Self-Efficacy - How To
Become Who You Want To Be From
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There are lots of recipes for changing
behavior out there, their very multiplicity attesting to the size of the
challenge. In practice, people find it far more comfortable to keep on doing
what theyve been doing even when it doesnt work, even when it
doesnt get them closer to an avowed goal, or even if it is making them
First, you have to believe you are capable
of producing effects by your own actions, whats known in the psych biz as
self-efficacy. You have to believe that you make things happen -- not fate, not
the gods, not your upbringing, your circumstances or your genes. Thats
the starting point.
Where to from there? I recently had a
wonderful conversation with Alan Cohen, motivational consultant and author most
recently of Why Your Life Sucks (Jodere Group). I essentially asked him
one question: what insights do you have into helping people get from here to
where they want to be. Here are some of his thoughts:
- Your history is not your destiny. A
lot of us get stuck in our perception of ourselves based on our history, the
impressions others have given us about who we are.
- People need a reputation to live up
to. We tend to become whoever people see us as. Most of life is a
- Live from the inside out. What we
know inside always exceeds what we know from the outside. Beliefs are what you
learn from the outside; knowledge is what you know from the inside. Every
person has a unique style of expression in which they would excel if they only
had the confidence or courage to step into it.
- Trust intuition. We all have access
to a higher knowingness.
- Tap the power of vision. Choose a
model and be motivated by the model. You have to come from the result as if
it's already accomplished rather than toward a result that is still out there.
When legendary coach Bear Bryant showed his teams films of their games, he
never showed them their errors; he showed them only their great plays. He built
their vision of who they were at their best, and didn't try to scare them into
changing by displaying who they were at their worst.
- Latch on to the vision that most
excites you and give it as much attention as possible. Minimize your attention
to things that distract you from who you want to be and where you want to go.
- Attention is the strongest currency
at your disposal. Most people live unfulfilled lives because they waste their
attention on things that worry or displease them. Everything you pay attention
to you get more of. You wind up feeding what you dont like. In our
culture the standard model of change is to find everything that's wrong and fix
it. Certainly knowing what's wrong is helpful -- but only long enough to shift
your attention to what you'd rather do or have instead.
- Understanding what's working about
yourself gives you the leverage to transform what's not working.
- Self-worth is a huge player in
change. We attract experiences according to the level of self-worth we are
- Recognize that you dont have
to do it all alone. When you think you have to fix all your own problems, you
are proceeding from a limited definition of yourself. You cant give
yourself help because you define yourself as someone who needs help. Connect
with some form of higher power.
- Yes, you need goals, but dont
get hung up on them to the extent that you lose the process. Enjoy the ride,
living a little more in the moment.
- Authenticity is crucial. Integrity
is when your outer life matches your inner life. Dont say yes when you
- A healthy next step requires two
elements: excitement, because you have to be motivated, and fear, which comes
directly from having been invited to step out of your comfort zone.
- Maintain your own sovereign space
in the midst of negativity all around you, by staying focused on what lifts
- Trust change as a natural and
healthy process. Surf on it. People resist change because they feel safe in the
familiar. Focus on where you might go if you stepped into the unknown versus
the losses of staying stuck where you are.