The 5 Steps of Significant Change. Are you ready?

As I work with my mentoring clients, five distinct steps or phases are part of every process, no matter what specifics come into play.  It’s just the natural order of things.

So, in case you are thinking about where you are right now…….but also about where you would really like to be…..someday, then knowing that there is a process……a natural evolution of things might be helpful.

Here they are:

Step One.  Awareness Turns Into Contemplation.

Simply realizing that the desire for something different keeps creeping into your thoughts is a first step. Often, it seems to make its way through your mind as if on little cat feet with barely a sound.  Then, before you know it, the volume gets louder.  The thought becomes more of a song that gets stuck in your head.

Step Two. Contemplation Turns Into Preparation.

Sometimes “preparation” is nothing more than focusing on something or someone that appears to be doing/saying/looking/living in a way that seems to be the “there” you are seeking.  Believe me when I say, this IS progress.

Inner thoughts are becoming outer exploration.  Intentions take you to the book store to seek out more information or online to see who might be offering guidance in the areas of your interest.  This is the time of gentle probing.  Your ears perk up at the sound of something similar to the results you are looking for.

This is often when people come to see me for the first time.

But, this can just as easily be the place where people develop anaylsis paralysis, playing the “What if?” scenario day after day.  STUCK can take the place of hopeful.

Be gentle with yourself.  Sometimes your own judgment about NOT getting the start you told yourself you would try, can actually throw you into reverse.  Days of recrimnation and self criticism ARE a way of taking action, but it’s like starting your car, revving the engine and then throwing it into “R”.

There will be a day when you start your car and put it into “D”—which stands for DESIRE, DECIDE, and DRIVE.

Again, don’t worry.  Just like the spark of awareness, your own “D” day usually comes into your life quietly as well.  No big bands or fanfare.  One day, your inner knowing will just know, “this is it.”  I can guarantee that it comes more quickly when you have quieted your critic.

Step Three.  Preparation Turns Into Action.

Time to ring the bell.  Time to set some goals.  Time for creating clarity and a plan about what you need to do to take those first baby steps.  Baby steps are important here—-simple things that keep you excited and in the flow, will allow you the courage to become more and more bold.

Savoring each successful step is a hugely important part of this process.  It is in the “WOW, I did THIS! And THAT!”…..that fuels the fire to continue.  This is when “your lights” start to come on—-your posture will begin to change, the tension in your face softens.  Feeling proud of yourself has the most subtle, yet profound effect on both your looks and demeanor.

That’s not to say you were not proud of yourself to begin with.

But, when we push forward into those inner pockets of deeply held desire and start to see our focus turn into tangible results, it feels miraculous.  I wish I had counted the number of times clients have shared, “I am not sure what is happening, but it feels like a miracle.”


Step Four.  Action Turns Into Fine Tuning/Course Correction.

This is “tweak” time.  You are on a roll.  People have taken notice.  You have hit some obvious milestones.

Now, you can decide how to add to or substract certain things that seem like a better fit and drill down a bit deeper to solidify your efforts. This is also an important time to plan for setbacks.


Yep.  This is one crucial step that is all too often left out of the plan for lasting change.  It’s human to have setbacks, you know.   You have to be ready to course correct WITHOUT JUDGMENT.  To plan for this is like the old days of a fire drill at school.  Knowing what you need to do “in case of an emergency” can keep you from tailspinning back to SQUARE ONE.  Having your own unique method for plugging back into your plan can give you the confidence to actually ward off those moments of, “I’ll eat, just this one“….. that can turn into the whole bowl….or the whole bottle.

It’s about taking care of ALL of you……not just the fast forwards, but the skid marks as well.

Step Five.  Fine Tuning Turns Into Mellow Maintenance.

After raising the bar…….you will have now created a new “set point”.  A period of maintenance is part of the process to solidify your results.  What was once, the new way of living, being, thinking and doing has become more “every day” and comfortable.  It’s like becoming fluent in a foreign language that first required all kinds of new thought, energy, focus and interpretation.  Then, one day, you realize you are thinking in that new language.  It has all clicked into place.

This is the time to settle in for a while and enjoy the ride.  This is the time of quiet confidence that comes with mastery.  Inside, it feels like a blend of powerful peace and purpose. It can also feel like abundance and prosperity……one that has nothing to do with cash or balance sheets.


If you have chosen to work through these steps with someone like a mentor or a coach, there will come a day for “graduation”, when you know and they know, you are ready to fly solo.

Final thoughts……….

Change is the ironic constant core of life’s ongoing cosmic joke. Every thing and every one changes. All the time. The day does it.  The seasons too.  Tides move in and out, changing thousands of miles of shoreline every day.  We ARE going to grow, one way or another—-some of us getting taller, some of us thinner, smarter, grayer.  That skin suit we are wearing morphs around us every seven years.  Even our nails and hair won’t stand still.  It’s all on the move.

Change is exhilarating to those who embrace it.  It’s so obvious to everyone else, when we don’t.





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