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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WOOP! There it is!

positive-thinking

Another practice of Personal Mastery is to maintain a positive mindset. With this mindset we can see the best in others and ourselves. For me, I use a positive mindset as a filter to direct my thoughts, actions, and behaviors toward a positive and productive end result.

I have always believed in the importance of remaining positive, no matter what life has thrown at me. But I’d like to be clear, being positive is not about being fake or phony. It’s not about interacting and behaving one way with one group of people and another way with the next. Being positive is having hope and faith about the present as well as the future. It’s about looking for learning opportunities in failures, it’s about being centered with who I am, it’s about being a change advocate, and it’s about taking positive action with my life.

Happy flowersFor those who struggle with staying positive I have shared with them a few of my daily practices to maintain a positive mindset.

  • Don’t watch national news! Read what you need to stay up on current events.
  • Exercise regularly – 30 minutes a day is best.
  • Smile! It actually releases dopamine in your brain.
  • Have a good belly laugh at least daily – it helps to have someone in your life that can give you a daily dose of comedy. I’m extra lucky because for me it’s my husband. 🙂
  • Get enough sleep each day.
  • Practice gratitude – we don’t do this nearly enough in our hustle bustle lives.
  • Speak positively of others and yourself.
  • Continue to learn and grow. Life is not a destination…it’s a journey!

I’m currently reading a book titled: Rethinking Positive Thinking – Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen. She wants to clarify that it’s not just about having a positive mindset, it’s about taking wishful thinking through a process and creating the steps that will help you reach your dream. She states her steps can help to make you happier and healthier, lead to stronger personal and professional relationships, and even improve your performance at work. Cool! Sign me up for that!

Oettingen introduces the idea of mental contrasting. Mental contrasting is a way to focus on your dreams by visualizing and putting plans in place to identify, understand the root of and to eliminate the obstacles that stand in the way of successfully reaching goals and thus obtain your dream.

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I bet you are wondering why I titled this post WOOP There it is! It’s because in Oettingen’s book she uses an acronym called WOOP which stands for:

Wish – identify specifically your wish or dream

Outcome – picture the best outcome of obtaining your wish

Obstacle – understand deeply what’s in the way of achieving the wish

Plan – using the “if this then that” method to identify obstacles and then create the action and/or behaviors to overcome the obstacle.

I Wish

“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.

What I appreciate is her approach, it can help many people get from dreaming to doing. She shows how to punch through the obstacles and put actionable plans into place to overcome the reasons we have not taken action on our dream.

“There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.” – Ralph Marston.

Zig Zig Quote about Obstacles