The following post is an excerpt from “Eve of Influence: Keys to unlocking exceptional leadership in women”. In this book, Leadership Zone Founder and Director Liz McCoy provides a practical guide to increasing leadership expertise and how to foster the development of compassionate, kind and connected workplaces. Eve of Influence is for the women who are fully committed to their leadership journey. For women who are willing to go deep, and work on themselves for the betterment of those they influence and guide.
In this post, Liz shares strategies or how sustainable behavioral change can be achieved through changes in thinking.
If you would like to read the entire book, I invited you to download it here.
I am very conscious of the incredibly crowded, and certainly overwhelming, information library available to us today. It seems that everyone is out there spruiking their wares and telling us what to do…
“Take these five steps to greater influence”; “Practice these seven things successful people do”; “Implement the ten ways to communication mastery”.
As a professional coach and a thirty-year emergency nurse veteran, I can confidently tell you that behaviour change is never sustainable without a corresponding change in thinking.
This is a fundamental shift in most people’s approach to change, so let me explain what I mean.
All behaviours, conscious or subconscious are preceded by a thought – that is, a physical chemical or electrical event generated by the neurons in our brains. Transferred via a neural network, a thought ultimately culminates in a corresponding action.
Anyone who has ever ‘failed’ to diet will know that the ideal behaviours of ‘don’t eat that’, ‘avoid that – it’s bad food’ are unsustainable when your internal thinking (the electrical pattern occurring inside your head) is saying ‘I like that’ or ‘that tastes amazing’.
Sustainable behavioural changes stem from new or enhanced neural pathways in the brain – better known as neuroplasticity.
So in the spirit of avoiding even this conversation becoming yet another set of ‘do this’ or don’t do that’ instructions, which I know is unlikely to work, I wanted to share some strategies to actually change your thinking. But before I do this, there are a couple of foundational principles that are worth understanding.