Inspired by Sonia Ricotti is 12 steps to creating a truly fulfilled and happy life.
The Meta DynamicsTM Critical Alignment Model from The Global Success Institute and Sharon Pearson.
1. Host a family meeting.
Take the time to do this one very important and crucial exercise.
What do you want your family culture to BE like? Don’t just think about it or talk about it, write it down!
Studies have shown that the simple act of taking the time to write out your goals will dramatically increase the likelihood of achieving those goals!
So write, write, write!
2. Get clear on the vision.
Start with the end in mind.
Invest the time to get everyone’s input into how they would like to experience the culture in the family. Dream big. It’s not about where you are now, it’s about how you’d like to live as a family.
Depending on the ages of the children as to how much involvement they can have. Though if you have children ages 6-8 and older, this can be a great way to be bringing them along on any shift that you may wish to be initiating.
Like any change management process, the more opportunity for clear understanding of the mission you are embarking on, the easier it is to sustain the journey.
3. Who do we need to BEcome?
Having determined they type of culture you want at home. Appreciate that it’s not about instant success.
To have the dream means it’s aspirational, right now. Therefore, what are the characteristics of the people in the family who can have that desired family experience.
Get clarity about what the values, standards, attitudes and beliefs of the family that is able to have that family culture.
This is a great exercise in gaining awareness of the opportunities for development.
Example, if there’s lots of bickering happening between siblings (and even between parents and/or siblings) then perhaps the
– Value is that we appreciate each other’s differences.
– Standard might be, that when we disagree we do so respectfully.
– Attitude could be that even though we disagree, we will always seek to reconnect and resolve our differences.
– Belief might be that even when there is a problem, we can always get through it together.
4. Let Go of “What Was”
It’s time to let go of the past (just leave it behind).
As humans we are extremely good at focusing on what we don’t want. Yet research has shown that “What we focus on is what we get”, therefore to enable sustainable success, avoid harking back to how it used to be.
It’s almost impossible to “receive” anything new and great when you’re holding on to the negative stuff from the past.
5. Be Forgiving
As you step into the “new world order”, it probably won’t be a straight line, change rarely is.
Are you holding on to any resentment, anger, or regret toward anyone? If so, it’s time to forgive, and again, let go.
A great lesson on the journey to becoming a new version of you is “the only person you hurt when you don’t forgive, is yourself.”
Don’t let anyone rent space in your head.
Sometimes, we need to forgive each other and/or ourselves for things we’ve done or said; if that’s the case, forgive and move on. No one’s perfect. We all make mistakes and have done and said things we are not proud of.
Each day is a new day.
“Choose to be the best person I can be, starting this day forward”.
6. Scaffolding for Success
There may be some who find it easier than others to come along for the journey.
In order to start and maintain success appreciate you might need some structure, tools, checklists or other resources to enable and empower ongoing success.
It might include having a family manifesto that is displayed somewhere prominent.
It might include a regular family catch up to check in with how everyone is going and if things are off track, working together to create a solution.
7. Enjoy the Journey
Why? Because the “journey” is your life!
Sometimes we focus so much on the end result or the “goal” we wish to achieve, that we are not even enjoying the journey it takes to get there.
If you’re really hating the journey, then maybe it’s time to make some changes in your life and/or your goal.
8. Fail Forward
Most people are afraid to try something new because they are afraid to fail. Remember, the most successful people on this planet failed way more than the “average” person. In fact, if you ask any super successful person, they’ll tell you how they failed A LOT!
Why did they become successful? Because, they never gave up.
Don’t ever let the fear of “failure” get in the way of living your dreams. If you fail, simply get back up, brush yourself off, learn the lessons you need to learn (that’s important), adjust your path, and move forward… always move forward.
9. Our language creates our reality.
The words you use when you communicate with others reflect your thoughts on the inside.
What you think about, you become.
When disagreements and breakdown happen. Consider the words being used. Sometimes it is possible to cause a shift in experience just by changing the poundage of the words being used.
Eg. The kids are having a hard time and fighting with each other. One says to the other “I hate you”. Now that can be pretty enflaming for everyone. As with all good and effective relationship communication. Validate the feelings first (eg Sounds like you two are having a really hard time, right now and you X are not happy at all). Empathise (it’s normal to get frustrated with each other sometimes) Curiousity (connection/correction) the problem is, that in this family we agree to speak to each other respectfully and “Hate” is not a very respectful word. I am wondering, could we have a do over and choose a better way to express your frustration?
Now it’s not always going to have peace, right in that moment, however it is going back to the agreed framework and supporting the kids to find more functional ways to speak with each other.
If this is something that is really challenging, consider exploring the book How to Talk so Little Kids will Listen.
Otherwise the principle is Validate the feelings first (even if we don’t agree with the behaviour or the words being used, the individual’s feelings are their’s and it’s ok for them to have them). Empathise, just lets them know they are not alone and you hear them. Then be curious and depending on the ages and skills of the children as to how this conversation goes. This is where you get to hear what’s really going on in their heads, as the language was the reaction, not the cause.
When we listen to our children in these moments without judgement, justification or defensiveness, we are building points in their trust bucket for when they may need a safe haven in the future.
10. Love More
Make it a priority to always come from a place of love. Assume best intentions of all behaviour. Avoid taking the words or behaviour personally.
For children, even when they might say terrible things to us, those words are a reflection of their pain. We can support them by not joining their chaos by getting mad at them for being mad.
How do you do that? Simply ask yourself “If I were coming from a place of love right now, how would I act?” and then do that.
Sometimes it can simply be acknowledging another person with a big genuine smile, giving a compliment, or just refraining from getting into a confrontation when you’re placed in a negative situation.
11. Take time in reflection.
Simply be still, be present, and go within.
It’s a habit that many people do not develop. We spend more time being reactive than contemplative. When we take the time to reflect on the events that give us pain then we improve our chances of doing better next time.
For some of us that can be a little scary. Being able to reflect on how we might have been part of the problem, enables us to also seek strategies on how to do better in the future.
This can be part of the afore mentioned family meeting.
The ability to take feedback, without defensiveness is an art to master andis a key to emotional intelligence. The more we support ourselves and our children to become comfortable with feedback, the greater their chances of social success increase.
There is a saying, s/he with the greatest behavioural flexibility wins. When you can keep calm in a storm, you have more tools to navigate the issue/s.
When we react to feedback, we are in survival mode, aka lizard brain. This means we are no longer processing the feedback, and therefore the opportunity for learning has gone.
AND last but not least…
12. Focus on What’s Important
Sometimes we get so consumed on the little things, the day to day tactical whirlwind of issues.
The opportunity is to have an eye on where we want to head so that we are also considering the bigger and more important things in our life.
Often, we don’t realize that — until it’s too late.
So what’s important?
RELATIONSHIPS – that is the most important “thing” in our lives. Don’t neglect, ignore, or dismiss the people who mean the most to you.
They won’t always be there.
Remember, life is short; don’t find out the hard way to learn this lesson (like many people do).
We all go through tough times in our lives. Life is full of its ups and downs. For some of us, those downs last a really long time.
Raising a family is tough, there is a lot of work in the early years. It’s remembering we are not managing children, we are raising adults.
It’s easy to get stuck in the whirlwind, especially if you have children who are outside what would be considered standard.
Add to that any of our own perspective challenges, whether due to our own upbringing, or frustrations with how we’d prefer life to be then we can make life even harder for ourselves, without conscious awareness and intentional action.
For me, as a child who was raised by a mother who was essentially emotionally unavailable, not blaming her, she had her own trauma she was navigating, I had large gaps in self-regulation. While studying to become a professional life coach I worked on a project developing a Positive Psychology in Coaching program. One of my units to develop was Emotional Intelligence. Well it gave me the eye-opening experience that why my EQ was perhaps opportunity for development was because while I had the fundamentals of basic self-awareness, the skills in self-management, social awareness and relationship management were significantly lacking.
Because my skills were so low, of course my results in connecting with others were poor.
I’d spent most of my life trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Now I had clear guidance on where to look and what to do in order to change my outcome.
It’s why I get so passionate about effective communication between adults and children. I want to empower parents to enable their child/ren to grow up with the emotional intelligence and relationship skills that are being touted as the skills for successful adulting in the 21st century.
If the opportunity for greater family communication success resonates for you, come join me in the Conscious and Intentional Parenting Tribe on facebook, where we will discuss all things parenting and personal development for parenting and relationship success.
Author Leanne G Wakeling, Relationship and Communication Coach, Parenting Mentor, Behaviour and Thinking styles Profiler.