• Payal Karnik

Breaking Patterns


Ever faced a situation where you are stuck in an endless cycle with no way out? As if someone has hit life’s ‘Repeat’ button and forgot to press ‘Stop’. For some, the situation would be analogous to this little hamster.

However endless as it may seem, these are the precise times when we could use some persistence to break-free from the recurring pattern!

Whether it is work, health, finances or relationships, we all have come across a pattern where we are stuck at some point in life. It could be a pattern of a repeating situation like an unfulfilling job, relationships, or even an opportunity in your face that you resist to embark upon.

The natural instinct would be 'fight or flight'. Taking flight may not be a wise option, as the pattern has somehow mastered the skill to endlessly haunt us. Fight might seem like a brave move; however, an aimless fight could just lengthen the whole process, thus ending up stuck in the same unfulfilling pattern.

In my coaching conversations, some of the common patterns that my clients go through revolve around unfulfilling jobs or relationships. A very good example would be the tendency to quit an unfulfilling job, just to end up in another one with the same challenges and frustrations. It’s like a brand-new movie with the same plot, just a different set/location & actors.

How then, can we break a pattern and achieve breakthrough? It’s by facing the situation with the right tools and proper guidance. Instead of going head on, take a step back to first identify the mechanics of the pattern – not as it seems on the surface, but the underlying tendencies that cause the reoccurrence. When one of my coaching clients, Mandy (name changed), approached me, she had changed 4 jobs in 2 years, but her frustration remained. She tried the flight way, but now decided to fight. However, this would not be possible if Mandy continued the same historical behavior in every situation. The below guide is a simple tool to break patterns and achieve breakthrough.

3-step Guide to Inner Transformation:

1. Embrace: The first step is to accept the presence of a situation and face it. Acknowledge the emotions and feelings attached to the dissatisfaction with complete honesty and non-judgmental attitude towards self. Ignoring or procrastinating will only suppress the emotions that will eventually build up within like a pressure cooker waiting to explode. In Mandy’s case, the underlying tendency was her lack of confidence in her abilities and expectation of others to drive her career growth.

2. Empower: After identifying and accepting the root cause, the next step is to plan the approach, i.e., to empower with the right tools. The unwanted and ineffective tendencies have to be replaced by thoughts and emotions that can fuel the desired outcome. Mandy resisted the temptation to give up and quit. Instead, with regular coaching, she started to take on the challenges at work and excel in it.

Tip: Keep what is required and eliminate what is a hindrance. Then aim and fire.

3. Execute: This final step is about putting the plan into action and achieving the breakthrough. With persistence, determination and proper guidance, Mandy gained the confidence boost that she was seeking, and she recorded her achievements for career growth.

Will the pattern continue? Certainly! In fact, it will persist until one takes the right action. We cannot change our surroundings, but we can equip ourselves to influence our surroundings. With inner transformation, one can surpass it successfully. The result may not be achieved overnight and failures along the way are evident. The key is to view these challenging situations as an opportunity for growth.

But is that the end? Absolutely not!

Each pattern and a successful breakthrough is a step up to a new and refined you. When one pattern breaks, another appears; and we level up higher each time we overcome a new pattern. The moment these patterns stop appearing, is the moment we stop growing.

So next time when you feel like the little hamster running endlessly, you could either continue to wallow in the mud, or take charge to Embrace, Empower and Execute a breakthrough!

Choice is yours!

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