Yesterday I shared a few thoughts about changing behaviors using four simple steps:
- Recognize why you want to/need to make a change.
- Acknowledge the consequences of not changing.
- Accept help for making change occur.
- Don’t set yourself up to step backwards.
Today I want to add a final one: Help others find their way.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. No, you don’t have to knock on doors like teenage Mormon missionaries asking people to sign up for what you’ve got. But to cement the changes in your life, help other people get there.
My buddy Wes is an alcoholic. I’m not sure of the terms, as in is he a former alcoholic or a recovering alcoholic. I do know a couple of things, though. In October, it will be 30 years since he took his last drink. Now I’m pretty sure that at this point in his life, Wes doesn’t wake up dreaming about an ice cold beer or drooling over the thought of a Canadian Club each Friday night. I also know that Wes is very active in Alcoholic Anonymous. In fact, Wes is a frequent speaker at AA-sponsored meetings. Just last Sunday, he spoke to a group of recovering alcoholics, and this Friday he will speak to a group of recovering alcoholics who are widowers like himself.
Why does Wes spend his time going to these meeting when he is clearly beyond the reach of falling back into the temptation to drink? AA has a philosophy that says: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
You don’t have to go out of your way looking for people to convert or preach to about how you changed your behavior. Those who are ready to change will find you. They’ll want to know how you did it. All you need to do is be ready to help them by sharing your own experiences.
Be a bridge that leads people to a new way of thinking, a more sound manner of acting. Changing behavior is like learning a new behavior. The more people you tell and share your lessons with, the more the learning seeps into your bones and becomes cemented into your core.