[This post is part of a series on The Method to use The Model — my model for the human emotional system designed for use in leadership, self-awareness, and general purpose professional and personal development — which I find the most effective and valuable foundation for understanding yourself and others and improving your life. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
I should note a caveat for the transition stage. Since this stage involves conflict, feeling fake, and overcoming inertia, you may use a lot of willpower. How do you know you’re moving in a direction that improves your life? How do you know you aren’t pushing hard on something that you thought would help but isn’t?
The best answer is through experience. After a few transformations you pick up the subtle cues that show inertia decreasing or that what seemed feeling fake at the beginning also carried feelings of exploration and discovery. For example, if you tried a new style of clothing or haircut, it could happen that everyone you know and trust tells you they don’t like it, but one person you don’t know from a social circle you want to join tells you it looks great. You may learn that one comment trumps all the others, no matter how much your trust and value your other friends.
It’s just like how new clothing may feel uncomfortable, but if a few people you’re attracted to tell you it looks good on you, you tend to find it more comfortable each time.
You’ll know the transformation at least has a chance of taking root when the environments, beliefs, and behaviors bring about the emotions you want. When you feel reward, you’ll know you’re on track. With experience, you’ll detect ever subtler feelings of reward and even know where the reward will come and how before it happens.
If you never feel reward at all, you have to ask if you should keep pushing in the hopes reward will come or if you should let go and put your efforts some place else, perhaps to come back later. If you push too hard without reward you may reinforce beliefs contrary to your goals, like a New Year’s Resolution.
What about when you’re starting and don’t yet have that experience?
I’ll write in more depth later on how to start initial transformations, but I recommend starting with simple transformation with relatively low risk, partly because they’re easier and partly to enable you to build experience. My home run after three strikes story is a great example. It took less than an hour. The stakes were low: if the experiment didn’t work my night would have been no worse than I started and I would have learned something. My other two simple examples also work to show you how transitions work.
If you’re starting using the Method for the first time and you just have to use it on some intense part of your life deeply connected to all other parts, I recommend finding a few places to practice first. As I mentioned, I’ll cover later how to find simple places to start.
So if you don’t have experience, start small or in cases where you have nothing to lose. If you feel compelled to jump into challenging cases… well, just look forward to learning from them. Using the Method won’t do any worse than alternatives.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book