Be Strategic - A Blueprint to Bridge the Gap
In the previous two articles I wrote about the ‘bookends’ of change, Being Honest and Being Informed. Being Honest is about identifying the real truth of your current life-experience, ‘warts and all’. Being Informed invites you to imagine what your life would be like if it was free of the suffering that typically presents throughout your life. This third step is working out what is required to bridge the gap between these two. In EAP, we call it Being Strategic. This is imagining the new neural pathway that will be the blue print for new behaviours, thoughts and attitudes that will result in sustainable changes to your life experience.
Mind the Gap
If you have travelled the Tube in London you will have regularly heard over the PA system a reminder to ‘mind the gap’. In essence that is what we do in EAP, we assist you to mind the gap. This means that we help you to be aware of the gap in your consciousness and help you to work out ways to cross it. There are three phases to minding the gap, or what we call in EAP as Being Strategic.
Identify a Strategy
Phase 1 – Identify a series of actions that would be necessary for you to adopt your new state of consciousness. What would you have to do differently (physically, mentally and emotionally) that would bridge that gap? Spiritually, (in EAP terms), relates to the quality of values that guides how you align yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. What changes would you have to make spiritually? As much as this is a very personal process, there will be elements that are essential for everyone; research, enhanced awareness, and accountability to name a few. The majority of people will need guidance to achieve this.
Phase 2 – Break each action into a set of sub-actions, a series of sequential steps that make it possible for that action to be successfully adopted. This is a list of bit size pieces that has the new neural pathway so clearly laid out that when engaged, will leave no ambiguity about what has to be done next.
Phase 3 – Look at the obstacles that might prevent any of the actions or steps being successfully engaged. This is often about motivation and resources. By having clear strategies to manage these obstacles before they appear, the chances of overcoming them are greatly improved. Given that this is about developing a neural pathway, that can be seen to be akin to developing a map. The actions are like the towns on a highway between two cities. You know that you have to pass through them to get to your destination. The steps are the various regions and districts that you have to drive through to get to the next city. Sometimes there are hazards and obstacles that block your path and this is when you use your strategies as detours. It may take you out of your way for a bit, but eventually you will get back onto your original path.
A Point of Difference
So far everything I have discussed is not too dissimilar to a coaching model. But it is this next point that sets EAP Mentoring apart from other models of guidance. There is a lot of research that supports the notion that behaviours that are repeatedly rehearsed in the mind, impress a new neural pathway enough that the map becomes a track. In other words, maintaining an awareness of the new neural pathway is as effective (and I would suggest, is more effective) as enacting the actions and steps. The immediate response is to hop in and immediately begin to adopt the actions and steps. Thousands of diets and millions of people doing the diets are evidence that that rarely works. It will for a time, but not only does it fail, many times dieters put on more weight. The key to the EAP approach is that change is the natural result of awareness and if you have linked your awareness to your new neural pathway there will be a point when you will naturally choose behaviours that are better serving. Because you have embedded the new neural pathway into the wiring of the brain, that moment you decide to act in accordance with your awareness is easy. There is no sacrifice, no sense of loss, no attachment. Since the path is already worn, you step onto it and can confidently move forward knowing the path is well marked.
Making it Stick
It has been long considered that if you want to really learn something, teach it. This is the fourth step in the EAP Process. You start by Being Honest, that is followed by Being Informed and Being Strategic. The final step we call Being of Service. In my next blog I will disclose another key point of difference of EAP which is the way that change becomes sustainable.
Take a Moment to Consider
Take a moment to think about one area of your life that causes you to suffer, whether it is physical, mental or emotional. Now imagine how that element of your life would look if it was in balance and not causing you to suffer. These are the bookends I talked about earlier. Now, identify what series of actions you would have to take to bridge the gap between the bookends. You may like to write these down. This will typically include research and education, implementation of new tools, daily accountability regarding the implementation, acknowledgement of success and remedies for possible obstacles. You should also be able to clearly identify what success looks like. Instead of acting on the strategy, take time each day to review it and consider how it would serve you to adopt those strategies, and how it wouldn’t serve you if you didn’t. Stay committed to being aware of the strategy and try not to be tempted to begin doing it. Allow yourself to take action once you have fully aligned with how it does and does’t serve you.
I would be interested on your feedback to this blog. You can leave your comments here on the blog and I can respond directly to you. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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