There are a myriad of reasons that people change. Pain, joy, and hope are a few reasons. Debts, a friend's tragic story or a great movie, etc., are a few more. These reasons may inspire us to take action. Yet, whatever our reasons to change, how we perceive information relates to our belief in ourselves, and, ultimately, how successful we become.

This can be illustrated by someone who receives poor grades. One person may perceive the grades as a need to study more. While another may perceive the grades as an indicator, excuse, and/or reason to drop out of school, change programs, etc. Both may have carefully selected their programs. However, the adversity of poor grades offered each a new insight into patterns of thinking and reasons for change.

As such, adversity can be quite helpful in becoming more aware of meta-cognition or the patterns of our thoughts, clarity about the who, what, why, how, and where of what is in it for us. Absolute and polarized perspectives (good, bad, truth, untruth, right, wrong, positive, negative, etc.) about adversity appears to slow this process. The trick is learning about, experiencing, adapting, and reinforcing a shift in our thinking as we experience life to effectively use rather than judge our life experience.

So, with the countless opportunities that our world gives us to clarify our perspective, where and how do we start? Below is an Take-Action Exercise that I call the A, B, Cs of Peak Performance. Since it takes about 21-days of consistent behavioral choices to create a preferred outcome or habit in human beings, this ABC exercise offers 26 days to clarify perspective by focusing and reflecting on a letter per day. For the reflective practice, such activities as journaling, talking with a trusted person, creating a vision board, etc. can be very helpful to experience, adapt to, and reinforce the learning. To get you started, here are the first three letters.

A - Accentuate the beauty of your dreams by becoming more aware of our perspective. From an academically-sound and evidence-based perspective, I suggest that we become more aware of what we perceive as negativity: people, things and places, etc. Doing so may more fully inform our perspective about what David Kolb called the unknown unknowns or what we don't know that we don't know. Begin by asking why you perceive something negatively. Then, ask what, if anything, works in the situation for you. This process may be quite helpful in raising your awareness about perception. And, as we retrain our meta-cognition or how we process what works and doesn't work for us, we often significantly develop our awareness to increase our success.

B - Believe in yourself, and in what you can do. Eleanor Roosevelt states "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." However, in order to believe in ourselves, we need to first raise our awareness about our self-efficacy or belief in our capacity to accomplish our dreams. To do this, we need roll up our sleeves and do the work of comprehending, learning about, experiencing, adapting to, and reinforcing preferred outcomes. The first step is to become more aware of your thoughts. When, how, where, and what do you tell yourself regarding the things that you can and can't do. Then, take a moment and ask yourself why. I found this approach to be quite helpful in raising awareness about what stories we tell ourselves and what is truly important to us.

C - Comprehend human behavior more consistently. If the building blocks of motivation are built from self-efficacy and confidence through the process of consistent feedback from ourselves and others, then it may help to think outside of our box. If we play the same recording(s), we get the same result(s). The first step is to learn about human behavior by studying this list in relation our behavior and those we interact with. The second step is to pick one aspect from the list and observe when you see it in yourself or others. The final step is to consider what change that you can make to increase your effectiveness in that aspect, or not.

Author's Bio: 

Using a pragmatic approach to business and life, Deone Benninghoven, MSM is known as The Be-Clear Gal. She is a sought after coach, speaker, consultant, and author that facilitates the performance development of individuals, teams, and organizations using a strength-based and systemic approach. Her clients consistently indicate that Benninghoven's approach to change management is practical, useful, and sustainable. Individuals, and groups such as Microsoft, Accenture, Symbol Technologies, sovereign nations, local and regional municipalities, leave her Be-Clear keynotes with academically-sound and evidence-based information shared in a fun and easy-to-understand and apply format.

Benninghoven holds a BS and MSM from Antioch University Seattle in Organizational Design & Leadership Development and Management and lives in Seattle, WA. Believing that one step at a time the sculpture, dance, and song of life emerges, she is involved in multiple coaching and organizational-development associations, Toastmasters, the Seattle Writer's Guild, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, City of Seattle Youth Services, and sports, art, dance, and singing groups.

"Be clear on who you are and then be it" (Be True, Be Happy, Hanns-Oskar Porr).