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Most people use Willpower to drive change. Here’s what to do instead.



Most people drive change through pure willpower. In the process they do more harm than good. Rather than doing that, let’s focus on how you might design change into your life.


I use the word “design” consciously. Willpower and repetition is one way to improve a skill, to building a habit. But there are so many ways where you can transform your life with less effort, with more happiness, and a much bigger impact to you, and everyone around you!


There are three things I cover hear:


  • The eight major ways to drive change in your life
  • The four foundational habits you need to have in order to drive these changes
  • The two support systems you need to put into place to help drive these changes


Eight ways to drive change in your life

Know your why. Knowing your why is not this magical thing that we only get by meditating for 7 days and then journaling for another 13. Knowing your why comes down to two things:

  1. Recognize work you find meaningful. Keep a closer track of the activities that you do during the day and how energized you feel. It could be meetings, emails, composing presentations, teaching. You just need to understand which activities give you joy and design your job around those
  2. We are more willing to do things for other people. So figure out how the change you want to drive benefits the people that matter to you. Is your team better off? Is your family happier? Keep that picture front and center

What you measure matters. Especially when you begin a change, do not measure metrics outside your control. As an example, if you start a blog, the metrics that tell you how popular you are will suck. Instead, you need to measure what is in your control, that demonstrates your best self. This could be the effort you put into it, the number of hours worked, the number of unique ideas you generated. That is what will keep you going



What shows up on your calendar? Do you have actual deadlines setup that you work towards. Do you have time allocated to work towards the change you are looking to drive?

Momentum: The hardest part is getting started. In the beginning you have to be willing to look for early wins. And you have to be willing to start before you feel fully prepared.

Your identity: What is your aspirational identity. What do you remind yourself to show up as? What stories do yourself? It is a mutually reinforcing. You can tell yourself a better story, on your identity. That generates action in the direction of the identity you want to drive. That reinforces your stories and beliefs, and that reinforces your identity. We can all grow into the person we want to be by telling ourselves stories and reminding ourselves of the identity of the person we want to become, and then reinforcing them through daily actions. 

Repeating the change you want to drive. Repetition makes change stick

Make the change you are going to drive ever-present in your life. Want to meditate more? Do it with your morning coffee. Want to do more yoga? Just leave the yoga mat in the middle of your living room, where you are likely to see it more.



Experimentation. Bring other people along by suggesting small experiments rather than massive changes.


Four foundational habits


  1.  Consciously shaping how you show up to any situation. Don’t let situations determine that. Determine that for yourself.
  2. Communication - speaking, writing and listening. That determines your Personal Brand
  3. Influence others deeply by getting them to think differently, by role modeling behavior, and by challenging them to do better
  4. Essentialism. Anything in your life must either be a hell yeah, or a no (from the book Essentialism)


Two support systems

  1. Get a coach. It costs a lot but it's worth it, and has 10Xed the seed with which I change
  2. Find a mastermind. A group of people who you trust, with similar goals, who are willing to hold you accountable, and advise each other when you need help





Hi this is Shobhit,  founder at Intentional Product Manager. If you are here, you probably heard heard me speak at Product Camp Boston and even if you did not you you're curious about driving change in your life. Very often what happens is we go and attend events such as product camp or some conference where this suddenly a lot of inspiration and enthusiasm in us. It might be because we heard of a really awesome talk, had great atmosphere, meant a whole bunch of interesting people and we want to drive change in our lives. 


But what typically happens still is this enthusiasm dies down. We were enthusiastic at the conference, but then we came back and we came back to the daily habits. We  get up and we read email, then we go to work. Life continues in its normal sense and nothing really changes. Now I contrast with the time I went to a conference a few months ago called High Performance Academy. Here's a picture from there. It's like 2000 people. Really high energy. I mean people are dancing in front of the room at 9:00 AM. And I was like, Oh, let me just have my coffee. But it was like a four day long wedding with a lot of learning. And the kind of changes I drove after that in my life were amazing to me. 


I lost 10 pounds, which is always awesome. But my happiness level changed. I became a lot more charged and more energized in my life. ANd, less angrier. Let's less frustrated, Better habits, you know, biking several times a week to work. Now I'm healthier, eating better. Um, uh, doing more exercise such as weights, like all these sorts of things changed my, my excitement level at work changed my performance change I've been doing work at, at a pace that I didn't think I would be able to do. So before and been working on, you know, videos such as this and teaching other product managers. It just been a sea change for me in all aspects of life. And what I wanted to talk through was what drove those changes. And it wasn't just attending a conference. It was a whole series of steps that I put in place that I, that helped tried those changes and I think they can for you as well. 


So here's what I'm going to talk about. I'm going to cover the eight major things that will drive change in your life. That's number one. Then number two thing is what are the four foundational habits you need to have in order to drive these changes. And number three is what are the two two support systems you need to put it in place to help drive those changes. And I'm hoping by the end of this talk, you'll be able to say, that  I cannot put all of these in place immediately, but maybe I'll start by picking one or two or three and applying them the next day. And you get some actionable advice on how do you drive major changes in your life, whether that habits change, whether that just changing to a new business altogether. Any, any kind of change you want to drive in your life to let's get to it. 


Okay. So let's begin with the eight things that will help you make changes in your life. Are you ready for it?


Number one is understanding why you are making these changes now. Often, finding your seems like a very, very , vague message. Seems like what you need to do is um, go meditate for 20 days and then journal for another 10 days and you'll magically find your why. And, and I just wanted to demystify that. Finding your why is about two things. Number one, it's finding work that you find meaningful. And those are simple way for, for me to find that in, which I just started keeping a closer track of the activity that I was doing during the day and when I was feeling really energized, right? This could be, hey, I'm in a meeting. Uh, am I energize here, uh, are, uh, I'm uh, I'm answering an email.  I'm writing a proposal and thinking about strategy. I'm teaching other product managers, I'm coaching people. Like, what part really drives that spike of inspiration and happiness for you that will give you clues on what are the kinds of things you enjoy. Your  why is now how do you take that part and design a job in which you do more of it and use that to contribute to the world. 


So that's one aspect. The second part of why is other people, so, um, when I, when I first started, uh, working on, um, intentional product manager, um, you know, I did the class, I did it for free the first time and then I realized, that I want to keep growing this. I'm going to start charging for it. That will help me scale this morning. But I was so scared of charging for it. And, uh, the, uh, uh, the block I had in my mind was, oh, I would just become one of those consultants who would just try to just sell all the time, and tries to make money by coaching or “giving value” to other people. 


Uh, what I ultimately ended up realizing was that, you know, for me it's not really about money. The money is an enabler to two things. One, it's an enabler to scale this business. If I'm able to generate revenue, I'll be able to expand more and more time on it and actually build this and get my message out and hopefully benefit a lot of, uh, product managers and maybe even beyond going forward. And I had all the raw materials. I mean, the kind of reviews I'd gotten after my first group coaching class, which is astounding. I was so ecstatic on that, but yet scared. So searching for my why in terms of why do I want to do this more and why do I want to charge for it really helped me get past that hurdle. 


The second part was, uh, you know, finding what I want to do for other people. It's an established fact that most people are willing to do more for others than they are for themselves. That is why we find obligations that others put on us so hard to get out of. But you know, I promised this person I would get this done. So I have to get that done. Even though it's not the most important thing for me. That happens all the time. Well how do you leverage this but use it to do the things you actually want to do and what benefit to you in the long term. So things such as this business, it means a lot for my family. Maybe I should focus on it, right? Or something at work that might help you get promoted but might be scary, but that leads to a better, you have happier, you are more fulfilled you and that ultimately benefits your family. 


So let's remind the effect that these things have beyond yourself that would inspire change in your life. 


Number two is what you measure. Uh, when I started, uh, writing for this residence and blogging and tweeting and social media and I'm still in the early stages, I started measuring things such as, um, how many views did the blog post get? How many retweets did my treat get or likes? And those are probably great things to be measuring because you want to figure out which of your blog posts in this business get the most views and then do more of those and just way of refining the business. But when you're starting something new and you're starting to make changes, the problem is that these numbers suck. They're just awful. Like if you look at how many views I get on my blog post or my youtube videos, maybe this one, it's like five people viewed it and oh, by the way, three of them with just me. 


Just checking to make sure it worked in different browsers, is not inspiring, right? So what you have to measure early on is your effort. It's your determination. Uh, how many times did I show courage to go get this done? How much original content did you create? How much did I keep trying? Even though I was failing miserable?How much better did I get any particular skill? Those are the things you should focus on early on. That's what gives you the courage and the encouragement to keep going. 


Now let's talk about the third thing, which is your calendar. So, um, uh, a friend of mine, Pranav Khanna, who is a VP at capital one, he wrote this blog post on, there is a killer app for product managers. It's calling your calendar.


Whatever shows up on your calendar that defines who you become. Whenever you can do that, you get done whatever deadlines you put on your calendar. They mean a lot. If you are doing the habit change and uh, you dry or you're trying to write some other change and you don't have that in your calendar, you're failing at it. So use your calendar to put all these things I have, for example, on my calendar, put exactly when will I upload my social media posts. When will I prepare the next lesson for my group coaching program? If I didn't have that, I might slip, but I know my deadlines and I've stuck to it. Put it on your calendar. 


Number four is momentum. The idea here is that whenever you're changing and, and starting something new, very often you might just find it very hard to get started. But once you find the little momentum, things get easier. So the trick is to start before you're ready to just do one small step and maybe then tools while steps and just keep going in, build on that momentum that you did. Look, I don't have a great studio right now to do these videos. I mean the purpose of building it up, but tell them I'm, my videos are going to suck a little. You probably hear some background noise. But I just need momentum. I also need momentum behind building my skill in doing this video. I mean, I'm, I'm terribly uncomfortable right now in, uh, a lot of shooting this video. 


I'm going to just go ahead and do it anyway. Build momentum and I know I will get better.

Number five is your identity. So, um, that is a story you're telling yourself always, you know, which is what is your identity right now? And all the stories I could tell you, tell all the stories that you tell yourself, shape your identity. What do you need to do is to start telling yourself better stories, ask questions such as, what's the story am I attending right now? How could I tell this in a way that supports my goals versus keep me away from it? That will ultimately shape your identity. The story you tell yourself, the actions you take. It's like a vicious circle. You know, you, you, uh, tell yourself a story. You make the story of the better you get to do more actions that reinforces the identity, that improves the stories. 


And this keeps going. So what identity you have for yourself right now and how could you improve it to support the changes you want to make in your life? 


Great. The next one is habit change. And I'm going to, they'd like to two aspects of habit change first. Well, just your habits determine whether you change anything. And there is uh, some signs that on how many times, how many times you have to repeat something for it to become a habit. So you was having tracking tool. Just keep going through things. But that's just one part of the story. 

The, the second part of the story is the habit loop. There’s a really awesome book on habit change called Atomic Habits by a person named James Clear. So, uh, in this book, James gives a lot of ideas of how you could change your habits. The four fundamental ones are make it easy, make it obvious, make it attractive and make it rewarding. So easy is just simplify it. Do something smaller than you think possible so that you know your, your, the step that you take is easy. The second one is obvious, which is tied to something that you already do. So, uh, I'll give you an example. Uh, do habits that I've been, that one of doing meditation in the morning and the second is doing moreYoga. The meditation habit. I just decided to my morning coffee. I are now always make my coffee in the morning, poured it in a cup, put the cup down, meditate for 10 minutes, and then, you know, that's tied into a habit already have. 


I'd also, it's rewarding at the end of meditation I go get to have a nice cup of coffee, which is no longer boiling hot. It’s at the perfect temperature. So that's how I made this, this habit of meditation rewarding. ,Some people say, okay, I am going to only watch Netflix while I exercise. Wow, that's an awesome way of making a habit stick.  Having something attractive for a habit that pulls you in. The core point I want to drive here is that there are a lot of ways of changing habits. What we generally default to is simply will power is simply doing the habit like 30 times by sheer force of will and like checking it off every day and checking it off everyday. 


And I'm saying you could do a lot more to use your environment to use various cues to make the environment to make the habit much easier to adopt to that. Don't kill yourself by trying to just force of habit, but actually make these changes through conscious design. 


Last, but not least, experiments. Start small. Often with changes in your life, you have to bring other people along. And the best way to bring people along in my opinion is just say, why don't we try x? You know, why don't we try something new? Um, and I can tell you how many times I've, I've like gone and presented huge proposals to, to my whole team and be like, oh, we got to change and we got to go become like so awesome at this thing. We've got to be world class. And other people said, oh, why don't we try a small step? 


And people like, yeah, we can try that small step. We could do an experiment and if it doesn't work we'll, we'll kick it out. It's so much easier to convince people about small changes to don't try to like make huge changes at once. Just ask people to make a small change. Just ask yourself to make a small change. And you find that making changes, changes in your life, especially the small changes which run as experiments make things so much easier. Great. So we talked about those changes that you're going to drive in your life. 

Now I want to talk about what I'd like the four fundamental habits that you must have that helped you build up any new habits or new, any new changes you want to drive in your life. Let's get into it. 


The four foundational habits. 


Number one, thought about how you show up all about how you show up. What does that mean? Um, so in any interaction, any habits I'd be going, we have a certain attitudes. And what we don't do is consciously shift that attitude. 


We rely on what's happened before and, and that often determines how our attitude is. So I'll give you an example. You're just gonna get out of a stressful meeting. Imagine I did that and I started shooting this video. How awesome do you think this video would be? Not Good. Instead of that, I come out of a stressful meeting. I take a minute, I close my eyes and I write down how do I want to appear in this video, right? Maybe I want to appear into the artistic and writing it down right now. Maybe I want to appear frank and honest. You know, I want to, I want to show you the best of what I got and I want to show you the worst of what I've got. And maybe I just want to appear brave because this is still new to that. That's what I want. 


That's how I want to show up right now. If you wrote those things down, consciously, is one way of not just showing up the way you happen to be because of whatever happened in the past, but consciously shaping and deciding and stepping into your best self. If you build that habit, your level of energy and your level of intensity for anything just changes. So I would say that's like the number one foundational habit. 


Number two is how you communicate so much. Like especially US product managers. So much of our brand and how people perceive us is how we communicate. So, uh, you know, this is one skill you can always be getting better at. And communication is not just about speaking or writing, it's also about listening. How much have you tried to improve in terms of how you listen, how you draw out more information, uncovered feelings from people you listen to. 


Have you, have you tried to figure out how to make them feel heard, make them feel like their words and their conversation with you matter? I mean, we, charisma is, is this magical, mysterious thing.So much of our brand and how people perceive us is how we communicate.Trust me, it will, uh, it will change how people perceive you. Um, so that was communication. 


Number three is his influence. Um, which is how, how do you shape others to drive changes in your life? There is an element of how do you influence yourself, but how do you influence others? Uh, and a lot of people think about influence as purely poor situation, which is like in an interaction, I'm trying to get something but influences the often a bigger deal. It's about how do I drive bigger changes in you across time. 


I'm gonna use these words of Brendon Burchard with one of the, the people who I really follow. And then he says that this One is your role model, the change you want them to have. Second is, uh, you challenge them, you challenge them to do, to do better, to show up somewhere with a much higher sense of purpose, of commitment, of energy. And then third, is that you get them to think differently. And, um, you know, I, I truly believe that when, when I, whenever I go into a situation of influence, I think about which one of these three levers could I, could I change? Uh, an example is like if I'm, if I'm getting my daughter to be happier with the situation at school I'm going to ask her to think differently about it. Maybe I'm going to ask her to focus more on things that she enjoys.


And last but not least, the habit of Essentialism. Another great book that I've read and the core of the book as you might've guessed from the title, is figuring out what's essential, what is most important. And then started to start to say no to everything else. Sometimes you do have to explore more before you really find what's essential to be conscious of that. You might, you know, go through different things, figured out, oh this is what really appeals to me. And then you say, okay, I'm going to go do that. That means I'm not going to do this, this, this, this and this. 


And a big, a good discipline to follow is the, the idea of hell yeah or no, which is if you're considering doing something, if your answer is not healthier than it must be, no. If it's not an immediate yes, I want to do that, then it must be no good. 


Now let's talk about the two support systems that you can build to drive change in your life. LNumber one, coach. Find a coach. I found a coach. I thought, I always thought, coach you therefore like the fancy people, you know, the CEOs, the entrepreneurs have already like leading a company of 300 people. Like what would I do with the coach then the kind of changes I've already driven in seven coaching sessions now it's crazy. It's worth every single penny. I do want to be conscious coaching. Very often if you get the right coach, it's not cheap. 


It could be fairly expensive. So I'm always a consideration for you. See how much you can afford. I do think if you do get the right coach, uh, it's, um, it's, it's really worth it. 


The second support system is a group of peers who act like, your accountability system and your mastermind. I found this group through that conference I mentioned the high performance academy and we check in once a week, uh, and, and we talk about how our week went. Where are we on the goals that we wanted to hit? Um, where are we falling behind? What are the problems we are facing on a life? I mean, I've gotten advice from, from people in, in, in my accountability group about how to improve my relationships at home. Right? We just celebrated my 10 year anniversary. How do the next five years look like to consciously think of that? 


And I'm really thankful for that advice. And you know, if you look at it like this whole group, it's kind of weird. Like, who are these people? I just met them two months ago. Why are they offering such advice? We got bonded by a common purpose of improving ourselves, of finding things we are passionate about and are working towards that. And that's what you got to go to find for yourself. Um, it's, it's a big part of my group coaching program. It's, you know, you work, uh, if you're product manager, you've worked with several other product managers and these people are starting, you know, consult each other and talk to each other and build relationships with each other and hopefully building their own masterminds. I love the program because of that. 


My challenge to you today is reflect on all these things. You know, there's their slides that go with this. Figure out what are the maybe one to three things that you're going to use, drive some changes in your life. And I would love to hear more about it. So if you can use any of them and post them in the comments section that that's there below this video, I would really love it. Uh, and you know, if you are looking for to maybe join this group coaching program or just hear about some of the other things we offer at intentional product manager, please, please to explore the website. We would love you to do that. So once again, this is shit. I'm a founder at intentional product manager talking about habit change, and I just want you to go and believe that it's possible for you to write changes and every trying, every time you make some improvements in your life, the compound effect is just absolutely amazing to just go for it.

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