“You do something that you could never have imagined yourself doing, become something you could never have imagined yourself becoming, and, ultimately, live a life greater than you could have ever imagined yourself living.” ~Dr. Judith Wright
At the most fundamental level, every self-improvement blog post or self help book is about life transformation.
How can you transform from the person you are today to a person who is happier, healthier, more fulfilled, more productive, in better relationships, having more self-esteem, and feeling more self-confident?
Even the smallest positive life changes transform us in some way, pushing us forward on the personal evolutionary scale and fostering some level of self-awareness and growth.
But what if you could transform on a level that afforded so much more than incremental change? What if personal transformation propelled you from living a better life to living a spectacular life?
Recently, I had a guest expert speak to students in my Path to Passion course about the kind of transformation that leads to spectacular living. Dr. Judith Wright is an educator, renowned coach and speaker, lifestyles expert, and author (with her husband Bob) of Transformed!: The Science of Spectacular Living.
Dr. Wright was kind enough to speak with me about her book and the process of life transformation that leads to exponential, significant change and growth.
Here's what she had to say about life transformation:
Your book is called Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living. What does it mean to be transformed in such a way that one can live a spectacular life and why is it something people would want to do?
I think that no matter how happy we are, how much we’ve grown, or how many changes we’ve made in our lives, we sense there is more. We feel the beckoning of our unfulfilled potential. The possibility of greatness is powerful, and I think what is exciting for us is that we’ve discovered a process that, if followed, anyone can do to tap into that greatness.
The word transformation is used regularly by a variety of self-improvement professionals. Too often, though, their versions of transformation, while desirable, are limited and temporary.
People focus on wanting to be happier or not sabotaging relationships or on getting ahead in their career. That’s fine, but solving the problem or achieving the goal is change with a lowercase “c.”
I’m not knocking it; in fact, I help facilitate it because it can provide significant, incremental improvement in a person’s life. But it’s not transformation, which is all-encompassing. The people we studied experienced changes in their feelings, their thoughts, their careers, their relationships, their personalities. With Transformation, everything shifts.
Why did you want to write this book and who is it written for?
My husband Bob and I have been very blessed to work with people for over 25 years. We continually witness miracle after miracle of individuals becoming people they never dreamed of when they started the process.
They might come in to achieve a goal or solve a problem, but once they engaged in the process, they discovered so much more. From that perspective, we always knew we wanted to write down what we had discovered to share it with as many people as possible.
But over time we noticed that certain students experienced exponential change. Their capacities expanded exceptionally, as did their service to different communities, their joy of living, depth of relationships, career success, and satisfaction.
We engaged an outside researcher to help us get a study of these high performers going. We then took this initial data and dug deeply with our own research to discover what these individuals were doing that allowed them to transform in such startling and inspiring ways. What emerged was the Transformed! process, and it felt critical to get it down to share with as many people as possible.
I know this flies against conventional marketing advice, but the book truly is written for anyone who yearns for something more—young or old, black or white, any age, race, ethnicity, gender. We have seen the process work for every kind of person you can imagine. What matters to us is contributing as much as we can to our community and our world.
Your process for transformation involves six stages with the first stage being what you call “yearning.” What do you mean by yearning and how can our yearnings lead us to the next transformational stage?
When we talk of transformation, we are not talking about a formula but rather about something deeply personal that emerges from within—a unique, new you. Imagine if your soul had a voice and could articulate what it wants most in the world. Or more simply, consider what you desire deeply, what would turn your good life into a great one.
Yearning is a desire or universal longing to create, to connect, to touch and be touched, to love and be loved, to be seen, to matter, to be heard, to contribute, to help and be helped. It arises momentarily and is gone, only to reappear for another brief time.
Transformers tend to their deeper yearning, recognizing and acting on it more than others. We all have wants, but yearning is a driver of transformation, while wants are drivers of goals. When we know what we yearn for, we possess the motivational energy and direction to take the next step in the process.
What are some of the other stages of transformation, and how long does the process take?
The next steps in the process are Engaging, Revelating, Liberating, Rematrixing, and Dedicating. Engaging means the spontaneous, in-the-moment responses to the urges generated by our deeper yearning.
As we follow our yearning and engage, we begin to Revelate which is both our awareness of ourselves and possibilities and also learning to reveal ourselves more fully. In this phase, we realize we’ve been operating under a self-fulfilling prophecy managed by a “matrix” of mistaken beliefs and limited thinking that has been holding us back.
Then in Liberating we step out of our cage of habitual living, doing the undoable and saying the unsayable. Liberating means doing something contrary to those limiting beliefs or matrix that we discovered in the Revelating phase.
Doing this again and again helps build new neural pathways which is the next step called Rematrixing. Doing something new is great, but only by making those liberating moves intentionally and often, do we transform.
And the final phase is Dedicating which means making a lifelong commitment to conscious sustained, intentional action towards our own transformation.
There is no set time frame for these phases, because it’s an ongoing process that is very personal to each individual. The great thing about the process is that the satisfaction and fulfillment you experience is immediate when you embark on the journey, but the process is continual and results continue to emerge the more you follow the process.
How does brain science, like neuroplasticity, support the transformational process you outline?
Until relatively recently, the conventional wisdom was that we are stuck with the brains we were born with. We assumed that the brain was static rather than dynamic and that we needed to accept our cognitive limitations.
But an overwhelming body of new scientific research—especially in the area of neuroscience—has shattered these assumptions. This research makes a strong case for neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to reconfigure neural pathways based on experience and learning.
From a transformational standpoint, what this is that we can use our malleable minds to grow and develop as human beings. It’s very exciting.
What are some of the roadblocks and fears one encounters during transformation and how do you overcome them?
We experience a wide variety of fears on two completely different ends of the spectrum—We fear doing something challenging or new, but we also fear what happens when we become our greatest self.
The list of fears is long and varied. We have fears of failure, of success, of being disliked, of being humiliated, of being rejected or ostracized, of losing friends, of making a mistake, of being too pushy/aggressive, of being overly emotional, of being angry, of being inauthentic.
In reality, at the core, we most fear becoming our greatest self. And in the process of transformation, the worst thing you can do is ignore or minimize the fear which is what people try to do.
In the Transformed process we teach people to recognize their fear, tend to it, and use it to move themselves forward. We teach specific tools for each of these allowing people to experience their fears but also to move through the fears to act on their deeper yearning.
How often does one need to go through this transformation process during a lifetime?
We believe that there is in each one of us, a next most radiant self, seeking to be released and from that perspective it’s an ongoing process as much as you choose it. When you start a personal growth seminar, change careers, or embark on a pilgrimage, you are not aware of that internal radiance.
But to transform, you must facilitate its emergence. Your next most radiant self is not a fixed point on the horizon but an ever-changing light within. I know that what I am suggesting is counter-intuitive. We’ve been brought up to nurture hopes and dreams; to settle on an ambitious destination and devote ourselves to getting there.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-dreams, hopes, or goals; it’s that I’m pro-transformation, because it offers so much more. You’re constantly re-cycling through the transformation process because you are constantly awakening to still more yearning. As you follow these emerging yearnings, you become a different person and what drive you evolves too.
You can learn more about Dr. Judith Wright's work at Wright Living, and download two free chapters of her book, Transformed: The Science of Spectacular Living.
Please feel free to ask Dr. Wright your questions in the comments below.
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