please do leave a comment to tell me where you’re headed. Maybe even how you plan to get there. I’ll be happy to encourage you on your way.

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