Often if you utter the words “Personal growth” or “Personal development” in the wrong group you are met with rolling eyes and groans of boredom. I know this because I’ve been there. I’ve been the one groaning and rolling my eyes. And I’ve been the one growing. But I’ll let you in on a little secret:
We are all on a journey of personal growth or development ALL the time. Sometimes it’s just more overt or subtle; more intentional or unexpected. But it IS happening. To you. Right. Now. And I’m coming along for the ride!
In the last few months of last year I was juggling being a mum, a chiropractor, a friend, a volunteer secretary, a house cleaner, a digital marketer and it all got a bit overwhelming. For me it lead to a conscious decision to slow down and un-commit and to look internally to work out where my priorities laid and what sparked my passion. This isn’t the first time I’ve consciously chosen to soul-search but it is the first time I’ve wanted to share why I chose to do it and the journey that is has me continuing on. If nothing else it might just prompt you to rethink your ideas on personal growth and development. So this year I’m still juggling these things, but my energy around each item is different and more focused and I’m not feeling on the verge of imploding. All. The. Time.
One thing that I learnt was that I was essentially wearing a pair of invisible glasses. I’ll bet you have a pair somewhere too that you put on from time to time. These glasses determine how we view our reality and often the way we react to it. These glasses come together from our past experiences, our social influences and our internal compass. I was wearing mine almost constantly at the end of last year. I was wearing glasses that made my reality one of “My work is undervalued”, “No one notices how much cleaning I have to do”, “I’m the only one that has to wake up every night to tend kids”, “I don’t have enough time for this” and the old “I’m not good enough”. And that had me living from a very reactive standpoint. Rather than taking time to process and then choosing how I wanted to respond, I was on autopilot and reacting with little or no conscious thought at all. As the old saying goes, you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond. And THAT makes all the difference.
When you are deep in a situation it’s really hard to get your old glasses off and realise that often you aren’t there alone. Typically it takes something out of the ordinary to knock those glasses off, be it a health crises, a sudden change in circumstance, an awakening of some kind, or even the right line in a book you happen to be reading. To take your glasses off without any prompting is actually near impossible unless you know just why and how to really find what it is you truly want to see in your life. Is it more time you want? To feel more loved? To give more love? To be stronger physically? To have a lower blood pressure? To have 5 minutes to yourself every day?
The first step on any journey is to work out a destination. How many of you have booked a holiday overseas? Or even to the South Island? The first step is always choosing your destination, be it Melbourne or Christchurch. But that decision alone doesn’t get you there. You have to work out travel plans. Will you drive? Fly? Bus? Who is coming along on this holiday? Is it a solo journey or are you taking friends and family? What will you eat on the way? Where will you stay? What’s your daily budget? How long are you going for? There are plenty of plans to be made. It’s the same way with these internal journeys.
The best advice I was given was to work out my why. Why did I want what I thought I wanted? It can be a darn hard thing to figure out! Saying “I want to weigh 65kgs” is easy. But why? Because it looks good? Because it feels good? Because it was the weight I was when I was my fittest and strongest self? So the first step I challenge you to this week is to work out your why. Sit with your goals. Write down what you want, be it a weight goal, a health goal, a social, financial or spiritual goal. Write them down. Then work out your why’s.
This is the next step in our 2017 journey through physical, chemical and mental/emotional wellbeing, because if there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that the visible change won’t come if the mental change doesn’t come first. Each week this month I will be posting another blog to help you clarify your mind before we launch into the physical and chemical.
Let’s go a journey together and leave our invisible glasses at home!