03/27/2014 02:33 EDT | Updated 05/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Creating Positive Change in 4 Easy Steps

When it comes down to it, if we want to change how we experience the world, we must make the choice to change it. Newly enlightened self awareness can be used to create a shift within ourselves; a sense of self and personal power will help us rise up to embrace this change.

The engagement with the self is how we discover 'an aliveness' within; as David Hoe, President of the OHTN (Ontario HIV Treatment Network) would say: "positive change feels right in your gut". He's absolutely right. We must enable empowerment in order to feel it.

As I sit and listen to David, I am inspired by his words. Now, a social entrepreneur with his own business as a life coach and consultant focusing on personal and system transformation, he has also worked and advocated in the HIV/AIDS sector for more than 20 years. I was there as an ally, after having just viewed the memorable documentary "How to survive a plague", I listened to his message: "together we can do it... together we can overcome in solidarity".

The theme of the conference was creating positive change and, I wanted to share these simple steps that were shared with me by David, with you because the only way we are capable of change is to take the initiative. I want to share this resource, which may grant you possible inspiration towards your realization of desired change.

Creating opportunities and building positive change can come with these simple 4 steps to inspire change within you. Taking them is where you come in.

1. Notice-- what do you want to change?

To make a change focus on the issue you want to change. Choose only one.

This is about inspiring positive change within you. "If you grab 1 thing -- just 1 thing, it will impact every other thing in your life whether it's big or small," says David. Therefore, you must start by deciding on the one thing that you would like to change. Make that your meditative mantra and bring you focus. If many ideas come in, take one -- it will eventually impact all the others. Really important is that you own the change. Wanting someone else to change will not do. However, when you change others will adjust.

2. Impact: How does the now, before the change, impact you.

This is about knowing how the current status of the issue is playing out in your life. As if this issue were like a stone being dropped into a still pond and creating ripples. Check out what impacts are on your body, your thinking, your feelings, relationships and your life's meaning. Your body is the human's first language and has its own intelligence. It will "know" the impact of what's happening now. Your thinking will be alive to change or stuck or some place in between. See if your mind is alive. What is the impact of the issue on your emotions? How is now impacting and how does it guide your reactions? About your social life, does this issue now take your closer to people or further away? Are there social situations that do not happen or ones that do that are not as you would wish? Life's meaning -- what is the impact on your sense of belonging so that in tough times you have a sense of being part of something bigger in the world? The more impacts we find and the more we become aware of how they bump up against each other and make another impact, the more we are connecting with our true story and owning it. That is personal intimacy.

3. Forgiveness

It is rare that we forgive ourselves and bring compassion in. This is a courageous act - to truly forgive and be compassionate with you. As we go through life we can hang on to self-judgements that prevent us from moving forward. Often they are messages inside we think about, some times they are beliefs we develop over time such as "oh, I've tried that and it never works" or "if I do that, I cannot imagine what would happen". Another common belief is that change is "too late for me". David says, "we are each living only one life and we are fully human which includes making mistakes and learning from them. To truly learn is to forgive and then set new sights". Holding on to self-criticism and judgment keeps the past alive and prevents the energy for change to flow. Imagine your human-ness, your imperfections as natural and "you're not always knowing what to do" is how it should be.

4. Change.

By now after impacts and compassion, the issue you want to change will start to look different. The kind of change that you can now see will start to become clearer. Sometimes, it emerges that a completely different change is calling. Sometimes, the first baby step will start to show. It also might be that, you'll want to take time to consider more - to allow what have thought about to "cook". These are all good. Listen to your heart, to what seems attractive as the change and to be as gentle or as bold as you'll "feel in your gut" as the right one. And, then listen some more. Do not be surprised if the old voice of criticism comes up - it means you are changing. The brain does not like to be disturbed, but as human's we are built to grow, to be curious and be wonderful.

Ultimately, you must bring compassion to yourself. David says "we are packed with judgments. We need to grow the life we were given". This is where the final choice must be made. Sustaining positive change in our lives means that some healing needs to begin. "Forgive yourself for listening to the voices- the good & the bad" says David, "[because] the power of positive change comes from within".

It always has.

We are given tools, people and opportunities throughout our lives that are there at our disposal for supportive access and resource. Creating positive change, then sustaining it ultimately is a choice. It is a choice to live and let live. We can desire all we want in this world, the good and the bad but- it is in ourselves and acknowledging our instrumental capability that we can create the positive change we want to see, if that is what we desire.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

This article was co-written by David Hoe. If you want to learn more about his work, check him out here: and as always at Dr Carlen,