February 15th, 2011
On the flip side, only a very small percentage will actually take control, designing the life that is truly desired. So– what is the difference between these two groups of people? What is the trait(s) that the 10% possess that allow them to take control and action?
I believe that for many it’s the realization that things do not happen to them, but rather that they make things happen. And when someone recognizes this, she has taken the first step in the journey of developing self-awareness. She will begin to explore and become aware of what drives her, and what she avoids. Self-awareness can mean many things, and as you continue developing self-awareness, that definition may change depending on where you are in your life.
Self-awareness can be thought of as a journey of understanding more completely what your belief systems are. As such, you are learning about beliefs that empower you and beliefs that prevent you from achieving what you desire. Self-awareness can be about understanding what you value most, and learning about what is most important to you and why it’s important to you.
There are also sets of rules for how you live your life. These rules can be thought of as an internal compass– there are things that you will and will not do. Things that you will or will not allow. Whether you are consciously aware of these things or not, these beliefs, rules and values determine every action that you take. As you progress on this journey of developing self-awareness, you will find that it is like peeling layers off of an onion. Each layer that you peel off will reveal more of who you truly are. And as that happens, you may find that you develop a deeper connection with yourself and with other people.
Developing self-awareness is a very spiritual journey. It connects you to yourself, to your family, to your community, to the world. My journey of developing self-awareness began when I found myself in a place that I didn’t like. My life had become a mess and was nothing like what I envisioned for myself while growing up. I realized that where I was at that particular moment was the product of the all of the decisions and choices I had made up to that point.
At that point in my life, most of my decisions were based on trying to avoid things: the truth, responsibility, even avoiding looking at myself because I didn’t like what I saw. And this led me to a place of total “inauthenticity” where I had no connection to myself, or to anyone else. I was running on a self-destructive “auto-pilot” and had no idea why I was having such a miserable life.
Developing self-awareness puts you back in the driver’s seat. In this position, you get to decide where it is you are going, and you have more control of your life and your circumstances. You are taking ownership of your destiny–creating and owning it.
To do this takes a lot of honesty, open mindedness and willingness. At times, it’s not an easy journey, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
So, I invite you to embark on this journey of self-awareness. As Coach, I will do my best to give you ideas, spark your thought process, and even build a community around you. This community will be one of unconditional support, offering ideas and feedback while helping you find ways to become even more self-aware, and ultimately discovering ways to make the choices that help you become the person you desire to be.
So, where to begin?!? Simply grab a pen and a paper, or turn on your computer, and take a moment to just capture what some of your beliefs are, just on the surface level, that first layer of the onion. Some questions to consider…
- What do you believe about yourself?
- What beliefs about yourself do you have that empower you or dis-empower you? i.e.) You are good at X; you are not good at Y.
- What are your beliefs about other people? “People are…” and then fill in the blank. People are… good, compassionate, untrustworthy, greedy? What is it that you honestly believe about other people?
- What are your beliefs on a global level… The world is messed up? The world is a great place? The world is in trouble? The world is on a new course? Your choice. Ask yourself… 1) What’s important in your life? Family? Friends? Finances? Health? Power? Fame? 2) Why is that (those) important to you?
And now the tougher questions are…
- Who do you desire to be?
- How do you need to begin living, right now… to become that person?
Record these answers because over the following weeks I’ll offer ideas to help you discover answers to these questions and more. Welcome to your journey of developing self-awareness!
* image courtesy of h.koppdelaney / creative commons