Personal Mastery Year in Review – 2014

images-1First off I want to thank you for following my blog! I am grateful for your feedback and willingness to listen to my musings around the concepts of personal mastery. This will be my final post for 2014 so I thought it would be fitting to take a snap shot of what I’ve written to help reinforce and deepen our understanding and hopefully our learning!

keep-calm-and-begin-with-the-end-in-mind-6We Begun With the End in Mind – We used Dr. Stephen Covey’s Habit 2 to envision ourselves at our own funeral. (A wee bit of a morbid start to a blog but what better way to kick start some real change in our lives! 🙂 ) What did our family and friends say about us? What were our accomplishments and contributions? If we didn’t like what we envisioned now is the time to make changes – heck while we’re still alive and kicking! We also reviewed our personal values and wrote a purpose statement. If your purpose statement isn’t feeling right…maybe it’s time to tweak it. I tweak mine every January to make sure that it still provides me intrinsic motivation.

images-1We experienced the Power of Forgiveness – Forgiveness doesn’t justify the hurt or remove another person’s wrong doing but it allows us to come to terms with it so we can get on with our lives. Forgiveness is about changing our life, so we may heal and have more peace and happiness. We are only human and we’ve made mistakes; we need to also forgive ourselves! There is a growing body of research regarding forgiveness that when we can forgive we are happier, more empathetic, and hopeful. When we make a habit to forgive we are more likely to have higher self-esteem, more friends, longer marriages, and fewer stress-related health issues.

personality_traits_list_personalityWe got to Know Our Personality – knowing ourselves is how the Personal Mastery journey begins. We took a short Myers/Briggs assessment that gave us an acronym to help clarify our personality. This is very important because our personality is part of our “why.” When we understand our why, we can be more authentic and happier. Knowing our personality helps us to comprehend our deep-seated thoughts and unconscious processes. When we know this information, we can understand how we show up to others, how we interact, parent, work, and love. WOW!

limiting-beliefs-211x300We reviewed Limiting Beliefs – All of us have battled limiting beliefs in our lives, some have threatened to derail our personal or professional success. These beliefs typically start in our youth and sometimes as we age remain with us and cause us heartache and/or fear. It is important to understand what those beliefs are so that we can assess the deep-seated perspectives that are limiting our potential. “The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.”William James

images-2We Discovered Our Strengths – Society doesn’t teach us to focus on our unique and individual strengths. Instead it tells us to work hard on our weaknesses so we can turn them into strengths. No longer will we spend our energies in repairing flaws that others have determined; we will focus instead on our natural strengths. Using Gallup’s StrengthsFinder we can understand our top five signature strengths and put a plan of action to lean on our strengths for our sustained success. “If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow in their capabilities.”Author unknown. 

images-2We recognized the power of Loving Ourselves – When we love ourselves we can express ourselves completely to others and enjoy being who we truly are. To love ourselves we need to stop judging so that we can secure a more positive sense of who we are. In other words, we need to practice self-acceptance. To become more self-accepting we need to remind ourselves repeatedly, and with ever increasing conviction, that given all of our biased beliefs of ourselves, we’ve done the best we possibly could so far. Self-acceptance and happiness go hand in hand. In fact our level of self-acceptance determines our level of happiness! The more self-acceptance we have, the more happiness we’ll allow ourselves to accept, receive, and enjoy. Self love, self respect, self worth…there is a reason they all start with “self.” You cannot find self in anyone else.

positive-thinkingWe learned the importance of Positive Thinking and WOOP! – By using mental contrasting we can focus on our dreams by visualizing and putting plans in place to identify and understand the root of as well as overcome obstacles that stand in the way of successfully reaching our goals. By using the acronym WOOP we can put plans into place to Wish (identify specifically our wish, dream, or goal), Outcome (picture the best outcome of obtaining our wish/dream/goal), Obstacle (understand what’s in the way of achieving the wish/dream/goal), Plan (using the “if this then that” method to identify obstacles and then create the actions and/or the behaviors needed to overcome them.) “It isn’t enough to sit and dream; we have to take action and make sacrifices. Our dreams may be realizable, but they come down to challenges that require engagement and action.” – Gabriele Oettingen.

images-1We Got it Done through Self Discipline – Successful people are successful because they are disciplined in their actions, thoughts, and words. It isn’t just about having willpower and self-control, its about tackling the wants over needs constant message in our heads. We make difficult choices sometimes when our goals are about to get railroaded, we need to have a long-term over short-term focus. Remember….The price of discipline is always less than the price of regret. Self-discipline is the number one component that creates long-term success. It is also a required ingredient to accomplish any goal.

imagesWe learned about Goals and how to set them. Goals provide focus by creating a vision to what we really want; by envisioning our ideal future, goal setting can help turn that vision into reality. Goals provide the measuring stick to know when we’ve achieved success; they help us to choose what we want in life, where we would like to be in a given time period, and they set the road map on how to get there. Establishing and working towards goals gives us a sense of meaning and clear direction, the benefit to goal achievement is that we control the direction of change in our life not others. “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau

imagesWe touched on the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – There is scientific data that demonstrates EQ is more important than IQ when achieving success; EQ is the primary determinant of the quality of our personal and professional relationships. The good news is that unlike IQ, EQ can be learned and enhanced. We can even make radical changes to our emotional reactions and to our lives when we understand what drives our emotional intelligence. We can unlearn ineffective emotional responses and introduce new more effective ways of filtering data received during our interactions with others.

imagesWe chose to be Response-able and Proactive – Being response-able is taking proactive responsibility for our lives. When we are response-able, we choose our responses to situations rather than letting situations overwhelm us. We have the opportunity to do things differently if we choose. Being proactive is a way of thinking and acting. It includes foresight and anticipation of “what if scenarios.” Proactivity uses the lessons of the past to identify the obstacles of the future – when challenges appear, proactive individuals take the bull by the horns and put a plan of action together so a challenge doesn’t become a brick wall roadblock.

images-1Finally we learned about the power of Channel 2 Listening – When we actively listen we engage our brain to connect with others. We obtain a deeper understanding of their views, values, thoughts, and dreams – we tap into our senses and feel, see, smell, and taste what the other person is sharing. Channel 2 listening is the ability to consciously be aware of our own bias’ and judgments, to be present, and to mentally remove distractions around us. Channel 2 listening it is maintaining eye contact, keeping an open mind, and not jumping to conclusions as someone is talking. It is also the ability to maintain a curious mindset so our questions can continue dialogue to understand what the other person is intending to convey.

As we conclude this year, I’m looking forward to the next 52 weeks of personal mastery blog posts. It is my hope that you will continue along this journey with me, by sharing your thoughts and ideas as well. I wish you all well!

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Love Yourself!

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We’ve all heard the statement: You cannot be loved by another without first loving yourself. To quote the infamous words of Tina Fey….What the what?

Is it really important to focus on loving myself? Yes. In fact it can mean a healthier and longer life. For me loving yourself means that you can express yourself completely to others, you can speak your mind freely, and you enjoy being who you truly are.

To love ourselves we need to stop judging ourselves so that we can secure a more positive sense of who we are. In other words, we need to practice self-acceptance. To become more self-accepting we need to remind ourselves repeatedly, and with ever increasing conviction, that given all of our biased beliefs of ourselves, we’ve done the best we possibly could.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Oscar Wilde

We need to realize that most of us have moved through life with an obligation to demonstrate our worth to others. It is time to ask yourself (specifically) what is it that you don’t accept about you? As agents of our own healing we need to use self-compassion and understanding to each of those aspects of self-rejection or denial. Doing this helps us dissolve incorrect feelings based off of standards that don’t mirror what could realistically be expected of us in childhood.

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Self-acceptance isn’t about fixing those identified aspects; we are merely non-judgmentally affirming them. We don’t have to do anything to have self-acceptance we need to only change the way we look at ourselves. Forgive yourself for your faults and relinquish the need for approval by others and remember that we are human and we are imperfect!

Accepting ourselves for who we are today doesn’t mean that we are not motivated to make changes that will enrich our lives. Here lies the connection with loving yourself and personal mastery.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou

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In Robert Holden’s book titled: Happiness Now! He shares with us that “happiness and self-acceptance go hand in hand. In fact, your level of self-acceptance determines your level of happiness. The more self-acceptance you have, the more happiness you’ll allow yourself to accept, receive, and enjoy. In other words, you enjoy as much happiness as you believe you’re worthy of.” Cultivating self-acceptance requires that we become more self-compassionate. To adopt a more loving stance internally the prerequisite is self-acceptance.

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Here are ten ways in which you can love yourself right now:

  1. Celebrate Rather Than Demonize Your Past. Don’t forget everything that has happened to you has made you the person you are today.
  2. Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes. You are human and mistakes help us grow. Forgive yourself, treat the mistake as a learning opportunity and move forward.
  3. Shift Your Mindset. After forgiveness, use self-acceptance to have a more positive outlook on life. Focus on your greatness and your strengths.
  4. Work on your Passion. We are all passionate about something. Focus on and spend as much time as you can with the things that make you happy – this is one of the easiest and most positive ways to learn to love yourself.
  5. Be Present And Enjoy The Moment. We forget all too often to enjoy each moment, enjoy the here and now. Our minds are always racing with what’s next. I need to work on that project for my boss, I have to pick up bread and milk at the store on my lunch hour, I need to take Jimmy to soccer practice, etc..you get the picture. While we move through our day, take a moment to enjoy the present. Listen to the birds singing, marvel at the clouds in the sky, enjoy that fresh pot of coffee smell that your co-worker just made, and the infectious laughter of a stranger. As Mark Twain wrote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” This topic of being present and enjoying each moment could be a blog post all in own! Heck, maybe it will! 🙂
  6. Be Your Number One Fan. It is okay to admit that you are good at something and that you accomplished something you thought you couldn’t. Remind yourself that you are unique, you have much to give the world and yes, YOU ARE AWESOME!
  7. Listen To Your Gut. To love yourself you need to believe in and trust yourself. Recognize that your thoughts and ideas are valid. You may not always want to act on them but always listen to them.
  8. Care As Much About Yourself As You Do Others. Sounds simple, but this is one area that we all struggle. We think we are being selfish when we focus on our own needs but if we don’t care for ourselves than how can we care for others? Treat yourself with the same amount of compassion you give your spouse, children and best friend. “The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.” Sonya Friedman.
  9. Follow The ABC’s Of Loving Yourself. Here is a great site called positively present that provides great ideas on loving yourself. I highly recommend following the link for more thoughts on how to love yourself!
  10. Appreciate Your Life So Far. We all have goals and things we want to change but don’t forget about the things we want to remain the same. Appreciate all that you have and all that you’ve done in your life – it is one the best ways to remember that you are lucky to be you!

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“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” –Buddha