Robert Brault said, “Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.”
This is the key to transition. It can make a major life change much easier and quicker. But how?
First, let’s define what transition is. For our discussion, it’s when you’re going from life being one way to wanting it to be something else. When it comes to work, changing careers typically means you’re in transition.
For most people, transition is tough, and it takes a long time. It feels hard and takes time because it requires an identity shift.
Your identity is rooted in your beliefs and habits. It’s built from the thoughts you think everyday, and it’s responsible for what your life looks like today.
Changing your identity is not something your brain does without a fight. Keeping your life as it is right now is much more comfortable. Your brain is wired to keep you safe. Change=danger. So then, how can we make it through transition with less fear and doubt?
It’s simple, but it requires taking a walk back in time. Go back to a time when you were successful at something. Maybe it was the day you graduated from college, or maybe it was when you were recognized for an achievement at work.
I remember back in the days when I sold metal roofing, receiving a company ring for sales over 4 million dollars in a year. I was very competent at my job. But beyond that, I was confident. I knew I could repeat my results, and even improve them.
Do you have your time in your mind? Good, let the feeling sink in.
Now, go back even farther, to the very first day you started the journey to that memory. Remember what you felt like that day? Remember the fear? The uncertainty? The worry and doubt?
I was the first woman in a sales force of over 20 men, selling metal roofing. To say I was scared would be an understatement. Once, a customer told me I didn’t know a f”ing thing about metal roofing. And you know what? He was right! But I learned. And I learned enough to be in the top 20%. Over the course of a couple years, my identity went from a brand new salesperson, to one of the top salespeople in the company.
I bet you have stories just like that. And I know you worked your way through them too.
What if you could use those memories to propel you forward? You can! Ever notice that people who are successful tend to stay successful? It’s because their identity is anchored in success. Don't worry, if you've gotten off the success track, you can get back on anytime.
To get this working in your own life, start by recalling the feeling of your past success. That feeling was the result of the thoughts you were thinking. Spend some time with the feelings until you find the thoughts behind them. Write those thoughts and feelings down. Get as specific as you can. These thoughts don’t have to be complicated. In most cases they’re super simple, and that’s why you don’t realize how powerful they are! Thoughts like: I help people. My product helps people. This is easy. These are all simple thoughts that express your true motivation.
Next, notice the contrast between what you’re thinking and feeling right now, and the thoughts you wrote down. See the pattern? In the beginning we always feel less confident! It’s normal.
The way to lessen the anxiety and shorten the time it takes to get to where you’re going is in those thoughts you just wrote down. Borrow those for your current situation. Modify them a bit until you find the thoughts that allow you to feel NOW the same as you felt when you recalled your past success. Practice those thoughts over and over and over, until you build new neural pathways in your brain. That’s it, that’s the trick.
When you believe that your thoughts will create your results, and you practice thoughts that make you feel successful, you’ll truly understand Robert Brault’s quote, “Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.”