Module 2
The Sustainable Change Framework

Welcome back!

How are YOU? How is your LIFE? 

You are just about to start a second journey, a journey that has the potential to be different and equally meaningful. This part is about action, about your next level and – as always – about:

Who YOU dare to be and which IMPACT you wanna stand for? 

Questions? Just contact us here.

Intro – Why mindset? | Assumption 1 | Assumption 2 | Assumption 3  |

Assumption 4 | Assumption 5 | Assumption 6 | Assumption 7 | Homework

Intro – Why mindset?

A framework to understand how your mindset and your real life results are connected – freely interpreted by The Arc.

We frequently get asked: Why bothering about mindset if I just wanna have better RESULTS in my life?  Why not just start to get going right away?

Well, if you can do that, GREAT! Please get started. Often times though: If you could just have gotten started, you probably would have done so already! Hence, there must be something significant that holds you back.

You might ask: So why don‘t just just take my hand and support me, force me to do it and then we are done?“

Because from years of coaching experience we know that as soon as the programme is over, people will likely be back to their good old patterns. It‘s just not sustainable (although very lucrative as you are likely to hire us again once you understand that you are ONLY getting results when we are around ;)).

So what does a more sustainable way look like?

We believe that change happens first in your head, heart and gut. More generally put: Your MINDSET. If any of these three are against the change you wanna achieve, you will likely struggle to sustain it. And because this belief can at times be controversial, we love The Sustainable Change Framework as an easy way to describe how our mindset and our real life results are interrelated.

We also love this framework because it can be applied to virtually any area in your life: from job/career, to relationships, to health or even spiritual growth topics.

Disclaimer: Please note that this model is just a way of how we like to think about certain things. It is NOT us saying “this is how reality really works“ nor would we say that there are “no exceptions to the model“.

Assumption #1 of 7

We all want results.

We all want results.

We assume that – the end of the day – we all like and want results. By RESULTS we mean: A visible or invisible improvement of any area in your life. For instance: having a more fulfilling job, a higher salary, better relationships, more free time, better health, a fitter body or learning a new skill. „Being less dependent on materialistic/external  things such as money or being liked“ or “being more in tune with oneself“ by meditating 20min per day, we‘d also call a RESULT.

Assumption #2 of 7

We only get results through action.

We only get results through action.

We would say: Being really, really, really lucky is an exception.

This might sound obvious, but trust us, we‘ve met enough people on our way who – for instance – were just waiting for the perfect partner to arrive or who were just waiting for the perfect job to hit them. Whilst this technique of waiting to be lucky might bring you to the desired outcome eventually, action itself has (in our experience) been vastly superior as an approach.

Summary: Why is it that some people do get results whilst others don‘t? Because they do stuff!

Assumption #3 of 7

We only get active if our emotions & self talk are supportive of the action.

We only get active if our emotions & self talk are supportive of the action.

We assume that every human has their very own system according to which they do stuff. For instance: If my craving for chocolate wins over my self-control, I will eat the chocolate lying in front of me. If my self-control wins, I won‘t eat it. If my self-confidence to ask for a higher salary from my boss wins over my self-doubt, I will ask for a higher salary. If not, then not. If my wish to change the world as an entrepreneur is bigger than my fears holding me back, I will get started. If not, then not. Or even in a more controversial way: If my drive to steal candy from the supermarket is bigger than my ethical voice, I will become a thief. If not, then not.

In short we‘d say: We all have our very own and individual PLEASURE TO PAIN CALCULATION that determines whether or not we do something. If the pleasure from action exceeds the pleasure from non-action, I will do something. Or: If the pain from action exceeds the pain from non-action, I won‘t do it. It‘s actually pretty darn simple.

Now, whether or not we feel pleasure or pain in relation to a certain action can be monitored by our emotions and our self-talk.

Actions that feel good/ for which we feel a strong urge/desire to complete and that are accompanied with affirmative/ often empowering self-talk such as “Yaay, let‘s do this“ or “Sure  can do this“ or “Despite this being difficult, I know I will do this“ are likely to be carried out by us.

Actions that feel uncomfortable/ for which we feel a weak urge/desire to complete and that are accompanied with non-affirmative/often limiting self-talk such as “OMG, I just can’t do this” or “I am too scared to do this” or any other excuse (justified or unjustified) are unlikely to be carried out by us.

Summary: How come some people do stuff and others don’t? Because their internal compass of emotions and self-talk will point them either to action or to non-action.


Assumption #4 of 7

The degree to which we believe our action to meet our true values/needs determines the nature of our emotions/self-talk.

The degree to which we believe our action to meet our true values/needs determines the nature of our emotions/self-talk.

Our emotions and self-talk do not just happen. They too have a trigger. We say: Whether we have good/comfortable emotions and affirmative/empowering self-talk or not, depends on what we value and need in our specific situation.[1]

Imagine Paul, a very timid, rather fearful person full of self-doubt with a high need of being liked. Paul wants to ask his boss for a promotion. Daring such a step is probably the last thing that would fulfill Paul’s needs now though.  What would be important to him now (= his values) are politeness, a lot of safety and being treated in a maybe even overly kind way. Yet, he cannot count on it. Given that his needs/values are either definitely or potentially unfulfilled, the outlook of the annual performance review gives him uncomfortable shivers. Anxiety. And self-talk like “Please let this be over as quickly as possible”. The pain to ask for a promotion might be pretty big. For Paul this “action” will be challenging, maybe he won’t even dare to do it.

Now imagine another person Eva who feels confident about her performance, with a big need for freedom and contribution. Eva likely values being put in a challenging situation and the fun that comes from it. Eva might feel excited about the outlook of getting a new position, feel worthy and have self-talk such as “I am so curious, if they will give me that promotion! I think I will get it. How cool would it be, if it works!” The pleasure of “action” will be big, and Eva is likely to at least ask, if not even get the promotion.

Do these stories make sense to you? They should be simple. Just go through a couple of times, if you struggle.

What is important to note: Our needs and values are our drivers. They are neither good nor bad. They are just the motor that can determine the emotions and self-talk we have in relation with certain actions.

We are not saying that freedom as a need/value is better than safety, or that it is good to feel comfortable with as many situations as possible. Sometimes a high need for freedom can be destructive and having an uncomfortable gut feeling can be a great  indicator that something is wrong!

Summary: How come that in relation to the same action, two people can have different emotions and self-talk? It’s because we all have different needs and values. The degree to which the action in question can meet our needs/values determines the emotions and self-talk we have when facing that action.

[1] Just in the context of The Sustainable Change Framework we will use “values” and “needs” more or less as synonyms as differentiating here will make this particular model unnecessarily complicated. Please think of “needs” and “values” in this context as the things that are ultimately important to someone.

Assumption #5 of 7

These four steps form a chain of command.

These four steps form a chain of command.

We call the sequence of these four steps, namely [1] needs/values, [2] emotions/self-talk, [3] action and [4] results, the chain of command. Basically we say: our needs/values determine emotions/self-talk. Emotions/self-talk determine action. Action determines results.

Summary: that’s just how we call it 😉 nothing more.

Assumption #6 of 7

We are in the flow in areas where we start from the needs/values. We will likely be unsuccessful in areas where we start from the results and try to reverse-engineer the rest.Explore hidden people dynamics

We are in the flow in areas where we start from the needs/values. We will likely be unsuccessful in areas where we start from the results and try to reverse-engineer the rest.

Look at the areas in which you are really great at getting results through great action. Think about the emotions/self-talk accompanying your actions. Think about the needs and values they are shaped by. You will find that the entire chain of command is somewhat driven by confidence, joy, maybe even a sense of love. It just pops up everywhere: Your needs might rather be centered around growth, freedom, or contribution. Your values might be around fun, giving, enjoyment. Your emotions/self-talk are probably pretty great and action might well come easily to you. You are aligned. It just all makes sense. This is when you are IN THE FLOW.

Now look at areas in which you would love to have great results, but really struggle to do so. Again: Think about the action you are (maybe not) taking and what emotions/self-talk you have regarding this action. Probably they are now less comfortable: You might be scared, come up with excuses, be defensive, numb[1] yourself to shield yourself from other even more uncomfortable emotions. Your underlying needs are probably not being met. Maybe you are experiencing a lack of certainty, recognition, love. Your values might be related to protection, having a safe haven, respecting each others’ space. Now this chain of command will likely be somewhat driven by fear. Often times: Fear of the emotions we believe to experience when performing that particular action. This is when you are not aligned. Then things are magically OUT OF FLOW. Things just don’t work. It all feels wrong. It might even become the ultimate bottleneck of our life.

Now here comes the big catch!

You might have realized something: We are in the flow when we start with our needs/values and go right through this great chain of command to have fabulous results. This is when results fall into place naturally.

Many times though we start with the results which we believe to need thanks to influences like our parents, friends, social media – pick your favorite! For instance: We see the beauty standards out there in the world and we believe, yes, we too have to have a great body. We see that “being rich” is important and believe we too should urgently become rich. Or we see others in (presumably) great relationships and want to have that for ourselves.

Then we start take action. And we will find out that it just doesn’t work.


Imagine again Paul who wants to really have a promotion, but when he tries to ask for it, it just feels terrible. It’s all just out of tune. Because asking for a promotion in this annual performance review is just not the way how Paul would satisfy his need for certainty, his high need of being liked.

Because Paul’s needs and the action of “asking for a promotion” are not aligned, Paul will likely struggle or maybe even fail to achieve the desired result.

Summary: When we start with our needs/values results often fall into place naturally. That’s when we are aligned and in the flow. When we start from the results and try to reverse-engineer the rest we are likely failing.

[1] Note: Numbing can take all sorts of forms. It does not just describe the mere act of “ignoring” your emotions. I can also come in the form of being deliberately: distracted (social media? Being “always busy”), confused, systematically tired, excessive partying/ drugs/ eating or excessive self-pity, going from one personal-development-event to the next without ever changing something. The list can be long.

Assumption #7 of 7

If you want to get results, respect your true needs/values and go baby steps.

If you want to get results, respect your true needs/values and go baby steps.

Are we now all doomed to eternal unhappiness? Does this mean that we will never get results in areas where we are not aligned?


First of all: This is just a model to help us think around where we struggle. You might find many areas where this model is not even applicable or doesn’t work for you.

Second of all and more importantly: Yes, we wouldn’t be here if there was no way around this.

So here is the big secret revealed: You can still get great results even in areas where you are currently unaligned/failing by starting to get aligned! What does this mean? You start to live in new ways where you satisfy your current needs/values and STILL (either now or later) get the desired outcomes.

Up until 2012 Astrid didn’t feel comfortable about her body. She wanted to be fitter (result), but the idea of going to the gym made her feel pretty uncomfortable (emotions): “I will feel terrible next to all these muscle men in the gym – no way I am going there” (self-talk). Astrid was super anxious. What she would have needed was safety. And she would definitely have valued a lot of privacy when doing sports. Going to the gym though in her mind would definitely not provide that. In short: Fear all over that chain of command. Her trying to become a gym-queen in the short run was definitely unaligned with her true needs.

In 2012 though she met a super friendly fitness trainer in a women’s gym saying: “Just come to my class. It’s for beginners, it’s easy. You will be fine.” She was so sweet that Astrid just went. And went again. And again. After six weeks Astrid had become fit enough to join the more advanced class. And another one and another one. Up until today where she is pretty sporty and outdoes many boys in squats and planks.

So what happened?

That one fitness trainer did something smart: She responded to Astrid’s need of a safe space and definitely managed her anxiety. Then after six weeks, Astrid’s fitness improved and her need for certainty turned into a need for growth/bigger challenges. And instead of privacy she started to value the fun and pride that came from doing sports. Nowadays when Astrid thinks about exercise, she often times already feels the endorphines and goes “Whohooooo! Yaaaay!” (that’s what she says at least ;)). And surprise, surprise: She is the one running at least one amazing legendary fitness session at The Arc.

Turning herself from a couch potato into someone who is really sporty is probably one of her bigger recent achievements. However took two important steps: (1) she had to actually listen to and satisfy her true needs! (2) Go baby steps! Do not expect your needs/values to change over night. Changing habits sustainably takes time. Going smaller often means getting further.

Final summary: (as above) (1) listen to and satisfy your real needs, (2) Baby steps will likely bring you further than giant steps!



Some homework

Whohooo! That was fun! Let’s practice!

Confused? Intrigued?

Well, we loved to present this model not so much because we need people to stick to it meticulously.

But the general idea of this model is really the basis of all the work we do.

Until the next module, just OBSERVE YOURSELF! Find your RED ZONES and your GREEN ZONES! And see you in the next group call!

Stay tuned, the next session is coming soon!