Are you making this mistake and not seeing the change you need?

This is the second post of a five part series, if you missed the introduction to the SOCK theory – head here first.

When I am overweight I stop getting on to the scales.
I don’t want to know the truth about my weight.
In fact, I would rather not know a lot of the negative things about myself.

I know others avoid things this way. Probably you too? Denial is a powerful human skill and it keeps us comfortable in our heads. But it also blocks any change. I will never lose weight unless I get onto those scales. I will never improve my student teaching, my research or my leadership unless I get honest feedback. My hospital will never improve its service unless it invites honest feedback. When that happens, change can begin.

Seeing what it is you want to change is the first step in the change process. It may seem obvious when you read it, but not everyone is able, or willing, to identify the true reason for failing the challenges in their life.

What are you in denial about that is blocking you changing, so that you can live your life to the full?

Is it the scary pictures on a cigarette packet? The obesity campaigns on TV? The domestic violence ads on the radio? The fathering seminar at school?

1. Education is sometimes seen as the silver bullet of change. I often hear ‘all they need is more education’. But it is really just the first part of the first step. Being able to identify what we need to change and asking the people around you for feedback is the first part of step one – whether it be specialists, friends, family, or colleagues

2. You must see it and not let denial stop you. Once they have provided the feedback, no one can take this first step for you. No matter how many times you are lectured by your partner, or hear the ad, or go to the seminar.

Your family have told you about your addiction – but have you really listened?
Your brother told you about your anger problem – but have you really seen the fear in your families faces?
Your team talk about the bad workplace culture – but have you really stopped to listen?

I sense that I have put on weight – but have I really got on the scales and acknowledged what that number means? Or am I just asking people if I look slimmer in a way that begs a yes response; wearing larger trousers that have revised sizes.

3. You must not make excuses. Are we actually willing to see the truth, that there is a problem? We can avoid this by, for example, saying ‘I think that statistics are always lying’, ‘if I didn’t smoke I would put on weight and that is just as dangerous’ or ‘my grandmother lived to be 100 and she smoked all of her life’.

We need to be willing to overcome fear or discomfort at seeing the truth, the reality. That is the starting point.

4. Don’t let your emotions hide the truth. Our emotions can prove to be a significant hurdle in this step towards change. Do your emotions and view of the world ever stop you seeing the truth of a situation? I am amazed at how often I have seen this. My daughter Amy gained interesting insight into this, when an incident that she was part of was made public in the media. She was amazed to realise that her friend, the author, had left out a significant detail. A detail that once she ignored it, amplified the pain of the interaction. Her own emotions stopped her seeing some truth within the situation, that would have helped her overcome it. I am positive that we have or will all experience this. So let’s make an effort to step outside ourselves and be willing to view our situation from someone else’s perspective.

So let’s take the first step together now!

1. Ask yourself what areas of your life you would change if given a magic wand to do so?
2. Ask some friends or family to give you honest feedback about the thing you want changed. If anonymity is important, invite them to write it all down.

One trick I have heard, is to change your computer password to whatever it is you have identified to change. So that everyday you are reminded to see what you are changing.

Stay tuned next month for step two – Own It

This is the second post of a five part series, if you missed the introduction to the SOCK theory – head here first.

We all have something we wish we could be doing better – if you know someone that would benefit from this, please forward it on or share on social media

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