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  • James McPartland

Access Point: Change

"In times of great change, students of personal growth will seek to learn the lessons - while those that resist change will be well equipped to operate in a world that no longer exists."

— James McPartland

Change is a dance between what is and what could be - what is inside and what is outside. Inside, our inner world is comprised of our identity, our beliefs, and our attitude. Outside, our outer world is a reflection of our perceived status, the roles we play, and the language we use to explain why things are the way they are. Our unwillingness to face change leads us to make unhealthy choices. It creates internal conflict and amplifies tension in our relationships, organizations, and in the communities where we experience life.

Breakthroughs happen when people come to recognize that their issues, which they often initially attribute to outside forces or characters, need to be first addressed as issues inside of themselves. Inherent in the stories that we tell ourselves is an element that is trying to get our attention.

Consider that all problems are problems of the present, and all problems are thinking problems.

In my life I came to understand that change can only occur in the present, even if it was about the past or the future. I now know that the un-investigated story we tell ourselves is only one of many fictions available to us.

The need for change is often triggered when we come to realize that what once provided us with a sense of protection has now become constrictive, maybe even destructive. What was once a self-preservation mask has now become a self-imposed prison. Both incarceration and liberation are a function of the stories we choose to believe.

The biggest barrier to positive change is identity conflict. Identities are vital in making and sustaining change because so much of what we do is based on the stories we tell ourselves… Stories about who we think we were, who we think we are now, and who we should or could be in the future.

It is a worthwhile exercise to consider the current stories you identify with from the past, the present, and the future. Change requires becoming an activist for better narratives in your own life. Stories that people tell about their lives - and the meanings they draw from them - often end up as self-fulfilling prophecies.

Just as what you see is what you get, what you fight for is what you get to keep.

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