Last week, I introduced the PULSE© coaching model that I use to help clients get their lives back in balance. This week, I’m writing about the first letter in the acronym – “P” for paradigm. My passion is to empower clients to move past self-limiting barriers and begin to live the life they are meant to live. When you choose to live in truly active manner instead of always reacting to situations around you that’s when the real magic happens.
And now it’s time to… get unstuck and shift that paradigm!
What is a paradigm? The dictionary definition of paradigm is: a typical example or pattern of something; a model.
Origin: 1475–85; < Late Latin paradīgma < Greek parádeigma pattern (to show side by side)
What does that mean exactly? How does this apply to my life?
Everyone has an “internal” paradigm – a set of beliefs, a particular way of looking at things, or a reason we feel a certain way about certain things. You can almost always justify your paradigm in your own mind. Perhaps you have gone through unimaginable tragedy, loss, or hurt. Perhaps you feel as if you don’t matter or that you have no control over what happens in your life. However, your paradigm can often cause you to be judgmental, jaded, or angry. An out-of-balance paradigm may cause you to become bitter or feel like you are never good enough or that you will never accomplish anything. You become stuck and unable to move forward.
That’s when it is time for a paradigm shift.
The following is my favorite illustration of a paradigm shift by Dr. Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
I remember a mini-paradigm shift I experienced one Sunday morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly — some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene. Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.
The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.
It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”
The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “Your wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an instant.
How do I shift my paradigm?
Through one-on-one coaching you will learn how to shift your paradigm from being judgmental of both yourself as well as others by viewing situations through a difference lens. There are ways to hold yourself to a higher standard without beating yourself up and feeling like a failure if you’re not perfect. There are things in life we can control and things we cannot. It is imperative to differentiate between these circumstances to truly achieve a balanced paradigm.
For over a decade Jenny Jacobs has studied the principles of healthy living, life balance, stress management, positive psychology, and self-development. Jenny is a dynamic speaker, coach, and blogger and is passionate about helping people integrate their personal and professional selves.
Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, visit us today at www.executiveexcellence.com or message me directly on LinkedIn if you want to receive our monthly CEE News!