“Lead with your gift. Let your gift inspire the rest of the show.” Donny Epstein, on the Triad of Change.
It’s two months into the New Year. You haven’t stuck with your resolutions. You’re not exercising. And those extra holiday pounds are making your pants tight. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Oh, wait. Sorry. That’s me I just described. But maybe it’s you too. Or maybe you have another dashed resolution. Is there a way to get off the not-so-merry-go-round and get on another ride that actually goes somewhere?
And what does it mean to “lead with your gift?” How do you figure out what your gift even is? Damned if I know.
Oh, wait. Sorry. I do know. It’s the Triad of Change.
In this post, the second in a series, I’m going to show you how my own order, Structure-Behavior-Perception, works for me. Then you can mentally try it on as a possible order for your own Triad of Gain.
If you also lead with External Structure, ipso facto this case study method will work well for you.
If you’re not, not to worry. We’ll look at the other two combinations of the Triad in coming posts. The idea is to help you assess yourself and find your own Triad order, and your own gift.
When I unconsciously lead with Perception — my “drain,” my Triad of Pain, my default mode — I suffer. Nothing changes or happens, and if it does, it’s only after moving heaven and earth.
If, instead, I consciously engage Structure as my lead strategy to make a change or improvement in my life, it dictates productive Behaviors that result in positive outcomes. Positive Perceptions bring up the rear with no concerted effort.
As far as finding a structure that’s effective (not just any old structure will do), there are many, many ways to skin that cat (that’s a euphemism, PETA people!). Being an External-Structure person, I find my best structures by observing and adapting outside models to fit me. Left to my own devices, I have to really struggle to figure one out.
First, look what happens — or doesn’t happen — when I lead with my drain, Perception, to get back on track with my diet.
Bad Feelings: I feel fat! These pants give me a muffin top! I feel terrible about myself. I’m too tired to do anything. I’m totally unmotivated.
Circular Thoughts: I know I should cut back, especially on my favorite vices like the leftover wine and homemade chocolate-cayenne cupcakes with buttercream icing from the party I hosted on Saturday night — yum! I may as well finish them, and why not? When I’m finished I won’t bake or buy more cupcakes, and I won’t open another bottle either.
Rationalization: On the other hand, what the hell, I have a few bottles on hand, and I won’t be able to resist them, so I’ll stop drinking wine after they’re all gone, which will take a few weeks, but what the hell, it’s winter, a time for comfort foods, snuggling up on the couch with my Apple TV, . . . &c, &c, &c.
Get the picture? Sound at all familiar?
WORK YOUR ORDER
Here’s how I consciously lead with Structure:
- I know that my weaknesses are to rationalize and to behave impulsively in the presence of temptation (see above).
- My propensity is to keep doing what I’ve been doing, a.k.a. inertia.
- It’s fairly easy for me to make a decision and a commitment (both Structures) if I have a plan or rules to follow (also Structures) that engage, excite, or inspire me (Energy).
- The Structure determines the Behavior and insures there are no additional or ongoing decisions (Perceptions) to make.
- I make changes and improvements which make me feel great, and think clearly (Perception).
And here’s what happens as a result:
- I order the the Xymogen 28-day nutritional cleanse (as opposed to the Master Cleanse or a fast, which do not suit me). A super-foods cleanse resets my taste buds and habits. I know it works, and I know I like being on it.
- Once the cleanse is over, my healthy habits are re-established and I don’t miss muffins or wine. Or bread or rice. Or cheese or bananas.
- Now, a blueberry sends me over the moon. I crave kale. I happily keep up my good habits for longer and longer periods after I finish each cleanse. When I inevitably slip back (the taste buds are addictive little creatures), I retrieve myself by doing cleanses two to three times a year as a matter of course.
POSITIVE DOMINO EFFECT
When two stronger sides come in line, the weakest side can come on line. That’s the rule and the gift of the Triad. Once I’ve tamed the eating beast, I have more energy, and I feel more like exercising (Behavior). After running, cycling, hot yoga, or IntenSati videos — all things I enjoy — I feel strong physically, mentally, and emotionally (Perception). I never work on Perception any more. I work on Structure and Behavior.
This is just one path, one recipe, one prescription, one example of leading with Structure and Behavior. I experimented and tested several different orders before settling on this, the one that works best for me.
Remember though: One person’s Triad of Gain can be another person’s Triad of Pain. If this order doesn’t sound like you, or you try it and it’s painful, dump it and try another.
The Triad of Gain turns a frozen intention into a free-flowing stream of change and accomplishment. If indeed you also lead with Structure, you’ll need to experiment to find workable Structures. It’s worth the effort, and you will find affirmation in superior outcomes with greater ease.
Now that I wrote this post, ostensibly for you, Dear Reader, I have guided myself to Day One of a cleanse. I just called Dr. Schweitzer.