I have worn a Buddha bead bracelet like this one on my right wrist for the past 10 years.
It was a gift from my wife. When she gave it to me, she said: “wear this and it will keep you safe.” This was back in the days when I was regularly flying all over Asia to deliver training workshops. I worried about the risks involved in constant travel, so receiving this bracelet brought me comfort.
Almost immediately after I received it, I attached an additional meaning to the bracelet. I decided that it would also be my “bring honor to my family” bracelet. It would not only keep me physically safe; it would also remind me to behave with integrity and to do my best in all situations so that my family members could feel proud of me.
I have always tried to behave with integrity in my work and personal life, but life is not always simple. There are gray areas and none of us is perfect. There are always opportunities to take advantage, to take shortcuts, to hide the painful truth. I wear this bracelet to remind myself to say no to those temptations so that I feel good about who I am and bring honor to my family.
The Power of a Mechanism
My Buddha bracelet is a mechanism, a reminder to behave in a certain way, especially when I am under pressure or not thinking consciously about my choices.
Mechanisms are critical parts of personal development process. It is very difficult to change and grow without them. They can be objects like my bracelet, they can be words or numbers, or they can come in the form of people who support us and remind us to be who we want to be.
If we consult the work of Dr. BJ Fogg, Dr. Richard Boyatzis, and other behavior experts, we quickly learn that to change anything about ourselves, we must go through a process like this:
What kind of mechanism will work best for you?
The answer depends on your personality. If you aren’t sure what will work for you, try a few different mechanisms until you find one that does.
Some people use apps to remind them to do what they need to do. Others will set timers.
One of my coaching clients used a laminated card that he carried in his pocket every day for six months. On the card he wrote a short phrase to remind him of the behavior he was trying to learn.
Another client, the leader of a large regional organization, had a few key words carved into the inside of a gold bracelet she wore for years, to remind her to be fully present when she interacted with her team members.
I personally like to use notes and charts that I post on my wall to help me change.
We developed a Self-Management Map at True Development a few years ago. Many of my clients have used it with success. I maps posted on the wall at both my home and company offices, to remind me every day of the behavior I want to display, and the behavior I want to avoid.
The Self-Management Map
For a copy of the map, just hit reply to this newsletter and write “Send me the map” in the body of the e-mail. You will hear from me within a day or two.
Share it with Others
People do not change without support from others.
That is why I encourage people who are developing new habits to tell their supporters what they are doing, and then ask for support and encouragement.
One of my clients shared his behavior change plan with his spouse and children. They were overjoyed and very willing to support. They were also inspired to create their own change plans and share them with him. The whole family is working on personal development together.
Another client told his team members about the new behavior he was trying to learn. He asked them to give him feedback on his progress and to be supportive. The whole team got involved in helping him, and their respect and trust in him increased as a result.
Share your goals, your plans, and your mechanisms with people who care about you, and watch your motivation to achieve and change increase dramatically.
If you would like me to help you with a change, feel free to reach out.
Yours in growth and development,
True Talk #12 Mechanisms (ENG)