I put off, for a number of years, beginning this journey.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of having to get to know myself.
Because, before I was ready to help others, first I had to heal and take care of myself.
Eventually I hit a rock bottom – and then I discovered that there is still a rock bottom within that rock bottom. After that, you really can’t go any lower!
And that was the rock bottom of failing to take care of myself – ignoring my own cries for help and trying to simply “push through it”. Exhausted and burnt out — I finally stopped:
- trying to live up to other people’s expectations
- pleasing other people at my own expense
- debasing myself
- feeling sorry for myself
- believing I wasn’t enough or wasn’t worthy
- thinking I could “hold it all together” if I would just try a little harder
- feeling like it was all my fault
- walking on eggshells in my own home and life
- dreading getting up each day
- feeling exhausted each morning
What do you really know?
Most of the tools that I have and use today, I already “knew” then – as in head knowledge. But like most people who read self-help books and doing courses, I was busy doing one course after another – reading one book after another – and spending no time changing my behaviour!
“You didn’t learn something if you can’t produce a new outcome. That’s all learning is — the ability to produce an outcome.” — Dan Sullivan
I was not producing the result that I wanted.
I had not learnt a new way of thinking, a new way of acting or a new way of being.
It was simply academic knowledge – much like I had gained in order to graduate from law school.
There are some things I had learned and applied (which I still use today):
- Time management tips that I had implemented into my life
- Eisenhower’s matrix which I used regularly to decide what to work on (while failing to prioritise self-care)
- Delegation techniques & tools
- Some journalling & affirmations
There are many things that I changed and implemented along the way – but I had much more “head knowledge” than heart knowledge.
Eventually, I learned (the hard way) to change my ways.
I learned to reach out and ask for help and to graciously accept it.
I started to live my knowledge instead of simply learning it.
I made space for self-care — I rested.
I gave my permission to have naps every afternoon while I was still exhausted.
I forgave and released.
I took time to identify my values.
I set goals and allowed myself permission to dream big dreams.
I started to use my values in my decision making.
I made space for breathing and meditation – entering Silence and sitting in Silence.
I identified my passions and purpose – prepared my vision board and set a course for my journey.
Even now, I have to fight against the urge to “do another course” the moment that I finish one, before fulling integrating that knowledge into my way of being! I quite like the applicable of the A3 analysis (a management process) to the learning process: alignment, assimilation and application.
- alignment – what do I plan to learn? How do I expect my behaviour to change? What results do I expect to achieve from this learning? And how will these new results contribute to achieving my goals?
- assimilation – hopefully I have chosen a learning process which builds on my existing skills and knowledge. This will allow me to apply what I already know, assimilating relevant skills and knowledge that you decide to focus on and practice during the learning experience
- application – this is the step that most of us forget. Unfortunately, it’s probably the most important step. Applying what you have learned is where 80 percent of the learning takes place! And it took me a long time to learn that this step was the most important one. Apply what you have learnt consistently with commitment in your life. Learn the new habit.
So, I ask you: Are you producing new results? Are they the results that you expected to learn from this change?
- Some of us are so busy learning, that we are failing to do and create.
- Others are so busy doing that we are failing to learn, plan and grow.
Ideally, we find a place of balance, where we are learning, planning, growing, doing and creating.
Where will your journey take you?
What is your intended destination?
How do you begin a journey?
For starters – it’s usually best to begin a journey with a destination in mind. A map comes in handy, to know which road to take.
And then there is preparation for the journey:
- making sure you have the right supplies or the supply chain
- foreseeing the obstacles and making provision for them
- preparing yourself physically & mentally
- packing what needs to be carried for the journey.
At some stage, you stop preparation and planning, and you have to actually begin the journey itself.
At a time.
In the direction that the map indicates, of course.
Hopefully you have remembered to bring a compass – so that you can regularly check that you are continuing to travel in the right direction.
Getting a guide
Of course, an even better way to make the journey would be to have a guide – someone who knows the route well. That has travelled that way before, knows the terrain and the obstacles and can assist you in avoiding the pitfalls. They can suggest what you might want to pack, they can discuss with you the obstacles that will be on the way that you need to prepare for. They know the map and the terrain, and they always carry a compass.
The same way that athletes get a coach to prepare and train them for sports, it’s possible to prepare for life, challenges and changes of direction. It’s possible to get a guide to help you on a new journey.
But how you decide to embark on the journey of learning – alignment, assimilation and application – that will be up to you.
But it is always possible to ask for help from someone that has already travelled that road before and knows it well. The potholes might be different – but the road will not have changed much.