“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Victor Frankl
Constructive Living necessitates the elimination of self-sabotaging thinking and behavior. It requires more self-directed action and the creation of a meaningful life purpose and process.
The technique used to facilitate this transformation is what I call the Smart-Step Centering process. It is all about establishing a clear and meaningful purpose, confidence through positive self-talk and skill development through realistic practice, feedback and execution plans.
Smart-Steps framework is more manageable in developing positive behavior changes then a more general or holistic approach. Smart-Steps allow the client to focus on the goal and the process instead of judging performance (based on fears, false expectations and results). For example, process goals help people to focus on being in the moment and responding in a responsive way to others and their environment. It helps people turn shyness and nervousness energy into positive enthusiasm for interacting and understanding others. Here are some essential components of the Smart-Step Process as applied to interpersonal communication.
1. Clarify and agree to an agenda and expectations for your time together. Start interaction by asking questions and listening to the other person. Show interest and sincere concern in hearing their story.
2. Monitor and Edit yourself. Sincerely listen and try to meet the other person’s need to share and be understood by not giving advice, judging their behavior or opinions. Show them that you have their best interest at heart.
3. Soften your “connection”. Be friendly and welcoming. Too much, too soon and too strong usually leads to suspicion and resistance from others.
4. Accept influence. A presentation succeeds to the extent that the presenter can accept influence from the audience members. Be responsive to audience comments or concerns. Be quick on your feet and flexible to show your care.
5. Respect and Encourage candid dialogue. Understand how to become a better listener, give positive feedback, and mirror the other person’s gestures and body language. Learned to model the good habits and positive energy you would like others to show you.
7. Focus on the optimistic “POV”. Try to connect with and understand the other person’s view of the world. Interpersonal conversations work best when you are experienced as a caring and respectful listener So make at least three-five times as many positive statements as negative comments.
Once you understand the Smart-Step process you are on the road to significant personal change. Process goals replace personal expectations and help performers focus on what is really important during a performance – being audience centered and in the moment. Being and living in the moment is critical to developing confidence. It means learning to trust, believe in yourself and developing a sense of being vulnerable and at risk. Trust is directly related to your ability to be open and is experienced as authentic by others. Make sure you leave a good first impression and this could turn-out to be the start of a life-long friendship.