A dose of hon­esty about behaviour can help bring about change

Some­times it’s worth stop­ping for a bit be­fore tak­ing the plunge

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - Rowena Hardy/Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, per­for­mance coach and part­ner of Minds Aligned: www.mind­saligned.com.au

It was like cre­at­ing a cool­ing off pe­riod which in­ter­fered with my orig­i­nal strat­egy and high­lighted how im­por­tant it was to take time to de­cide.

MY WIFE is an amaz­ing per­son and one who I re­spect, trust, love and cher­ish for the per­son she is and the per­son she will be. I may be bi­ased; we did meet on top of Uluru at sun­rise many years ago and have been to­gether since and that’s an­other story.

Not only that, Rowena has the re­mark­able abil­ity to pro­vide me with in­sights into my own behaviour that I am of­ten blind to and through those in­sights I have the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop much greater self-aware­ness and a deeper un­der­stand­ing of my­self. I am in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate to have that re­la­tion­ship.

An ex­am­ple of this is when, af­ter know­ing me for a few years, she chal­lenged me about my “buy­ing” strat­egy. (I was prob­a­bly look­ing at an­other pair of boots to add to a wardrobe rel­a­tively full of sim­i­lar footwear). What’s a buy­ing strat­egy, you might ask? In her terms it was de­scribed in that pe­riod as be­ing “I see it, I like it, I buy it”. There were few fil­ters in place to man­age the de­ci­sion. I would ra­tio­nalise the spend­ing to my­self as a need and then take ac­tion; make the pur­chase.

Af­ter a con­ver­sa­tion about what had been noted I be­gan to ques­tion my ap­proach and con­se­quently put in place a range of other steps in be­tween to chal­lenge my im­me­di­ate de­ci­sion cre­at­ing a buf­fer to slow down and de­ter­mine whether that pur­chase was nec­es­sary or was I caught up in my emo­tional re­sponse i.e. de­sire.

The strat­egy be­came “I see it, I like it, I’ll con­sider it and other op­tions and I may or may not buy it”. It was like cre­at­ing a cool­ing off pe­riod which in­ter­fered with my orig­i­nal strat­egy and high­lighted how im­por­tant it was to take time to de­cide. The brain is a com­plex piece of equip­ment and it runs on a set of neu­ral path­ways that we con­struct, of­ten un­con­sciously, that shape our behaviour and strate­gies for han­dling ev­ery­thing that hap­pens in our lives. Un­less we are made aware of these be­hav­iours ei­ther through self-re­flec­tion, an in­ci­dent that chal­lenges our map of the world or the good for­tune to have a great friend who talks to us hon­estly, we get trapped in the strat­egy and jus­tify it by say­ing “that’s just the way I am”.

When I hear that, my ques­tion is go­ing to be “When did you de­cide that and how does it serve you?” So next time you’re get­ting caught up in a behaviour you know needs to change, ask your­self that ques­tion. It’s got lit­tle to do with pur­chas­ing and a lot to do with strat­egy.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Find some­one you trust enough to tell you the truth, and to whom you will lis­ten.

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