Skip to Navigation

Have you noticed them, the patterns I mean? I don’t mean the big ones that people talk about when they say things like “Every seven years there is a change…”, or “Things go in ‘X’ year cycles, don’t you know.”

I mean the sort of patterns that are happening and in which we are involved, moment by moment and day by day.

Time and again I have found that – when working with both individuals and groups – the problem they are complaining about is held in place by a self-sustaining pattern of behaviour.

This may be a tit-for-tat type of interaction where one person responds to another’s behaviour in a way that has become predictable. Or it can be the individual is simply repeating behaviours (this includes how they think, say, by making judgements or accepting blame, for example), that are unhelpful or destructive.

Over the years I have come to adopt a kind of loose rule which says “It doesn’t matter what you do, just as long as you break the usual pattern.” This means that, often, you don’t actually have to know what the pattern is in order to change it!

Astonishing, what!? Or daft! But it works.

You can try it. The next time you are caught in a loop that just seems to keep you stuck, change the pattern by doing the opposite (or near opposite), of that which you would habitually do. Even if it doesn’t fix the problem you can have fun experimenting!

(I should point out that the new behaviour or course of action should be respectful of others, legal, safe, and not likely to put you or anyone else at risk.)

Learning to see things as patterns provides some interesting opportunities, and even if you’d rather not try anything new, at least you might recognise what you are struggling against.

2 Responses to “Patterns In Your Life”

  1. Wow! I am sending this to a friend. It is just what I wanted to say to him. Thank you.

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

Time to Blame Your Inner Critic?

Self-criticism

Be careful who you listen to.

Self-blame is an ugly habit that can wear you down. When an inner critic gets out of hand its time to call it out, just as you would with any voice raised against you.

Continue reading

Had An Argument? Do It Right.

Arguments are generally seen as destructive, though some people say the they ‘clear the air’.

Whatever your view, disputes are unavoidable so learning to argue effectively can mean a lot of heartache can be avoided.

Continue reading

Conflict: Agenda for Managers

Conflict at work

When a dispute between employees becomes visible it usually falls to a manager to intervene but few are confident in doing this so they’ll often ignore the conflict in the hope that it’ll go away, downplay the seriousness of the disagreement, or approach it ineffectively.
Research by OPP charts the costs and benefits of conflict, and a guide from CIPD identifies the behaviours that will help managers recognise and proactively manage disputes at work.

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
%d bloggers like this: