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Creating Positive Changes in Your Life

Written by: Andrée Funnell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Contrary to a widely held belief that people do not change, I feel that people change and often in dramatic, life-altering ways. I say this with full confidence as I have witnessed it happen time and time again. Creating positive change in your life is totally possible. You can change yourself and thereby your life. I know because I am one of those who have made those changes, some drastic, some following a tragedy, others because I wanted something different in my life and knew that I had to change to achieve my passions and goals.

Commitment to Change

When you are fully committed to making changes in your life, it will happen. That commitment, based on a deep desire for growth, is half the journey. Once you have made that choice, one made with total awareness and an honesty of your present reality, you are free to move forward towards a better or even new you.

The one constant in this universe is change. Everything that exists is in a state of change. Ask any quantum physicist. As part of the universe, we are part of that cycle of change. The experiences you have today will impact you in such a way that you will awaken tomorrow changed in some way. Once you have hit your forties or fifties, the kid you were in your twenties is pretty much gone, and a wiser, stronger you is standing in its place.

Change is desired on a number of levels.

  • In business, we might be looking to be a more effective leader or manager to increase productivity. That might entail changing how we deal with people by improving our motivation and communication skills.

  • A new career, lifestyle, or relationship.

  • It might mean building more confidence and self-esteem or learning how to be less aggressive.

Inner Work

Change involves inner work before the outer work can begin. Much of it is in our subconscious brain that needs to be awakened to identify our deep-routed ideals, goals, passions, motivations, and needs. Two prolific individuals state the following about change.

As Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved on the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

Steven Covey, in his critically acclaimed book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,’ stresses the concept of inner work before outer work or change:

“The inside-out approach to change means to start first with self; even more fundamental, to start with the most inside part of self - with your paradigms, your character, and your motives.”

For Change to Happen

If change is to happen and if it is to last, we need to acknowledge that we must look at who we are now and who we want to be in the future. We will have to be honest with ourselves and recognize reality as it exists and not as we think it should or could be. So what would we need to do?

1. We need to develop a high level of awareness and clarity about everything that we do, as all too often, our subconscious tends to run the show and not us.

2. To take full responsibility for our lives and not place the blame elsewhere.

3. Give up the need to control things except, of course, yourself. Until you are willing to do this kind of work, change will not occur, at least not enduring change. Ask yourself the following questions to identify the barriers to moving forward and making those changes.

  • Where are you feeling dissatisfied?

  • Where are you noticing dissonance in your life?

  • Where are you feeling stuck? Identify the issues.

  • Now, recognize exactly where you are and then consider where you would like to be in the future if everything were running smoothly?

  • Consider your goals and what your role would be in achieving that goal?

  • Who would you be?

  • How would you function?

  • How would you feel?

  • The gap between where you are now and where you want to be is where the work will be done.

When working with my clients as a confidence coach, they often want to look into their careers. What we uncover is that their ability to succeed at their job highly depends on whether their values and passions align with their role, the organization's values and culture, and the job requirements. This leads to them looking at their inner self, their skills, characteristics, values and limiting beliefs and how they perceive themselves.

In their personal life, I would get the client to look at their life at a deep level to ascertain whether they feel their core values are being met in their personal lives/relationships. If they're not being met, then ask yourself why. This might involve using timeline therapy to establish times in their life when they have been happy, frustrated, angry, sad etc. Often the reasons they are unfulfilled is because they are not living their values, nor have they identified their purpose in life.

Throughout their coaching journey, one of the most important things to do is to work with them at a deep level to help them do the ‘inner work of discovering:

  • Who they are now

  • What matters to them

  • What are they passionate about

  • What do they value most

  • Whether these things are currently appearing in their everyday life? If not, there is sure to be dissonance.

If being successful in your work is of great value to you, then ask:

  • What are you willing to do and not to do to be a success?

  • Are you willing to make the necessary changes in how you are being?

  • Are you willing to try something different?

  • Are the things you need to do aligned with your values and passions?

  • What are you willing to say yes to, and even more important, what are you willing to say no to?

Awareness, as mentioned, is of utmost concern when effecting change. When we live our lives in a state of true awareness wherein we are truly conscious of our actions, we can free ourselves from reactive, self-defeating behavior and realize our personal best. Unfortunately, although we may think that we make conscious decisions, in reality, our unconscious mind often impacts our behavior. When it does, our actions are not truly under our control. We can learn to recognize the unconscious, that part of our mind that has great power over much of our actions without even being aware of its existence. In doing so, we can diminish its power over us.

The Inner Critic

As an example, try simply noticing that voice inside your head that gets very chatty whenever you are about to make a decision, especially an important one that could result in change. This is known as the ‘Inner Critic’ and is linked to our ‘Limiting Beliefs.’

Self-Sabotaging Behaviour

Is your inner critic telling you that you’re nuts to consider what you are thinking of doing? Does it say that you failed once before and will probably do so again? We fail to understand that the voice is out to sabotage us. Just by noticing it, you will realize that this inner saboteur is at work. In the act of noticing you begin to empower yourself to make truly conscious decisions that will result in positive and lasting changes in your life.

Emotional Intelligence – Self Awareness

I have mentioned how changing reactive, self-defeating behavior is key to realizing our personal best. What is reactive behavior versus proactive behavior? When you are reacting to life and its circumstances, you are on the defensive. You are not in control. Life’s circumstances dictate your behavior and actions versus your being proactive and in control of your actions. There is a good chance that you are being activated unconsciously as well.

Amygdala Hijack

What is it?

An amygdala hijack refers to a personal, emotional response that is instant, overwhelming, and out of context with the actual stimulus because it has triggered a much more significant emotional threat. It’s the body’s strong emotional reaction that often we have no control over.– it’s subconscious and irrational. Daniel Goleman coined the term in his 1996 book.

Example: Your boss gives you what you consider to be a harsh criticism of your latest report. Your adrenaline rushes, and a wave of angry indignation rolls over you. In that emotional state, you cannot actually hear what he or she has to say because you are already defending yourself. Your response to him is defensive and somewhat irrational.

You cannot control what he/she had to say, but you can control how you handle yourself. Therein lies the key to non-reactive behavior: your ability to handle situations in ways that prove productive versus destructive. Stop and think. Pause. Get your heart rate back to the normal range. Without taking anything personally, was there anything in what he had to say that had merit? Is there some sort of deep learning to be had, either from him or you? Could the perceived harshness perhaps have been amplified by your defensiveness?

Life will always be throwing things our way, much of it unpleasant and challenging. That’s life. We cannot control life, but we can control how we handle it. If we are really aware and in tune with what is happening, we can learn not to add meaning to reality where there is no additional meaning needed.

Our Perception – On the defense

For example, in the above incident, you may have reacted because you assumed your boss thought you were in the wrong and therefore not up to the job. But that was just what you thought he meant. What you think he meant and what he said are often two very different entities. Perhaps all he meant was that your work could have been better, and he wanted to steer you in the right direction.

Our defense mechanism kicks in when we perceive that one of our core values is being impinged or attacked or that our Limiting Beliefs (inner critic) are empowered and are taking over your responses and reactions. Often these Limiting beliefs are derived from childhood where someone in authority has criticized you and told you that you are not good enough.

Example: I had a loving, yet critical father who I felt was always critical of things I attempted or achieved. I therefore grew up with the Limiting belief - ‘I’m not good enough.’

The most unfortunate part is that this type of reaction to criticism will often be carried into adulthood. Anytime criticism is directed at you, you respond with your childhood reaction: I’m not good enough’ The ability to control reactive behavior and see things for just what they are can make a world of difference in your life.

Perspective or attitude

How we view the world or any given situation will dictate our effectiveness and state of mind. Change your attitude, and you not only change the way you see things, but you will also change your reality. If you approach your work/life as being tough, that perspective will trickle down into everything you do. Try a new perspective on one that will work following your goals and desires.

‘By changing our inner attitude of our mind, can change the outer aspects of our life.’

Inner work means that we are laying the foundation for a mindset that allows us to make lasting changes that will create a more meaningful, productive, and happy life. Once the inner work is done, the outer changes will compound like bank interest.


Your authenticity will shine, and people will be drawn to this new you. You will view everything that happens as an opportunity for growth and development, and change. The work you do and its subsequent benefits will spread into all areas of your life, not just the ones that you may have originally pinpointed. The vision you held will become your reality now.

So here’s my question to you — Are you willing to implement positive transformational change and start your journey of self-discovery to create the life you desire?

My self-help book on the subject is available on in paperback or audiobook, or you can find it on Amazon in these formats as well as kindle.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, connect with me on LinkedIn and visit my website for more info!


Andrée Funnell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Andrée is a multi-award-winning Coach, Learning & Development Consultant, best-selling author, and speaker. She is the founder and driving force behind the success of Aspiring Future Competence (AFC). Since its inception in 2002, AFC has helped clients across a wide range of business sectors to get visible, get heard, and get ahead by applying inspirational ways to bring about positive change and empowerment. She has over 20 years of HR & training experience working in corporate organizations and a further 18 years delivering development solutions that make a difference to people’s careers and lives. She is a qualified coach, professional trainer, and NLP Practitioner. She discovered that Authenticity is the key to happiness, fulfillment, and success and is keen to get the message out there to others. ‘Behind the Mask’ is Andrée’s literary debut about ‘Authenticity.’ It’s an essential interactive step-by-step guide to turning your life around and achieving the kind of life you deserve by living authentically.



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