Since last week’s message on Stuck drew a huge response from our Wellness Wednesday readers, we’re going to stay with that theme this week.

2020 continues to be what we can hope to one day say was a once in a lifetime year. Each of us has likely faced a new kind of stress or fear. Our normal routines have been disrupted and most everyone on the planet has had to endure some change we really didn’t want. But could there be a benefit in all this when we do get to the other side? We all will treasure a hug or a visit with a friend in a different way. We will more deeply enjoy a meal in a restaurant, attending a sporting event, or stopping by our favorite grocery store with only the list to worry about. Maybe we will all be better at change.

No matter the year, growth and development require change. For that to happen, we must constantly overcome our resistance to change. The old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” really does apply to humans as we each develop patterns of behavior that become engrained and seem impossible to even consider changing. The resistance to change is supported in our heads by a voice that at Top 20 we call saboteurs. Our saboteur encourages us to procrastinate by its internal monologue:

  • “You will fail at this.”
  • “Others won’t like it.”
  • “That’s a bad idea.”

Have you seen this resistance to change in your students? Their saboteurs may be whispering to them not to wear their new glasses, not to try out for an extra-curricular activity, or not to raise their hand when they have a question.

This is why being a role model for students is so critical. We need to help students form healthy mental habits and quiet the saboteurs that might keep them locked in their comfort zone, but prevent them from developing their potential.

Awareness is key. We and our students need to be aware when our saboteur voice is speaking to us. We need to especially be aware when our saboteur is judging.

Then we need to use strategies to quiet the saboteurs voice…to block it, ignore it, or turn it off. We can do this by disputing or changing our thinking. Controlling the voice can be thought of as a manual override of the brain. Top 20 strategies that we and our students can use to accomplish this include:

  • Using our Trampolines to live Above the Line
  • Saying “Not Now” when we hear our saboteur’s negativity
  • Naming, Claiming, and Taming our false beliefs
  • Using our mental Parking Lot when we are having a Thought Circle
  • Seeing things differently by using the Frame

Another effective strategy is to get help from a friend or supportive adult.

Take some time this week to consider the need for change in our lives:

  • What is an area in my life where I need to change?
  • How is my saboteur resisting that change?
  • What is my strategy for quieting my saboteur?

Yes, 2020 has been hard and challenging, but what is hard and challenging is also an opportunity to change, grow, and develop. It will make 2021 that much better and the next new normal better than the last normal.

Thanks to Mike Nead of our Top 20 staff for sharing his ideas for this Wellness Wednesday message and to our Top 20 team…Kevin Brennan, Willow Sweeney, and Tom Cody…for being change agents and saboteur busters.

Paul Bernabei
Top 20 Training