How to interrupt unhelpful patterns of behavior

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Tips to interrupt unhelpful patterns of behavior

Developed by Noushin Bayat with Mary Lockhart and Rory Gilbert for Thunderbird Leadership’s 11th Annual Summit.

There are times when we find ourselves locked into unhelpful, recurring patterns in our lives. It is possible that we get there because of unexplored beliefs and stories that keep us from finding a way out. The exercise below may provide you with an opportunity to get unstuck! Let us know what you discover.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

CG Jung

Observe your underlying beliefs and assumptions:

Identify a recurring challenge in your life that you would like to change. Notice any beliefs associated with this challenge.

Key Points:

Belief is a perception, cognition, emotion, or memory that a person consciously or unconsciously assumes to be true (Pew Research Center, 2008)

The muscle of emotion forms the foundation of a belief … The beliefs you “feel” can interfere with your relationships with others and your ability to learn about yourself” (Mary C Lamia PhD, Oct 31, 2012)

Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there’s a field, I’ll meet you there…”


Discover the story you tell yourself:

Create two columns on a sheet of paper: Fact and Fiction. Write down the facts about your challenge (what actually happened), and then the fictions or stories you’re creating about each fact.

Key Points:

It takes courage to face the facts. It takes courage to trust that we are so much more than our thoughts and our stories. In the space of presence, away from stories and thoughts, we can experience wisdom and insights about how to respond.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Viktor Frankl

Explore new perspectives:

Revisit your story: use the “wonder questions” below and see what other possible stories you can create. Are any of these true?

So, how do you want to move forward? What does that look like for you? What will you tell yourself? What will you do?

Key Points:

When things get tough, turn to wonder: I wonder what brought her to this place? I wonder what my reaction teaches me? I wonder what he’s feeling? I wonder how I could be of service to myself and others through this experience?