The vast majority of my success thus far has come from my ability to adapt and change. Over time I have come to realize that at the heart of this ability is a high level of self-awareness. I have always been an introspective person and feel being an introvert has helped to further develop it over time. In my life I’ve received feedback from others, including multiple professional coaches, about the level of self awareness I have and some telling me I have more self awareness than anyone they’ve ever met. Considering they work with many C-suite types, it has started to pique my interest as something I could pass on to others. Being someone who wants to help as many people as possible while I’m alive, I want everyone to prosper from the same self-awareness as I have. This is the first of a three part series that I intend to help move this goal forward.
There’s somewhat of a chicken and egg problem in regards to where one would start. The gist of the problem is that to be effective at making change you need self awareness, so what do we do when self-awareness is not high to start with? It’s the desire to change that will motivate the introspection needed to increase self-awareness.
For now I’ll say that a true desire to change is the first priority. I’m deliberate with the word ‘true’, because if it’s not real it can lead to an inability to see what’s preventing progress. We’ll need to have a deep commitment to make a sustaining change. If we say the desire to make a change is the direction in which you want to travel, then the commitment will be the fuel that gets you there. Continuing with the metaphor, we need to fuel up before we take off. We’ll discuss this further in later posts, but behind this is a theme of “How bad do you want this?”.
On many occasions I’ve met with others who liked the idea of achieving a goal, such as running a 5k, but they lacked the commitment. It’s important to not beat yourself up or cast judgment. Doing so prevents us from learning that the passion is not there and moving on to where it is. You’ll find the commitment when the need to change is standing between you and your passion.
Once we have the direction and fuel sorted out, then comes the journey. This is where the rubber meets the road and there are two types of change that i’ll focus on in this series. The first type of change is one of creating. This may look like learning to cook, running a 5k, etc.. The general theme is we’re trying to do something new. The key with this type is there’s no need to stop, remove, or replace an existing behavior to be successful. The second type of change is more difficult as it requires us to stop and/or replace one behavior or activity with another.
The self-awareness challenge with these two types are different and is I why separate them from each other. The first type focuses on awareness of what hinders time management and the ability to take action. The challenge with the latter type is a need to detect automatic responses and behaviors, pause, and choose a new one. Needless to say, when someone cuts you off in traffic it’s challenging to not react, pause, and then smile and bless them.
There are various strategies used to address these kind of challenges and since we’re all different, there’s no single “right way”. Regardless of the approach, involving others greatly improves the probability of success. Involving others creates accountability that motivates us to stay the course. We also receive feedback that helps us see what we can’t and to know when we’re making progress. While waiting on the next part of the series, take some time to list some changes you’re interested in making. Under each change on your list, add the challenges that prevent you from moving forward. Take some time considering your awareness of these challenges and take note what you’re aware of. What behaviors and motivations are getting in the way? Ask some trusted friends for feedback. What do they observe?
In the next part we’ll dig a little deeper into “How bad do you want it?” theme and start focusing on how to handle the first type of change.
We’re happy to work with you if you’re looking for help, so don’t hesitate to reach out.