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By Steve McCann

Learning to change behavior permanently is one of the most important skills a person can develop in their life.  Without this skill, any self-improvement intention will result in failure and frustration.  All we need to do is to change the picture by investing time and energy. 

RISMEDIA, July 4, 2007—Sometime back in 1995, I was invited to speak at a Real Estate Conference.  One of the other speakers on the program for that day was a high-producing Realtor and had been for a number of years.  He was the opening presenter so I got the chance to sit in on the presentation and I found it to be a memorable experience.  He was motivated and his production numbers were strong

The ideas he shared with the audience, with a little bit of license on my part, went something like this:  You wake-up at 5 a.m., from 5-7 a.m., you plan your day, every hour.  Be in the office by 7a.m. and by 9 a.m. get out and prospect and be in the community. At 5 p.m. get back to the office to do your follow-up with all your prospective clients.  From 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. you do your administrative work.  After that, get into bed so you’re ready for 5 a.m. again.

There were about 200 Realtors in attendance, many of which were inspired by his ideas.  And my guess is that many of the agents took action after that day because they wanted his results.  So they probably started getting up at 5 a.m. and arrived at the office at 7 a.m. and they started making the cold calls they normally weren’t making.  But pretty soon, within a few days or weeks, most will stop doing it.  Their activity levels go back to normal.  Why?  Because their productivity rose above their self-image and their self-image squashed their productivity down within their comfort level—a level consistent with their self-image.  They took an afternoon off here and there, maybe they watched Oprah, maybe Jerry Springer; it was hard to say.  Their actions were becoming inconsistent with their self-image. 

You will always perform at a level equal to your self-image

Our self-image is the portrait we have of ourselves.  It’s the picture we’ve created about ourselves and is commonly based on past experience.  So if a new desire for improvement is introduced and it conflicts with our current self-image, it is doomed to fail.

Our actions, behaviors and yes our discipline, are all heavily influenced by our self-image.  Even if you force yourself via will power to do things beyond your self-image, you won’t be able to sustain it for very long.  You will go back to the old behaviors consistent with your own self-belief because you believe it and you act from this belief.  What caused the Ali’s and Jordan’s of the world to work as hard as they did?  What causes the top 1% in selling to consistently sustain their mind-boggling activity levels?  Answer for both: their self-image.  Major changes occur in income and production for the average salesperson when they understand the importance of changing their self-image.  Salespeople comfortable with average client sizes but nervous and fearful with the high end client – who learn to grow their self-picture, become more confident and succeed in the large client arena.

As we raise our self-image we raise our behaviors and the discipline we bring to our activities

Learning to change behavior permanently is one of the most important skills a person can develop in their life.  Without this skill, any self-improvement intention will result in failure and frustration.  All we need to do is to change the picture by investing time and energy. 

Our self-image is held in our subconscious mind. This is the inside part of our brain where all of our habits and beliefs are stored.  Many estimates in the field of psychology suggest we are only utilizing a small part of our brain – generally 5 to 10%.  Which means that nearly 90% is untapped and waiting to serve us.  Our subconscious mind is this under-utilized resource.  It’s the part of the brain that allows our body to do things naturally and consistently with such ease and proficiency that our conscious mind could never match.

Great things that seem impossible become possible when we learn to communicate to our subconscious mind.  Here’s how: when a thought and feeling match, and are focused on over and over again, it becomes accepted by the subconscious mind.  When we add pictures or visualization, which match this thought/feeling combination, we are actually changing our self-image with a new self-belief.  Our self-image is only communicated to in pictures, hence the term self-image.  When this ‘pictured thought with feeling’ intention is accepted by the subconscious mind it becomes a belief that executes itself automatically.

Follow these steps to a new level of discipline by changing your self-image:

Step one:  Decide exactly what you want.
This is critical.  Is it a habit change you’re after or how about a new production goal?
Whatever it is, be crystal clear on the outcome you desire

Step two:  Determine the activities that would lead to this outcome
This is an easy step; just determine what you would need to be doing in order for this result to come naturally.  It’s simple cause and effect.  For this step, make sure you choose activities that you could see yourself doing.  There are often many ways to an outcome. Avoid the activities that don’t fit your personality, but make sure the one’s you do choose will ensure your goal.

Step three:  Invest 20 minutes a day in focused quiet time  
10 minutes in the a.m. and 10 minutes in the p.m.  Here is the place you need to invest the time and energy.  In this time, find a quiet place in which you will not be interrupted and close your eyes.  With eyes closed, put your attention on the goal.  With thoughts on the goal, see yourself doing these activities with ease day in and day out.  Picture yourself becoming proficient at these activities.  Bring in more and more clarity to the picture every time you do this.  Visualize the time of day and the reaction from those around you.  The more detail the better!   And finally feel the feelings you would feel as you would engage in these activities, also feel the feelings, with intensity, that you would feel accomplishing this goal.  See yourself actually doing the deal!

Driven people produce record results because of their belief in themselves.  They grew their self-image by this ‘pictured thought with feeling’ process.  Many probably didn’t even realize they were doing it.  Whether they intended to or not doesn’t really matter because this is how it works and it can work for anyone.  Apply this process and remember the importance of vivid pictures and concentrated feeling.  Do this and you’ll never again have to be stuck in undesirable patterns from your past.  With new information can come new results.  Get after it!

About the Author:

Steve McCann is owner of McCann Research Corporation, an organization committed to the discovery and development of human potential. For sixteen years Steve has researched, studied and trained in the areas of psychology, natural law and self-image motivation.  He has become a published authority in teaching the correlation between the self-image and production levels in business.  He has discovered his bliss as a speaker and now teaches business people to find their bliss and helps them to incorporate it into the practice of their work.

For more information on his speaking programs or consulting please contact: steve@mccannresearchcorp.com.

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