I don’t have a bathroom mirror or any mirror, for that matter. When I wake up, I grab my electric shaver and mow the lower half of my face, until it “feels smooth enough”. My hair, on the other hand, has a personality of its own. I call the sheepish shrub above my forehead “Dennis” (although he likes to be referred to as “The Master”.)
If I had bothered doing anything to Dennis, the process would resemble a man wrestling a live octopus into a soda-can precariously balanced on his head. So I leave him to rule at his own accord. How do I cope in public without mirrors and basic grooming? Well, throughout the day, everyone else simply adjusts & pulls me into order; sticking combs into my hair, fixing my collar and wiping my face as needed. By the end of the day, I probably look pretty much like most of you after your morning-routine.
This story is obviously far-fetched (except for Master Dennis – he’s real). After all, I live in the technological age, where even the average teenage girl has more images of herself, from more angels, through more filters, than the most famous historical figures! Pharao, Cesar, Cleopatra and Napoleon put together, don’t have as many images of them as Jennie from next-door. Ironically, though, very few of us are willing and able to face ourselves – our souls – in the mirror.
To loose weight, you need to step on the scale. To get into shape, you need to squeeze into some gym-clothes. As tough as these first appearances are, it’s the only accurate way to draw up a plan of where you want to go. It can be hard – even painful – to face yourself in the mirror. In fact, we prefer following the opinions of others, and have our souls shaped by them. It’s easier than facing the music and making the choices to become the people we want to be.
If we could only train people on one single thing, it would be self-awareness. Without it, all the other training material, tips, tricks, content, and pearls of wisdom, mean nothing. Without it, you’re essentially building a rocket-ship, blindfolded, in the dark.
So, how do we brave it and pursue positive change? Here are 5 key ingredients:
1) A Spine
Growing up is tough. Being grown up, and choosing to continue changing for the better, is even tougher. How many times have you heard (or said) this:
- “How do I keep ending up here again and again?”
- “I knew I shouldn’t have, and yet…”
- “It’s not like I don’t know what to do, it’s just…”
- “I can’t believe I let them do this to me again!”
- “I just went into auto-pilot mode, and then…”
It’s not that we don’t have spines : every human has been adequately fashioned with one even before we could walk. It’s just that we don’t use them that often to make those tough, better life-choices.
2) A Team
This helps. No, wait – this is essential for anyone who is serious about making positive change. You don’t have to be a member of the AA to validate a support-group: becoming an entrepreneur, making more money; losing 10kg; all these challenges are significantly easier if you join a group with a shared cause. Not only will you learn from others, but you’ll broaden your social engagement, and become a richer, more fulfilled human being.
3) A Mentor / Guide
Depending on the area you want to pursue renewal or renovation in, it is helpful to find a mentor, or someone who has gone there before. If you just want to pursue general self-awareness and discover where you might need to make changes, a life-coach, counselor or psychologist could be helpful. If you are pursuing a more specific avenue, such as fitness or another skill, find an expert in the appropriate field. Make contact with us, if you don’t know where to go.
4) Some muscle
Needless to say, after facing your soul in the mirror, some action will be required. (Unless, of course, you’re completely happy with what you see, which probably just means you haven’t switched the lights on.) Don’t stress, though – with your mentor, your team and some courage, you’ll be able to tackle project “renovate my soul”.
5) A Plan
When asked about our 6-month or 1-year plan, more often than not, we fumble non-specifics such as “I want to be kinder”; “I’d like to live in a better place”; “I want to be more independent.” or “I want to have a fulfilling job.”
If you don’t define vague ideas into actual measurable goals, you won’t achieve them. In business, we determine success by measurable outcomes, but – somehow – in our personal lives, we tend to change the rules and talk in abstractions and ‘stuff’. This is why, five years later, we’re still stuck with the same abstractions and ‘stuff’.
Facing yourself is not easy. We get it.
Making a change, is even harder. We get that, too.
However, it’s not nearly as terrible as the
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