Have you ever felt as if you were stuck in a rut? I have. There have been times in my life when I have felt stuck, cemented and confined by people, policies, places and positions. A few times I felt so emotionally trapped by routines, responsibilities and relationships that I stopped growing, learning, loving and living. I was emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually sinking, and I was sinking fast.
Thankfully some wonderful coaches and counselors helped me change the trajectory of my life and now almost 25 years later, I have learned a few things. I have learned that self-reflection is the first step to personal transformation. Yes, I learned that I had to learn more about me. I learned that I had to learn who I was devoid of expectations, fears, traditions, norms and facades. I had to discover who I was outside of what everybody else wanted me to be. Trust me, that was difficult; it required peeling back layers of my personality that I never knew existed.
For me, self-reflection was a painstaking process because I had to take off the masks and remove my disguises; I could no longer hide. I also had to stop acting, and the funny thing was — I didn’t know that I was even acting. I thought my beliefs and behavior were self-directed; I soon realized that they were not. I realized that my beliefs and behavior were influenced by whole lot of people who didn’t know me, care about, support me or even like me. Yikes! What a wake-up call!
During my self-discovery journey, I was forced to analyze my history to identify patterns, themes and the orgins of my bad behavior. I had to understand why I sabotaged my success, happiness, relationships and health. I was forced to evaluate my perspectives and define my truth, and honestly 25 years ago, I didn’t know I even had a truth. Imagine that.
I am not alone; many people are and have been in the same boat. Many people today are struggling or have struggled to understand themselves. Some, like I did, have and continue to struggle to find their purpose, accept their calling or even understand the need for transformation. Most successful people I know have been to THE place, the place of truth that helped them jump-start their journeys of personal transformation. I call THAT place “Blessings at the Bottom” (Chapter 39 in I Have Learned A Few Things)
Yes, most of us have been to that the scary, unfamiliar and agonizing place that demanded that we become more self-aware. I am sure that we all can agree that THE place is a challenging place but it is also an exciting place. It is a place of great promise, great purpose, great clarity and of great relief. During THAT place, we were forced to look closer, deeper and broader at the choices that we made or honestly consider the choices that we were failing to make. We removed our defenses and we became emotionally transparent to ourselves; we didn’t hide from our histories, failures, mistakes and secrets. We became self-aware and as result, we were ready to embark on our new journeys, our journeys of personal transformation.
As we learned in the previous post, self-AWARENESS is the first step toward personal transformation. After you conduct a full life inventory and commit to continuous self-discovery, the second step on the road to personal transformation is ACTION. Yes, ACTION! If you want a different life, you must make changes; you must do something and many times, do a lot of “somethings” differently. As we say in the South, “you just can’t talk about it, you got to be about it”.
But even though we know we must do something, it is the “doing” that scares us the most. It is the “doing” that keeps up stuck, stagnant and stale in our lives. It is the “doing” that seems insurmountable, unfathomable and just down right undoable. It is the “doing” that reveals our fears, unravels our resolve and makes us abandon our dreams. It is the “doing” that frequently stops us or makes us settle for relationships that are unfulfilling, jobs that are underpaying and lives that are unsatisfying. The “doing”, the failure to take action, is what limits our successes and negates our future.
So how do we address the “doing” so that it feels doable? I don’t know all of the answers but I have a few thoughts.
- Get clear about what you want and who you want to be; determine your compelling WHY. Your WHY will create your vision, and your vision will guide and direct you. For example, when I started my healing journey, my WHY was that I no longer wanted to feel yucky inside. I was tired of feeling small, silent, suffocated and sidetracked. My WHY was not elaborate or deep; it was just honest. More importantly, at the time that was all I could articulate but it was a great start. What’s your WHY?
- Identify the resources that you already have and identify what you are already know. When I started my personal transformation, I knew that I had some money and I knew that I needed therapy. I knew that my prolonged feelings of malaise and sadness were not normal. I didn’t know too much more than that but knowing those few things was critical to me moving forward in my life. So what do you already have and what do you already know?
- Take a step, make a call, start a class, join a group or find support. I would say read a book but I have learned that reading books in isolation is never enough for sustained growth. Books provide concepts but an activity, practice or coaching provides the application. And to make the changes that you want in your life, you need both concepts and application. Just think about. You can read a book about swimming all day long but until you jump in the pool do you know if you can really swim? The same principle applies when learning new life skills. So, what are you doing to use, practice, apply or implement the knowledge that you are learning?
- Don’t worry about understanding all the details. You may never know all of the details before you start a business, pursue your dreams or embark on a healing journey. Learn as much as you can and get started. No, don’t be reckless or careless; be calculating, prudent and analytical. But after you obtain as much information as you can, MOVE, DO, GO, BE, and TRY! Take action…..bold action. As you take a few steps toward your goals, more information, resources and support will show up. Trust me…I have been there.
- Only focus on 3 – 5, preferably only 3, things that you want to improve or change at one time. Some coaches may disagree with me on this. However, from working with all types of clients, I have learned that personal transformation is challenging, and trying to do too much at once often becomes overwhelming. And what do overwhelmed people routinely do? They procrastinate or they QUIT! So, honor yourself. Organize your life and focus on a few things so you don’t fall out, fall down and fall asleep. Trust me, it happens.
- Remember that success is a process, and sometimes a messy process. This weekend one of my mentors said something that resonated in my spirit. He said that “sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity”. Wow…as we say in the Christian faith – that was an on-time word. That phrase freed me! I now feel more creative, more committed and more courageous to pursue my own dreams. That little phrase empowered and embolden me to Soar Higher!
I encourage you to take Action! Never forget that motion motivates, activates and elevates. So get started because today is the first day of the rest of your life. And, don’t forget to get some support on your journey. If you need coaching or assistance, please feel free to call the Jamison Group. We would love to provide you with support and guidance as you embark on your new life.
Always remember to DARE to SOAR HIGHER because You are ALWAYS worth your best!
(Reprinted from my upcoming book, I Have Learned A Few Things About Success)