Everyone and their mother is going to email you about your resolutions and goals now that it’s almost the beginning of the new year.
I don’t want to do that to you. Plus you already know I have a serious aversion to doing what everyone else is doing!
So instead I thought I would give you an example of what NOT to do and then give you a complete step by step process of how completely reframe your future and change your mindset for this year.
First: DON’T DO THIS (the “Thinking of…, Been wanting to…” method)
If you want to read more, how are you going to do it?
I used to read incessantly, but in 2016 I barely read 5 books (I may have actually finished 3 of them). During that year I said, “I can’t read more, I just don’t have the time.”
In 2017 I decided I wanted reading to be a part of my life again and have read nearly every book I could find on Human Happiness. Plus a few awesome fictional books. Over 20 books in total
In 2018 I realized the life changing benefits of reading books in areas that I wanted to learn or master and then I read over 40 books this past year.
This didn’t just happen. It wasn’t by accident or because I had more time this year. Actually it’s gotten busier (kids Hockey, Soccer and Taekwondo anyone?).
I would say this is a fairly small life change for me.
What’s the difference between a meager change vs a paradigm shifting change.
Well the reality is what is in those categories shifts depending on your own spectrum, but here’s some examples:
- Losing 10 pounds
Paradigm Shifting Change
- Changing your diet so that you get down to 12% bodyfat and have a sixpack
- Taking a trip to Europe
Paradigm Shifting Change
- Negotiating with your employer to allow you to go live in Europe for 3 months
- Stacking $2000 into an IRA this year
Paradigm Shifting Change
- Having your house completely paid for in less than 5 years and still maxing out a ROTH IRA
WHAT DO YOU NOTICE ABOUT THE PARADIGM SHIFTING CHANGES?
- The average person can’t imagine how it can work in their own life.
- Most of the world can’t “just do that”.
- You might automatically say, “that could never work for me”
It takes completely reframing your future to be able to achieve a paradigm shifting change.
More importantly when you go through the efforts to make them happen, you will not be the same person you were beforehand.
A paradigm shift you want to make might not have anything to do with travel or fitness or a “lack of mortgage”. It can be anything you want it to be. I’m very sure that there is something that you’ve wanted that you just haven’t thought it was possible so you haven’t seriously considered it.
FOR EXAMPLE: A few years back I badly wanted to be able to be available for my kid’s small events and volunteer at their school and be around for their small things (not just the big events like sports, school plays and concerts)
That might not sound like big change to you, but the process of identifying that I wanted it and then setting up my life to make this possible completely shifted my paradigm.
That’s what I want to help you do in 2019.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR PARADIGM SHIFT THIS YEAR?
FIRST STEP IS LEARNING HOW TO REFRAME YOUR FUTURE
We practice this reframing on our own team too. We had a team member who decided she wanted to work from Bali, Another that really wanted to be involved in the Hurricane Harvey Cleanup efforts. And earlier this year, my family and I worked from Portugal and then from France. All of these were huge challenges, none of them were easy to make happen…and if you ask anyone of us we’ll still say “it was awesome!”
And I’ve noticed that there’s a secret “brain trick” I go through in my own mind when I see a particularly hairy problem or issue — like finding a job with remote work potential, or building a business that empower me to travel and spend more time with my family.
Here’s my 3-step process to work through some of the biggest challenges and questions in your own path towards more fulfilling work, whether that’s remote jobs, creating a location-independent lifestyle, or another way to make meaningful shifts in your own work life:
1. IDENTIFY THE CHALLENGE GAUNTLET AHEAD OF YOU
Where are the places within your own life or career where you’ve thought: “people don’t do that” or “I could never do that”?
These beliefs are typically hiding in your mind as closed-ended statements about how the world works. Often they have qualifiers like “never” or “always” that make them feel extra permanent and extra true.
- I could never take a sabbatical and travel for 2 months
- People don’t just quit a job at Facebook to move to a smaller company with better work-life boundaries
- My partner and I couldn’t possibly start a business together this year
- I couldn’t possibly find work that pays me enough that allows me to work remotely
- People don’t just break into the tech industry as a woman
- I could never build a side hustle business on the side of my demanding full-time job
Now, words have power. They have such incredible influence on our beliefs that it’s critical to use them for good rather than to support limitations.
Cognitive psychology research talks about the idea of “confirmation bias,” or a heuristic (the natural “shortcut” tendency) that brains have developed so once they have an idea of a belief about the way the world works, they seek out data points and environmental evidence that affirms (rather than disproves) that belief.
Or, in pop psychology shorthand lingo from one of America’s greatest innovators and entrepreneurs:
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.Henry Ford
I’ve seen this before in my own life: when I believe that Alyssa is going to be frustrated with me because I left the house a total mess, I start looking for the signs that she’s mad. Was that text message missing an emoji? Did she shut the door particularly hard?
And sometimes, I can actually MAKE her mad at me by being paranoid and asking questions about the behaviors I’m perceiving as being angry. It doesn’t usually get this extreme, but bugging her with a, “hey, did you slam that door because you’re mad at me?” “Are you still going to make dinner tonight even though I left my towel on the bedroom floor again?” “Do you still love me?”
(I mean, you’d be mad, too, at this point, right?)
2. PLAY A MIND-TRICK ON YOURSELF WITH AN EMPOWERING REFRAME
Because words have the ability to shape our perception of reality, let’s try some thoughtwork to transform them away from being at odds and opposing your ability to change.
In psychology, this is called a “cognitive reframe” of a thought, where you voluntarily take a limiting or destructive belief or thought pattern and intentionally look at it in a different lens or light.
For an example, in Career Change Bootcamp, we talk about this concept at length when it comes to the idea of your weaknesses — or as we re-frame them, your “anti-strengths.”
Many people struggle to put their fingers on what their gifts and strengths are, but can rattle off a list of weaknesses a mile long: “I’m disorganized.” “I’m a perfectionist.” “I drive people crazy with how detail-oriented I am.” (OR: “I struggle with details.”)
And when we re-frame these observations into a more empowering perspective, all of a sudden it’s like a million lightbulbs go off inside people’s heads. It comes from allowing yourself to wonder: “what if this “weakness” is actually a secret data point to reveal a related strength?”
Let’s take “I’m a perfectionist,” for example. Let me try the thought exercise of reframing perfectionism as a gift and not a curse. All of a sudden, it becomes: “I seek out perfection and optimal performance in everything I do — and expect it from my teammates. I am the person who you know will help you create the best version of your product because I’ll see all the tiny cracks before they become catastrophic fissures.”
An added bonus of a reframe here is that now you have an awesome way of identifying and speaking about your Signature Strengths. Knowing your strengths — and owning them — is a key way to get other doors to open for you.
That kind of subtle framing and phrasing shift takes a belief or painful thought that felt like destiny and a burden, and immediately transforms it into positive, creative, generative energy.
Now, let’s apply that same principle to reframing your gauntlet challenge belief.
Instead of “I could never” or “people don’t,” substitute the subtle but critical reframe shift to an open-ended question: “how could I…”:
- I could never take a sabbatical and travel for 2 months → How could I take a sabbatical and travel for 2 months?
- People don’t just quit a job at Facebook to move to a smaller company with better work-life boundaries → How could I move to a smaller company with better work-life boundaries?
- My partner and I couldn’t possibly start a business together this year → How could I start a business with my partner this year?
- I couldn’t possibly find work that pays me enough that allows me to work remotely → How could I find work that pays me enough and allows me to work remotely?
- People don’t just break into the tech industry as a woman → How could I break into the tech industry as a woman?
- I could never build a side hustle business on the side of my demanding full-time job → How could I build a side-hustle business on the side of my demanding full-time job?
3. REINFORCE THE NEW REALITY BY LOOKING FOR SUPPORTING EVIDENCE
With that new, re-framed question, challenge yourself to come up with 10-20 ways to answer it.
(Yes, really! And if you’re struggling, push yourself to come up with 30 ideas — err on the side of more raw material, not less!)
You are doing some sweet brain ninja work on yourself by now harnessing the power of confirmation bias and deploying it in favor of the reality you want to see in front of you.
What are all the data points I can imagine existing (that probably do exist, if I do some research) about how this could be real and true and the new reality for me?
Totally sneaky and awesome, huh?
Dig deep here! Here’s an example to get you started:
Step 1: Challenging belief: I couldn’t possibly find work that pays me enough that allows me to work remotely
Step 2: Reframe: “I couldn’t possibly find work that pays me enough that allows me to work remotely” becomes…“How could I find work that pays me enough and allows me to work remotely?”
Step 3: Brainstorm: How could I find work that pays me enough and allows me to work remotely? I could…
- Interview people I know who are working remotely to find out how they did it and how they make money
- Propose a shift in my current job to my boss of evolving into being a part-time or full-time WFH position
- Do research into the highest paying jobs and see what elements of those might be able to be done remotely
- Do I need fully remote work, or just more flexibility? See about getting a webcam or VPN setup from work so I can work from home on days with doctors’ appointments
- Define “pays enough” by creating a range of minimum, target, and ideal salaries so I can start to narrow in on possibilities
- Read case studies on businesses that have remote-only workforces, and send a note to a contact at those organizations asking them for their perspective on how it’s been
- Look at roles and industries that are actually improved when the employee is remote or able to travel easily: sales, coding, coaching, training, event planning…
- Start a location-independent side business now at my current job, with the intent to scale it. (Dropshipping, coaching, online information products, online stores, etc.)
- Take a class online about what you need to know to become a digital nomad
- Get coaching from a career coach on how to find these jobs and apply for them so I can be a stand-out candidate and increase my probability of securing the job
- Join location independent employee Facebook or LinkedIn groups
- Take a course at SkillCrush.com on learning coding skills
Check out Lisa from our team above traveling and working abroad this past summer!
And the list could go on! The more wild creativity and freedom you give yourself, the better. Don’t worry about “good” ideas or “feasible” ideas at this point — there will be a time for curating and cutting things down later. Better to get the full brainstorm of ideas out on paper first.
WITH A NEW SET OF TACTICS AND TOOLS LIKE THIS TO HELP YOU BEGIN YOUR PARADIGM SHIFT
Plan 60 minutes on your calendar right now and save the link to this article to be able to go through this process for yourself, take those goals for the year, not the ones you set but the ones you know you wanted to and were a little afraid to set and work through the reframing process.
Next share this article with someone else who can benefit from it!
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