If we are to create lasting change in any domain of our lives, we must become intentional about who we are becoming. This post draws from one man’s brilliant wisdom about how to change through awareness, acceptance, accountability, and action.
“You have a chance every single morning to make that change and be the person you want to be.” – Brendon Burchard
As an international motivational speaker and writer, Brendon Burchard has inspired millions of people around the globe to live a meaningful life. In fact, this post is inspired by Brendon’s passionate message to live fully, love deeply, and make a difference–by being intentional about who we are becoming.
Whatever it is that you’re trying to change, improve, or enhance in your life, these four steps (what Brendon calls the “4 gates to lasting change”) will open your eyes to what’s in store for you.
Right now, if you order his book, Life’s Golden Ticket, you will also get the online course, “The 4 Gates to Lasting Change” for free!
Think about yourself. Think about the changes you want to make in your own life, and these gates can open up the how of getting there. Think about the people you love and the people you lead, those who your changes will impact and inspire. No matter our reasoning or inspiration, there are four elements that are always present in the process of change.
How to Change: The 4 Gates to Lasting Change
The change begins when that first gate opens, and that’s called the Gate of Awareness. Change always begins with awareness.
The First Gate to Change: Awareness
Awareness means you see things more clearly. You start to evaluate what’s important and how you’re showing up in the world. Sometimes it takes a critical incident for us to reevaluate our lives, but it doesn’t have to. Either way, this is an opportunity to ask yourself some serious questions, such as:
- How have I been feeling?
- How have I been living my life?
- Who am I?
- What’s really important to me?
- What do I want now?
If you’re being honest with yourself, evaluate (1) the major areas of your life, (2) your thoughts, and (3) your habits.
1. Evaluate these areas of your life:
- Your free time. Do you enjoy your lifestyle? What are you doing with your off time?
- Your energy. Do you have the energy to fulfill your dreams? Do you feel good physically? How have you been showing up in this area?
- The people you surround yourself with. The attitude, the support, the positive or negative energy. What’s really important in your relationships right now?
- Your mission/work. What’s important in your work right now? Is it busy work or is it your life’s work? Do you like your work? Do you want to get out of it? Be real. We spend more time here than most anywhere else, so it’s an important area to evaluate.
- Your emotional world. What are the major emotions you experience on a consistent basis? Do you experience the emotions you wanted to experience on a consistent basis in your life? Examples being: joy, engagement, enthusiasm, confidence, love, satisfaction, fulfillment…
2. Evaluate your thoughts. Your thoughts create your attitude. Are you experiencing positive, happy, grateful thoughts? Or are you harboring negative, angry attitudes? The point is that no one controls your thoughts but you.
Again, ask yourself some questions:
- Does it ruin my whole day or attitude if something doesn’t go my way?
- Is my mindset supportive to growth or is it supporting yesterday? Is it open, accepting, excited, or really crappy?
- Are my thoughts supporting me or caging me? Are they advancing my quality of life–giving me more motivation, drive, and love? Or are they stealing from my life?
- How am I thinking?
By stepping back and witnessing our thought choices, we can develop a greater capacity to create more proactive thoughts.
3. Evaluate your habits. Are they pulling you away from success or toward it? What are you really doing each day? Are your habits allowing you to move forward? Our consistency of behavior either opens the door to our full potential or closes it.
The Second Gate to Change: Acceptance
The biggest reason we back out of the gate of awareness is avoidance. This is the step many people get stuck with, because awareness can generate a lot of emotions. Acceptance is the opposite of avoidance; it means that you’ve faced what you’ve found.
To change our lives, we must become more accepting of (1) ourselves, (2) our past, and (3) our power in the moment to direct our attention and attitude.
1. Accept yourself. Only when you allow yourself to be you can you be truly happy. How can you be happy if you’re not you? Showing up for yourself means trading conformity for genuine self-expression.
2. Accept the past… in full. We say, “This too shall pass,” but we can also realize that that too did pass. There are some things we need to let go. We can still have nostalgia and fondness of the past, and it’s healthy to look back at the things that brought us strength and lessons, but we need to reengage with now if we’re going to change. The magic of the present moment is only entered with awareness and acceptance.
3. Accept what you cannot change, and your power to change what can be changed. Know what you can and can’t change. Complaining about things we can’t change (like traffic or taxes) expends precious energy, and it means that we have not accepted things as they are. Try to accept what you cannot change with either detachment or presence, and accept that you have the power to change some really important things–how you respond to the world, how you see the world, and how you live within yourself. Accept your energy and your impact each day.
The Third Gate to Change: Accountability
The work of awareness and acceptance leads us to a realization that many areas of our lives must change and that we are the ones to change it. To change, we must (1) own our reality, (2) become accountable for what we’ve missed, and (3) take responsibility for what we must do.
1. Own your reality. Avoiding reality can be comfortable, but it’s the best long-term strategy to ensure suffering. Own your role, your energy, and your responses. You don’t have to allow other people’s opinions and emotions change the way you think and feel. In any given situation, ask yourself, “How would my highest Self handle this situation?”
2. Be accountable for what you’ve missed. If you made a mistake, step up and be honest. Don’t beat yourself up (because you’ve passed through the gate of acceptance), but notice what you’ve missed or neglected and take accountability for it.
3. Be accountable for your own growth. Rather than waiting for someone else to tell you what to do, design a plan for yourself to develop mastery in the area of your life you’d like to change. Design where you’re going. Take personal self-initiative to figure something out. Set goals and deadlines for yourself. The more self-initiative you have, and set yourself up to have, the more likely you will move ahead faster.
The Fourth Gate to Change: Action
If we’re to experience lasting change, we must become more action-oriented in creating the lives we desire. We must take consistent and significant action that propels us forward. Every day, we can (1) prime positive emotions, (2) face a fear, and (3) prioritize three needle-movers of action.
1. Prime positive emotions. This means to generate enthusiasm in the morning. Stretch, exercise, pray, journal, think happy thoughts, or do something else that encourages an optimistic outlook, which in turn encourages you to take more positive actions. Take a moment to pause and look forward to the day, because the energy in which we live is the energy which we attract and are given. Your day can be miraculous, not because you’re in control of everything, but because you’re gifted with the power to generate the energy you experience.
2. Face a fear or a difficulty that you’d rather avoid. Teach yourself to take action through the difficulty and you’ll become a stronger person. Look at what you think is going to be challenging and face it each day. This develops character and momentum towards lasting change.
3. Prioritize the three needle-movers of action. Every day, have three action items–things that really move the needle of growth–that you’re going to do no matter what. This practice also breeds incredible momentum and power. Scan your priorities and goals and choose three that would make a difference, and don’t go to bed before you do those things. When you plan, prioritize, and execute the things that matter, you’re less likely to let distractions eat up the day. You will feel an incredible vibrancy, energy, ambition, and desire to do the things that matter.
- In what ways can you commit to making a positive change today?
- How can you be intentional about who you are becoming, about where you are going?
Please share your thoughts, insights, lessons, or experiences with me in the comments.
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Let a bigger love propel you.
Free acorn graphic by Lisa Glanz; lettering by Aim Happy.