During a long career in management for a Fortune 50 company, I mentored numerous young professionals wanting to prepare themselves for future opportunities. This effort ended up as a learning experience for both parties. I want to pass on one of the guiding principles I used in the mentoring process with these high-performance people.

For more than 4 decades, I had the privilege of working closely with many great personalities who wanted to improve their performance. When I worked with them, one of the things I wanted to make sure they understood before we really got started had to do with the way the process of change works.

It is simply this: All meaningful and lasting change starts on the inside and then works its way out. In other words, a total transformation. In the insect word this is referred to as metamorphosis.

Essentially, what you think and truly believe turns into behavior. If you don't change the picture in your head before you start to change anything else about yourself, you will have a tendency to slip back to the old picture, the old you.

There are many such examples to make this point. This is what happens, for example, if you force yourself to lose weight without first changing your inner picture. If you continue to see yourself as overweight in your mind's eye, you'll start to gain the weight back as soon as you take it off.

It is also why, if your dominant picture of yourself is as a smoker, and you try to quit, you'll have a strong tendency to relapse once you relax the intense control it takes to stop in the first place. This same lack of a new, dominant picture is why most, if not all, New Year's Resolutions are doomed to failure.

The late Lou Tice, founder of the Pacific Institute, stressed the use of affirmations and visualizations as an excellent way to change your internal pictures and make sure that your new behavior lasts to make your transformation complete. They help you create your reality from the inside out, which is the absolute best way (maybe the only way) to do it.

Think about it…