Let me start this article by asking you some questions.
- Have you ever felt like there's something wrong with you because you cannot change a thought pattern?
- Have you ever felt frustrated while reading success stories about how certain people changed their life "forever" after reading a single book or attending an event?
- Have you ever felt like certain success stories are missing something super important? (hint: time!)
If the answer was yes, keep reading.
I am super annoyed by all the authors, coaches, speakers and thought leaders that write books in which they describe their breakthrough but don't tell the whole story.
You hear these authors and thought leaders kinda bragging about their moment of awakening by saying:
"So, I read that book and it changed me forever..."
"I spoke with that person/coach and my life changed forever..."
"I went to that event and I was never the same..."
Now let's see how these things work in the real world!
Don't even try to tell me that because of an "aha! moment" you never EVER thought about a situation like you used to think before you had the awakening.
This is exactly what annoys me. Because we, the normal people, we read tons of books, listen to seminars, enroll in online courses, work with coaches and therapists and we have tons of "aha! moments", but just a few days after the "aha! moment", we find ourselves thinking like we used to think.
And these "perfect" success stories are making you believe that there's something wrong with you because you did everything they did and probably even more, but for you it wasn't that simple, for you it wasn't "perfect".
Now, my question is: was it really that simple for those authors as they say?
Of course it wasn't, but who would read a book if you market it like this:
So here is what happened: I read these seven books and went to three events over the course of two years. I had several AHA! moments and I've constantly worked on myself for another two or three years to INTEGRATE those teachings into my life, into my being. Then, my life truly changed forever.
You bet it changed forever after that much work and time!
No one will buy such a book because we are all looking for the magic f$%king pill, for the easy fix, for someone to save us. And I am not better than you, trust me - it's a trap from which I am trying to escape for years now.
Breakthrough (aha! moment) vs. real change!
I did not know how to put it in words until I read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks who talks about the difference between BREAKTHROUGH and REAL CHANGE!
You can have as many breakthroughs as you want, if you don't work on yourself after the actual breakthrough, you won't experience the real change!
So, we have breakthroughs -- when you feel that "aha!", that clarity moment -- and we have change. Change equals those months and years of work on yourself to change certain patterns of thinking, is the way you INTEGRATE the teachings into your own life.
So, I kindly ask all the authors, teachers, coaches and thought leaders out there to stop making such claims because there are many perfectionists out there (like me) who read such stories and start to believe that there's something wrong with them because they don't experience such easy-to-deal-with change. You cannot imagine how much pressure a perfectionist can put on herself if things don't work out they way it did for others.
Be REAL, be AUTHENTIC, be VULNERABLE and people will still buy your book or want to purchase your products. Don't hide the struggle, don't hide the sleepless nights, don't hide the frustration that comes with thinking about a situation like you used to think, don't hide all the years of work.
Don't hide the PROCESS, because that's the thing most people have a hard time accepting.
As my friend, Elinor Cohen, suggested to "see these published 'miracles' as inspiration of what is possible and less as 'why am I not there yet?'"
So, what's this article's keyword?
INTEGRATION. In order to experience real change you need to integrate the lessons, the aha moments into your daily life until the new way of thinking becomes normal. But I kindly ask you to allow yourself time.
It's unrealistic to believe that you can change a thinking pattern, that you've developed in years or even decades, in only a few short days. Although I don't believe there can be an exact science here, as we all have such different life experiences, my suggestion is to do your best to love yourself while working on changing any pattern -- it will make life so much easier.
And this last suggestion is something that I am working on integrating into my own life for quite some time now -- over six months -- and yes, sometimes I do feel like it's getting worse rather than better, but it's normal.
Why do you think my coaching program is for six months?! (And most coaches out there are going for the same approach.) It's because they hire me to keep them accountable, to ease their way through change, to give them confidence, among other things.
And again, you can book a single session, you might have an "aha! moment", but that does not guarantee you will actually change a certain thinking pattern.
What's a healthy way to deal with change?
First, acknowledge the difference between breakthrough and the process that follows. Secondly, is by adding a teaspoon of self-love every time you start beating up on yourself for not being further down the road or for getting into the old ways of thinking again.
Thirdly, check out this interview that I had with my friend Jason Goldberg (an international speaker and coach) where we dive deeper into how change really works, how to accept the process and develop a more loving attitude towards yourself!
Are you a perfectionist?
Here are two books that I totally recommend about perfectionism and allowing yourself to be vulnerable:
Of course, there are still many things to be discussed around this topic or about loving yourself, but I'll leave that for a future article. Meanwhile, if there's one thing to take away from this article is this: have patience with yourself because real change happens over time.
PS: remember to love yourself through the process of changing your thoughts! (this reminder is actually for me - sorry!)
Mihai Herman is an online business coach for creative entrepreneurs that want to have a positive impact in the world. You can learn how to build an authentic business (& drive up sales), deal with success blocks and get your articles published on big publications by downloading his business bundle for creative entrepreneurs here!