Hello beautiful humans!
"It's never too late to be who you might have been." ~George Elliot
It seems everywhere you turn these days there someone is giving out advice and offering opportunities to help with Personal Growth. Everyone will swear by their own strategy and condemn others. I think the truth is that Personal Growth is different for everyone, isn't it? What works for you might not work for me and vice versa. Then again, isn't that self awareness, in itself, a type of Personal Growth?
As per usual, a topic has popped into my head and I began researching and exploring the various avenues of its nature. This one intrigued me. Being a coach, I like to think that self exploration and discovery are at the top of self awareness and self awareness leads to acknowledgement and growth. Of course, not everyone sees it that way.
What is Personal Growth?
Is it spiritual? Physical? Financial? Emotional? Does it mean you're a success or striving for it and if it does, what is success and how is that defined? To understand Personal Growth, I think it is important to understand what drives it. To do that, we first need to take a look at what is truly important to us.
Each person has a set of values that they live by. Many don't even realize it, but I can assure you they are there. What are passionate about? What do you value most in the world? They determine our actions and reactions, our goals, our decisions and choices and ultimately, how we live our lives. Values are what give our lives meaning and inspire us to achieve more. Not everyone has the same set of values. Some may value family, where as others value health. Some may value career and some their religion.
What are My Core Values?
There are many ways to determine them, Meg Sellg wrote a great article in Psychology Today (cited below) with 6 different ways to decipher them. I think the best way, however, is to just follow the steps below.
1. Take 5 minutes and make a list of what's important to you. I've listed some
Family Friends Health
Learning Religion Purpose
Creativity Dependability Career
Responsibility Fitness Art
Freedom Peace Nature
Music Volunteering Security
Love Laughter Relationships
Make a good long list of as many things that you can think of.
2. Cross out any that might be similar or the same in nature. For instance,
above, I might cross out 'relationships' since I have love, family and friends
already on the list.
3. Now pick 3 - 5 that really stand out to you. The ones that mean the most
and that you would be unwilling to compromise without a fight.
These are your core values. Your passions. The things that motivate and inspire you. They are what make you... you!
*Side note: It's important to remember, that our values may change throughout our lives depending on what we are doing at the time. If we are in school education might be at the top, whereas if we have children our family might be first.
Back to Personal Growth
Personal Growth, basically, is the undertaking of improvements in the areas of your life that help you to reach your full potential in line with your values.
Now that you know what your Core Values are, how do you show up for them? If career is at the top of your values, then ask yourself... Are you in the position you want to be in? Are you making the money you want to make? Have you learned all you need to know to perform at a stellar level? Are you working at your peak performance everyday and most important of all, does it make you happy? If the answer is no to any of these questions, then perhaps you need to do some Personal Growth in that area of your life so that you are able to live up to your full potential.
How do you start the process
Chances are, if you have identified an area of your life that needs improvement, you have already started the process with self Discovery and self Awareness. Let's don't get too far ahead of ourselves though.
I've done some research over the last few years and although there are 1001 (probably more) articles, sites and people out there promising that they have the best steps for Personal Growth, I'm going to add this one to the mix, so now there are 1002. Find the one that works for you. As I said early, they are not all the same and what works for one, might not work for others.
This is the beginning of your journey. It's where you learn about who you are
and what is important to you, aka your values. We did a quick list above to
find out what our values are, but take your time and make a list as long as you
need to. Really brainstorm about things that make you happy. Think about
the times in your life when you really celebrated your accomplishments and
achievements. Who was there? What were you doing? Why were you happy?
What activities give you the most peace and positive feelings?
In my opinion, at least for many, this is probably the hardest part of Personal
Growth because you have to really look in the mirror at the inner you and be
honest with yourself. I mean completely, 100% honest with yourself. Some
people are quick to judge others, but when it comes to admitting to their own
faults, they aren't nearly as honest. On the other hand, there are some who
are too critical of themselves and miss the underlying problem. So be honest
about your thoughts and emotions, actions and reactions, your overall
behaviors. What triggers your negative reactions and emotions? What zaps
your energy? Where do you lack patience and understanding?
While Awareness can be hardest for some, Acceptance is probably the most
important. Accepting that we are not perfect, or likewise not the absolute
worst is difficult. Accept it, but don't make it worse than it is either. In other
words, know that you may have areas that need improvement and
understand that the world is not going to end because you aren't perfect. Be
ok with who you are right now! Accept that you have faults and flaws just like
everyone else. Accepting them doesn't mean you have to change them or
stay the same. It just means you know, understand and appreciate that you
are a human being and that you are who you are.
Now that you know what you want to change about yourself it's time to create
a plan for change. Start by setting a long-term goal. Don't try to jump straight
to that goal in 2 days. It won't happen and your Personal Development
journey will end in disappointment. Once you know where you want to go, you
need to plan baby steps to get there. Small, attainable goals that you can
accomplish relatively quickly. This will create a pattern and with each
successful baby step completed, you will be more encouraged and more
inspired to accomplish the next. If you want to lose weight, then commit to
doing 15 mins of exercise twice per week. When you are ready, take the next
step. Maybe it is cutting out sweets for 2 days a week. Take one step at a time
and celebrate your accomplishments no matter how small they seem.
If you are waiting for your fairy God-Person to appear, wave a magic wand
and suddenly you will be the best person you can possibly be, please, don't
hold your breath. Take responsibility for yourself. If you want change, then
hold yourself accountable for making that change. Make a goal chart or find
a mentor, coach or friend who will check in on your progress. Yes, sometimes,
we get lazy and things fall by the wayside. Don't give up! Take responsibility.
The only one stopping you from being your best is you. So don't make
excuses. Make the commitment and hold yourself to it.
Be patient! If you haven't read my blog about growing a garden, you should.
Change, especially quality changes don't happen over night. It takes time to
develop new habits and se results. Don't worry! I know it can be frustrating to
wait, but I promise if you stay committed, change will happen and you're
worth it! You deserve to be the best version of yourself. Own it! Be proud of
taking steps to be not just a good human, not a great human, but an amazing
human! Believe in yourself! Have faith in yourself! Trust in yourself! Don't give
up! Don't be afraid to reach out for support and encouragement! You got
Like I said, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways for you to move forward into a path of self development and personal growth, but it's up to you to take those steps to want to move forward. To have that desire to want to be who you know you can be. To be fulfilled and live up to your potential.
Morals of the Story:
Know your core values
In what ways does your life not align with your core values?
Make the commitment towards Personal Growth
Find a process that best suits you to begin your journey towards a better you