Are You in Your Right Mind?

Personal Development for Career Professionals

No, I’m not asking if you’re insane, I’m asking about your thought life. Our thoughts govern our emotions, and our emotions govern our actions. So, our thought life ultimately affects our whole life.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”, Proverbs 23:7

Did you know that the brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality? Observe what is happening in your body the next time you are afraid, or really worried about something. It’s almost as if the thing is actually happening to you. I used to panic about my family members dying. My heart would race, my breathing rate would increase, and I would cry, just as if they were really dying in front of me.

On the flip side, this is why athletes spend a lot of time imagining themselves winning. When an athlete imagines themselves winning, the same chemical processes are going on in their brain as if they were actually winning. This builds the athlete’s belief in themselves and their ability to win, and thus affects their emotions, and physical exertion.

One of the greatest enemies of self-belief and positive self-esteem is comparing ourselves to others. I experienced this in my business. I would constantly be comparing myself to others – how much they were selling, and how much money they were making. I would become miserable, as I was not matching them, as I thought I should be. I would begin to doubt my abilities, and would lose any motivation I had to do anything to build my business, as I felt that there was no point. Thus, my business would not grow.

Earl Nightingale says that we are all created uniquely, with unique talents and abilities, and that we therefore should not compare our journey to that of others, as it is unique to us. This has been such a revelation to me, and has released me to concentrate only on what I am doing, rather than looking at what others are doing and making a pointless comparison.
What do you think about yourself? Do you believe that you deserve the good things that happen to you? Do you really believe deep down that you deserve success? Do you believe that your dreams could come true?

I will cover how to build self-belief in my next post.

Would You Like to Increase Your Self-Awareness?

Personal Development for Career Professionals

Many of us go through our lives having no idea why we do what we do, or why we feel how we feel. Life just happens to us, and we react to it.

James Russel Lowel says: “no one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself”.

I know I used this quote in my previous post, but I think it applies to self-awareness as much as to self-discovery. another great thing about personal growth is that it leads to self-awareness. While self-awareness often increases early on in the personal growth journey, it continues to increase throughout the journey as, the more we become self-aware, the deeper we look into ourselves, and the more aware we become.

In striving to improve and grow, I am becoming more aware of the things that nourish me and the things that do not. For example, I am nourished by spending time in prayer and worship, talking to positive, motivated people, reading books about people who inspire me, and getting enough good quality sleep. I have learned to avoid watching most of the news, spending time with negative people, and paying attention to the doubts and negative thoughts I have when I stay up too late at night, as these lower my mood and inhibit my growth.

I’ve also become more curious about why my mind works in the way it does. It’s almost like having an inner coach who questions me on why I feel the way I do about certain things, and whether that negative thought I’ve just had is really true, or whether it is just a product of a temporary mood swing, or an incorrect assumption I’ve made about my potential. The self-awareness isn’t restricted to my mind either. I’ve started to question myself about how I use my time, how I learn, how I motivate myself, and why I interact with others the way I do.

To give a practical life example, When I was learning to use my cane, after the retirement of my previous guide dog (more about that in a future post), I had to learn some exercise walks I could practice on. In the past, I would have just learned block walks, and would have stopped doing them over time. However, on reflection, I admitted to my instructor that I wasn’t particularly interested in walking just for the pure sake of it, and would probably not keep it up over time unless I had some serious motivation. I decided that all my exercise walks would either start or finish at one of the local takeaways. That way, I would always have the motivation of food to get me to go for a walk. This has been a success. I have been walking 4-5 days a week,now since December 2015, and continue to use these walks with my new guide dog.

How aware are you of what’s going on in your head? How aware are you of the impact that your environment and the people you spend time with have on you? Do you know what nourishes you and what brings you down?

Are You Living Out Your Life’s Purpose?

Personal Development for Career Professionals

John C Maxwell believes that the two most important days in our lives are the day we are born, and the day we discover why. This really is true. I discovered last year that my life’s purpose is to encourage others to grow. And recently, while listening to some personal growth material, I was able to refine this purpose further to the one that I wrote about in my first post i.e. to help people grow into who they need to be to live out their dreams.

It is this purpose that gets me up each morning, as I can’t wait to learn more myself so that I can help others to do the same. Even writing about it now excites me!

Many of us go through our lives making certain assumptions about ourselves and what is important to us. But if we scratch the surface, we can sometimes find that these assumptions may be misguided, and what we thought was important really isn’t.

James Russel Lowel says: “no one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself”.

One of my favourite things about personal growth is that it leads to self-discovery. While this is often one of the first steps in the personal growth journey, this process continues throughout the journey as, the more we discover about ourselves, the deeper we look into ourselves, and the more we discover. During this process, we can discover many things, including what is going right in our personal and professional lives, and what is not, what our strengths and weaknesses really are, and what we really want to do with our lives.

Have you ever taken the time to sit down and really examine your life as it is now? What is working and what isn’t? What makes you really happy, and what drives you? Are you doing what you love, and do you love what you do? If you haven’t done this recently, I encourage you to do so ASAP!

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

Come With Me On A Journey

Personal Development for Career Professionals

I thought, that before I started posting on various aspects of personal growth, I’d briefly outline how I started on my personal growth journey, and where I am today.

When I first started on my personal growth journey, I had no idea what personal growth was, and that it would turn into a lifelong journey. I was being bullied at work, and attended a course on emotional intelligence, because it sounded interesting, and because it meant a day out of the office away from my bullying supervisor.

The woman who was running the course turned out to be a life coach and organisational psychologist. I really liked her, and thought that she may be able to help me find ways to cope with the bullying at work. So, I made an appointment to see her, and that was the beginning of my personal growth journey. The coaching sessions gave me the courage to tell my supervisor, to her face, that her management style was “making me ill”, that I was applying for another job, and that until I got that job, I wanted to work in another section. The sessions also helped me to discover that the most important thing for me in a job was to feel valued. Up until the day I left Government employment, I made sure that every supervisor knew from day 1 that if ever I didn’t feel valued, I would leave.

The next step in my personal growth journey came when I attended a course run by the Institute of Self-Actualisation. In this course I learned, among other things, to be aware of my thoughts, and that those thoughts didn’t necessarily equal reality. I built on this learning much later in courses run by Landmark, where I learned about mindfulness, and that life could be a series of possibilities.

The next step in my personal growth journey occurred when the Government Agency for which I was working at the time was downsized, and I chose to take a package. This forced me to look very hard at what I really wanted to do with my life, and it was then that I decided to start up my own network marketing business. I had watched other people run their own businesses, and secretly hoped that I could do the same one day. However I hadn’t before this, as I thought that my Government job was the safest option for me, and that I would work for the Government for the rest of my life.

Part of the training that I received as a new business owner was leadership training, using material from a number of books by John C Maxwell. This material had such a profound effect on my life that I eventually decided to join the John Maxwell Team (JMT), and become a certified John C Maxwell speaker, teacher, trainer and coach, so that I could share what I was learning with others.

It was then that my personal growth journey really took off! Before joining the JMT, all my growth had had occurred purely in response to things that were happening to me. However, after joining the JMT, my growth became highly intentional, and very focused. It wasn’t just about learning theories, it was about applying them to my life, and learning how to help others apply them to their lives.

I have discovered my true purpose in life, which is to help others grow to be the best they can be. I am doing what I am meant to do, and am happier now that I think I have ever been.

Are you truly happy doing what you are doing now? Are you doing what you were put on this earth to do?

If any of my story has resonated with you, please let me know in the comments. If you would like more information on how to start, or continue, on your personal growth journey, please let me know in the comments or via the contact form.