Let’s take a few moments and think about whether we have anything in our self-identity we might want to change and if we have anything in our thought processes that we might want to change. Let’s talk about how we examine ourselves to do that.
One of the ways we can continue on this path of personal transformation is to use something we call T-charts. I’m going to ask you to get really focused any time you hear the word T-charts because they are life-changing. And we’re at a T-chart moment right now. If you complete the T-chart, it will change your life.
Here’s how to go about filling out a T-chart. Take a piece of paper and draw a line across the top and down the middle. On the left of the vertical line at the top left above the horizontal line, write Positive Thought. On the top to the right of the vertical line, write Negative Thought. Give yourself some space on the page and then write Positive Feeling on the left of the vertical line and below the space you have saved for positive thoughts. On the right side of the vertical line below the space for negative thoughts, write Positive Feeling. Finally, in the bottom third of your T-chart page, below the space for positive feelings, write Positive Action. Then on the right side opposite that, write Negative Action. You’ve just created a T-chart that you can use for this exercise I’d like to invite you to engage in.
Now, think about some positive thoughts you have about yourself and dwell on those for a moment. Write two or three of those down on your T-chart. As you think about one of those positive thoughts, what feeling do you get? Dwell on that feeling for a moment. Then think about the times, the days, the hours when you are feeling that feeling and about how you act when you have that feeling. How do you behave? How do you impact those people around you when you’re feeling this way?
Now go back and do the same thing with a negative thought you have about yourself. Take a negative thought you believe to be true about yourself, write it down on the right side of your T-chart opposite the positive thought at the top of the page and dwell on that negative thought for a moment. See how it makes you feel. I know that may not feel good, but then ask yourself, when you feel this way, how do you behave. How do you impact family? How do you impact co-workers? How do you impact the sphere where you have influence?
Write those thoughts down and then think about how can you might take those negative ones and reduce them, how you might even turn them into positive thoughts, and how you might even find a way to remove some of the negative thoughts entirely and have more positives than negatives. Here’s why. The more positive thoughts we have on a daily basis, the more positive feelings we are going to have. The more positive feelings we have, the more positive actions we have. The more positive actions we have, the more positive behavior we have. When we can do this, our impact is significantly different.
I encourage you to fill out your T-chart and see what happens as you do that. Just take your time.
In our company and in many of the companies we work with, if we see someone behaving in a way we know they don’t want to, we have a little code that we use sometimes when those of us in relationship ask for this kind of feedback. We just tap three little taps on the table or tap them lightly on their shoulder. When we do that little tap, it just means T, F, A. In other words, those taps are a reminder that the way they’re behaving right now is not consistent with the way they say they want to be. So right then, they know to just go ahead and change the thought, change the feeling, and change the action. It’s that little tap that generally means T, F, A. Many of us are in the kind of relationships with each other right now that we can just say T, F, A out loud. And then we pause, change the thought, change the feeling, and change the action.
We frequently get questions about T-charts. For example, why do you use this T-chart teaching? Why should a person fill out their T-chart? The first reason is when you write these things down, if there’s a sting associated with some negative thought, it literally takes a lot of the sting out. The second reason is when people come back to us and talk about the training they receive from Transformational Leadership and how it changed their lives forever, our first question back to them is if they did their T-chart. Almost a hundred percent of them say yes. And many of them say they did it the very day they learned about T-charts.
If you really want to become a transformational leader, if you want what we’re talking about to make sense, if you want to be able to connect the dots, if you want to be able to grasp the concepts much faster, I really encourage you to take the time to complete your T-chart. Because every time you do, you can begin to change your self-identity. It will change the speed at which you go from the leader you are now to the transformational leader you desire to be.
Just in case, just on the off chance, you didn’t fill out your T-charts a few minutes ago, I encourage you to do that right now. I think you can tell how important I think this is.
If you did, congratulations. Be encouraged. You have the courage to look at yourself, examine your thought processes, and discover the self-handicapping statements that might be connected to these negative thoughts that might be a part of your self-identity.
Ford Taylor is a leadership strategist, keynote speaker, and the author of Relactional Leadership. As the Founder of Transformational Leadership, he is known as a man who can solve complex business issues, with straightforward practical solutions, while maintaining his focus on people.