How To Control Your Mind: Are We Too Weak Mentally?

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 Are We Too Weak Mentally?

There is a tendency for us to seek the easy way out. When faced with tough decisions we choose less difficult options. We don’t look forward to struggle, pain and suffering.

Yet: James1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We dread hard times and have grown lax in the use of our minds. We have become loose in our thinking and allowed our minds to be like unbridled wild horses.

James 3: 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.

Lessons from breaking in a horse help us to bring our minds under control. A 5-step process is recommended.

  1. Gain trust. Develop a personal relationship with your horse before trying to train him.

Our minds have been dominated by a self-image that we hold to be true.

Spend time discovering on a daily basis who you really are. What interests you, what inspires you, what scares you, what frustrates you, what tempts you, what angers you, what embarrasses you, what prompts you to hide your true feelings?

  1. Practice Safety. You need to be careful around horses.

You are about to discipline a mind that is being influenced by external factors. Don’t get over-confident and careless during the exercise.

Eph 612 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The fact is that you have to contend with external influences in behaviour modification.

  1. Take it one step at a time. Each step has to become a habit before moving on to the next step.

Start gaining control of your mind with micro-steps. Conquer things like forcing yourself to get up to exercise when your body says sleep longer.

Those are the battles that we need to win before we can talk about major behaviour modification. We have to let our bodies know who is calling the shots now.

1Co 9:25 Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, …… 27 I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.  (GNB)

Track down every “can’t be bothered”; “I don’t feel like it”; “It is too much trouble”; “It’s too hard”; and every “I can’t manage it”.

Take one bad habit at a time and work on it until the replacement becomes a habit. Also aspire to develop your mind in new, positive directions. Expand your horizons.

We also have to get our minds ready for the disappointments that we will face:

  • Failed relationships
  • Betrayal
  • Bereavement
  • Financial disaster
  • Major health challenges

Commit now to work on one mind building project over the next 60 days.

  1. Never get angry.

Yelling and beating the horse breaches the trust and bonding.

One huge challenge to behavioural transformation is negative self-talk. An emotional outburst actually reinforces the behaviour.

Instead of “Clumsy!” ask an empowering question: Why do I always take special care on stairs?

Getting angry also causes us to give up in frustration. Be patient. Make progress slowly but steadily.

  1. Reward successes.

Catching people doing the right thing has proven to be more effective in achieving lasting behavioural transformation than looking out for faults.

The same thing happens internally. Celebrate when you get it right. When you get it wrong, gently provide guidance to get back on track.

Tough times require tough minds.

Stop the drift towards minds that are unbridled, lacking in discipline and without direction.

Work to develop one new habit within 60 days.

Master and coach these concepts with our SHRM-accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award and 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People programmes. Earn PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certifications.

E-mail: info@infoservonline.com.

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People™ Academy.

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Manage Difficult People Challenges with DISCerning Communication

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How To Use DISCerning Communication To Deal With Difficult People Challenges

Here is a different strategy for relating to difficult people.

Firstly, appreciate that many difficult situation challenges are really DISCerning Communication issues. The difficulties are largely a clash of behavioural styles.

When we recognize that difficulties are a conflict of behavioural preferences we are able to apply proven strategies to resolve them. However, if we tie the difficult situation challenges to the individual then it is more challenging to find answers.

A Map of Behavioural Preferences  

Dominance, Inducement, Steadiness and Conscientiousness (DISC)

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To get a better sense of how behavioural styles confuse communication we take a few examples from Dominant Style traits.

Others interpret “Direct” as blunt, undiplomatic and insensitive

“Decisive” gets translated as rash and reluctant to conduct proper analysis

“Independent” is viewed as being selfish and not a team player.

What happens when we use DISCerning Communication?

Let Don represent Dominance and Susan represent Steadiness and examine their perspective on “Direct”.

Johnny (colleague) has a problem with body odour. Don’s approach is to place his arm around Johnny’s shoulder and speak directly to the BO challenge advising that this brand of deodorant could solve the problem.

Susan reflects for a long time on how to get the message across to Johnny without hurting his feelings. Finally, she devices some subtle approach to give Johnny a hint.

Susan thinks Don’s approach is insensitive. It will hurt Johnny’s feeling.

Don thinks Susan’s approach takes forever while she devises her diplomacy. In the end, Johnny might even miss the message.

This brings their communication to a difference of approach rather than a personal issue.

We can disagree but it is on the grounds of approach not annoying personal flaws. We open our minds to the possibility that there may be an alternative point of view. There is a tendency to be less emotional in those circumstances.

Let us review an Inducement-Style case

Team members who have a preference for the I-style are often simultaneously the source of great pleasure and immense frustration.

Reliability is the major issue for others.  “But you said you would……” is a recurring phrase.

Here is a radically different perspective that might save you from pulling out more hair.

Our DISCerning Communication skills inform us that a feature of the I-Style is the desire to please. They seek success with and through people.

Given the need to please others, there is a tendency to say “Yes” readily.

There is also their need for interaction.

Let’s use Ivan as an example. You ask him to do you a favour and he says “Sure.” What are Ivan’s realities?

He has a full time job, is President of his Citizens Association, Vice President with responsibilities for Member Issues at his Service Club, enrolled in evening classes…….. Honestly, where would Ivan find the time to carry out your favour?

The bottom line is that people using the I-Style have a tendency to over-commit.  Their desire to please and to connect makes them want to serve. We poke fun at Ivan by noting that when he says “Consider it done”, he instantly considers it as having been done.

How does DISCerning Communication help?

  1. Take care to have Ivan clarify if his response is Yes (meaning I would like to help) or a genuine commitment to completing your task.
  2. Discuss implementation so that the issue is moved from the surface.
  3. Establish deadlines.
  4. Put reminders in place.
  5. Monitor progress.

DISCerning Communication makes a difference.

 

These principles are also incorporated in our 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People program.

SHRMThe program is accredited by SHRM and offers 16 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certifications. It involves over 16 facilitator-led, interactive hours of coaching plus 12 months of access to Online Courseware, e-Mail Consultation, Webinars and an exclusive Facebook Community.

Learn more at info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy.

 

 

How To Be More DISCerning With Others

 

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My 2+ granddaughter makes it clear when I can sing along and when I am to be silent. I discern that compliance is required.

Discernment enhances inter-personal relations and effective leadership. This is wrapped up in an approach that I call DISCerning Communication.

The concept incorporates behavioural preferences.  Questions about the value and validity of classifying behavioural styles have been raised.

Reference to an analogy of clothing preferences puts the issue into correct perspective. In reality, behavioural preferences are directly equivalent to our taste in clothes. We can put on or take off shades at will. At the same time, our library of photos will reveal a shade preference.

I have a preference for wearing blue. However, a pitfall would be to label me as a blue-shirt man. I am not wed to blue and wear other colours.

It is beneficial for the clothing store owner to know that there are people who have a preference for blue so as stock accessories and variations to satisfy them. However, it would be an error to confine their dealings with me to only items of blue. I might be seeking to diversify my wardrobe or could be encouraged to try on something new.

The fundamental principle is the need to separate the behaviour from the person.

The store owner should handle demonstrated blue shirt preference by showing things that go along with blue shirts. However, she should treat theindividual with an open mind, not knowing what they might want this time. Once the customer indicates a preference then the owner should roll out the things that are best suited to that style.

This approach dramatically improves the capacity of the store owner to satisfy customers. She identifies the cross-section of preferences that she will serve and works out how to best serve the needs of each preference. She does not need to be concerned that customers might have complex tastes. She focuses on learning to discern when a preference that she has classified is displayed and roll out her tested strategy for satisfying the identified needs.

Now, it could be that in a single encounter, the customer displays different – even conflicting – preferences. That is fine. Be clear about which preference is being addressed at any point in time and present the solution that meets those needs. Then move to the next.

The challenge we have created with behavioural classifications comes from the need to affix labels on others. The store staff says here comes blue-preference Trevor and shuts down every other expectation of my behaviour. Then when I am drawn to the flaming red turtleneck there is shock and their faith in the classification concept is dented. Focus on behaviours not on individuals!

Properly defined the behavioural classifications are consistent. People are not. Learn to identify behaviours and how best to respond to or manage them and life’s journey is a lot easier to navigate.

Step 1: Master the descriptors of the classification framework such that you can distinguish among behaviours (not people!).

Step 2: Learn how to get best results in relating to each category in the framework.

Step 3: Discern when each category is being displayed and apply the ideal strategy from Step 2.

That is the real value of behavioural classifications – facilitating inter-personal relationships. Stapling types as labels on the foreheads of others is misuse.

Avoid relying on “He is X”; “You are Y”; “I am Z” use of classifications!

Inserting the word using  makes all the difference in the world. “He is using X” alerts me to use X appropriate responses. I am also open to the possibility that he could shift to using Z at any time and I am flexible to apply suitable Z strategies.

However, the question remains: Is the store owner who invests in having customers fill out a questionnaire that highlights their preferences wasting time and money?

Not at all and here is why.

The store owner soon realizes that the range of preferences could be reduced to a manageable number of classifications. For simplicity here, she realizes that at its core her customers have a prevailing preference for variations of red, yellow, green, blue.

She uses that understanding to learn everything about relating to the nuances of each category (colour) and meeting their needs. She figures that showing blue might attract my interest but the minute I signal I am into red today, she rolls out her red sales plan.

The beauty of behaviour-based discernment is that the owner has the flexibility to deal effectively with both old and new customers. She discerns what’s going on with each customer in this moment and acts accordingly. DISCerning Communication works!

Next time, we discuss the value of  behavioural classification frameworks in leading others.

 

Ask about the SHRM-accredited 3-D Leader Certification: Dealing with Difficult People. Earn SHRM Professional Development Credits.

The next cohort of the ICF/SHRM accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award is January 2016.

E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.

How To Let Your Light Shine: A 3-Step Plan

How To Let Your Light Shine: A 3-Step Plan

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. We are required to let our influence be felt.

 

 

Matt 5: 13 -16 Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Many Christians struggle with this issue of making their presence felt. Some feel that they are shy. Others have doubt about what they have to offer.

A constant challenge for some Christians is “How can we increase our influence?”

I will share a sure fire 3-step process for increasing your influence in any environment – family, work, affiliations and the wider community.

Step 1: Build Trust

If you reflect on the people who have had the most influence on your life, you will find that they had at least one thing in common – you trusted them. You believed what they shared and trusted their wisdom and judgement. But how did you get to that point?

4 sub-steps unlock that mystery and provide the key to building trust.

Why did you trust?

  1. There was meaningful contact, often with a high level of frequency or regularity.

 Strive for regular meaningful communication with those you want to influence. That is one key to your success. Christ was with His disciples all time. He went to temple and places where He would be sure to contact the people He wanted to influence.

 You do not have to become a socialite. You can make a conscious effort to spend more quality time with those that are in your circle. People at work, school or in your neighbourhood.

 They satisfied some need that was important to you.

Identify the needs of those you seek to influence and satisfy as many as you can. At least work towards having their needs met.

 Christ fed and healed. He satisfied the needs of those who He wanted to influence.

 Matt 14: 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

 You might not be in a position to address all the physical needs of others but you can be there for them with respect to their emotional needs.

 You can also be a source of wise counsel to help them solve problems and make decisions.

  1. They reached out to you and you perceive that there was a sense of purpose related to the contact.

Make a conscious effort to reach out to those you seek to influence with shared goals in mind.

 Christ was clearly focused and dedicated to His purpose.

Luke 2:49  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Make letting your light shine an important item on your daily agenda.

  1. They delivered on promises. This is the bedrock of trust.

Only promise what you can deliver and deliver what you promise.

 Christ was sure in His pronouncements. Nothing that He said proved to be false or worthy of being doubted.

 Let your word be your bond. Never allow yourself be caught in a lie or a hollow promise.

Step 2: Be Admired/Respected

Cast your thoughts to the people that you admire or respect. It is likely that the basis of your admiration or respect could be placed into 2 categories:

  1. Their accomplishments and contributions
  2. Their character

What does this mean for you?

 Accomplishment/Contributions

  1. You can wield more influence if you accomplish more and make a greater contribution to your community and the world at large. If you are seen as a worthy citizen you will earn more credibility and wield more influence.
  2. That means that continuous learning and skills upgrade along with focus and commitment are essential ingredients on the path to letting your light shine brightly.
  3. Also, take care of your surroundings and be diligent.
  4. Take care to ensure that your accomplishments and contributions are in keeping with your role as an Ambassador for Christ.

Character

  1. Your behaviour (life) must be in keeping with the message that you are trying to send.
  2. In essence, you have to become a role model for the group. You have to be the living manifestation of what you want them to become. “Do as I (say ) do!”
  3. You need to be someone that they look up to.
  4. You need to be a source of inspiration. Walk the talk!

Step 3: Care

Why is it that most of us trusted our parents and took guidance from them?  At the core, it is because we believed that they cared about us. We believe that they had our best interest at heart and would spare no effort to satisfy our needs. We never felt as though they would lead us down the wrong path or betray our trust.

That is the ultimate blueprint for increasing your influence.

Matt 15: 32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Demonstrate continuously that you care for those you seek to lead, influence or impact. Make it crystal clear that you are there to pull them up and not to push them down.

Follow this step-by-step plan for the next 60 days and witness a ground swell in your capacity to influence others.

Tough Minds For Tough Times

Tough Minds For Tough Times

 

Tough Times

 

 

 

 

Someone brought into focus the idea that a major flaw in our make-up is the tendency for us to seek the easy way out. When faced with tough decisions there is a strong temptation and tendency for us to choose less difficult options. We don’t look forward to struggle, pain and suffering with glee.

Yet James would have us turn our world upside down:

James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This issue took over my thoughts when I saw someone on TV going across a narrow bridge with no guard rails over a deep gorge. A fall would lead unquestionably to death. I found myself thinking that I could not do that. I could not walk across – I would be too scared.

That prompted a swift chastisement of my mind for that kind of negative thinking and inspired the view that we have grown lax in the use of our minds. We have become loose in our thinking and allowed our minds to run wild without firm control.

James 3 vs  3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. The bit there is what we call today a bridle.

I think we underestimate the power that we walk around with at the top of our bodies. We lose sight of how trainable our minds are. I actually did some research on breaking in a horse. A 5-step process is recommended.

  1. Gain the trust of your horse. Having a personal relationship with your horse is imperative in building trust with him, leading to training later on. Spend time with your horse everyday, starting with just being near him.

Our minds have been dominated by the impostor self that Christ has told us to deny. In same way that you can’t just throw a saddle on a wild stallion, we need to approach this mind taming process systematically.

The first stage then would be to spend time truly discovering on a daily basis what is going on in your mind. Get to really know who you are – mentally. What interests you, what inspires you, what scares you, what frustrates you, what tempts you, what angers you, what embarrasses you, what prompts you to hide your true feelings?

  1. Practice Safety. Horses are powerful and you need to be careful around them.

Well, you are about to change the behaviour of a mind that has been carefully groomed by forces that will not easily see their investment go to waste. If you get over-confident and careless during the exercise you could experience a backlash.

Eph 612 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

  1. Take it one step at a time.Breaking a horse is a slow process. You have to fully make each step a habit before moving on to the next step.

As we go about regaining control of our minds and bringing them under subjection we should start with micro-steps.

Your rational true self decides that you should get up and go and exercise.  Impostor self pulls the cover back over your head.

Those are the battles that we need to win before we can talk about not conforming to the world. We have to let our bodies know who is calling the shots now.

You know that you are falling behind in reading the Bible in a year but every part of said body suddenly starts hurting you and your eyes are now burning like fire. Clearly, there is no option but to go to bed and hope you feel better the next day.

Read what Paul says we need to do about bodies who think they have a mind of their own:

1Co 9:25 Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. 26 That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. 27 I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.  (GNB)

We have allowed ourselves to grow soft and we need to toughen up in order to get ready for the challenges that life throws at us.

We have to track down every “can’t be bothered”; every “I don’t feel like it”; every “it is too much trouble”; all “it’s too hard”; and every “I can’t manage it”.

Turn bright searchlights on “I know this not so right but…”

Some of our minds are galloping downhill like a runaway stage coach.  We have to rein them in before it is eternally too late.

Take one bad habit at a time and work on it until the replacement becomes a habit. Like with the training of the horse you should not move on until the new habit is formed.

As you go through the process of looking into thoughts, words and deeds identify things that you would be better off without. Aspire to be a better person.

Did you catch yourself envying someone?

Is selfishness lurking within? What about jealousy? Maybe arrogance, unjustified levels of stubbornness. Are you guilty of being disrespectful when you are holding the handle?

This exercise in saddling, taming and reining in our minds is a great opportunity for spring cleaning.

But training is not only about bad habits.

We can also aspire to develop our minds in new, positive directions. We can expand our horizons.

What about working to develop a spirit of bravery… consider the early church

Or your capacity to deal with major challenges – Job

Or to offer wise counsel – Major prophets

Or to show compassion – Joseph

With God’s guidance we can bend our minds to be what we want them to be. Let us stop settling for less than we can be.

Let’s take this to another level. Show jumpers don’t just turn up at the show ground and expect to get through the course without penalty. Horse and rider spend hours in preparation.

We cannot expect to clear life’s obstacle course without adequate preparation. We have to get our minds ready for the challenges that we will face in life.

  • Failed relationships
  • Betrayal
  • Bereavement
  • Financial disaster
  • Major health challenges

James took care to show us what is possible for us.

James 5: 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.  18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

It all comes down to the bridling of our minds to get them to do what they need to do. Rein in our minds and life can take on new meaning. Let us toughen our minds as we prepare for tough times.

Decide right here right now to work on one mind building project. Over the next 60 days you are going to have a new habit manifest itself in your life.

Transformation projects work more effectively when you declare them to at least one person who will hold you accountable.

Work on any area of your life. In fact, it might be best not to take on too challenging a task initially. Start out with something that you can ace and build on that success.

  1. Never get angry is the next step in breaking in the horse.

The suggestion is that yelling and beating the horse pushes back the trust and bonding that you have been working to develop.

One huge challenge in moving to behavioural transformation is negative self-talk. An emotional outburst of anger directed at ourselves resonates at the subconscious level and actually has the opposite effect of what we desire. What stands out is that we are clumsy or careless or stupid. Not that we could be a little more attentive, careful or thoughtful.

A calm yet firm and consistent prodding in the right direction will get best results.

Remember that you are the champion of taking special care on stairs.

Or the empowering question version: Why do I always take special care on stairs?

Getting angry sometimes also has the effect in causing us to abort the process. We give up frustration because we can’t deal with the constant annoyance. Taming the beast requires patience and long-suffering. Make progress slowly but steadily. Only never quit!

  1. Reward successes. Giving the horse positive reinforcement is very important in bringing about the desired change.

Catching people doing the right thing has proven to be more effective in achieving lasting behavioural transformation than looking out for faults and berating them about their shortcomings.

The same thing happens internally. Celebrate when you get it right. When you get it wrong, gently provide guidance to get back on track.

If the horse goes off track, using the rein and applying pressure with the knee can help them to correct course.

Similarly, if you missed out on completing a task you could reinforce the need for compliance by cutting out your favourite cable show and doing it then.

Tough times requires tough minds.

Let us stop the drift towards minds that are unbridled, lacking in discipline and without direction.

Let us work to develop one new habit within 60 days.

If you have not put on Christ in baptism that is an excellent project. Make that decision now and we will work to bring your project to completion.