I don’t have kids, and if I did, I would teach them to listen to their toes . . .
Sounds strange? Maybe.
It would be the usual say a prayer of thanks at bedtime, send kind thoughts to others, and most importantly, check-in with your inside voice – what is it telling you? Where do you hear it? Your heart, your gut, your toes, your elbows? Every chance I get I would remind them that there is a sea of information to explore, through a quiet inner voice, through their feelings and all the ways each part of their bodies might be sending messages.
I would do anything to strengthen their relationship with their inner resource. To actively keep them connected to themselves.
Why? Because living in the experience of constant awareness of that truth within ourselves means we get to live in any time, any country, any planet and very importantly, thrive through varying circumstances we may find ourselves in. We would be solid!
We are born with a knowing, a resource that we hardly use.
We shape who we are by ideologies, theories and philosophies of varying traditions without considering our individual truth.
We steer so far away from our core as we grow older, modelling ourselves on external resources – the family resource, friends resource, idols resource, schools resource, partners resource, religion, careers, public figures, books … any other (albeit wonderful) resource but our own.
“I want to be like______ when I grow up!”
We stop exploring who we are. We adapt. We follow.
We look for truths in books and experiences and people, discounting the source of truth that lives within us. We lose the connection to ourselves.
Why does all this matter?
I’ll let Nelson Mandela explain: “In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education. These are, of course, important in measuring one’s success in material matters…but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being. Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others – qualities which are within easy reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life. Development in matters of this nature is inconceivable without serious introspection, without knowing yourself.”
The conscious knowing of ourselves, in other words, self-awareness, is a powerful skill very few are actively developing. We become self-aware through curiosity and introspection of one’s inner world. It is not easy. But it is fruitful.
Self-awareness makes us proactive, builds confidence, leads to clarity and better decision-making. Self-awareness allows us to understand the impact we have on the people around us, and to see things from their perspectives. Self-awareness creates solid teams, removes blind spots and roadblocks and it moves projects along.
Without self-awareness, our thoughts can wreak havoc on our confidence, self-esteem and progress. Without self-awareness, we are easily susceptible to outside influence. Without self-awareness, we are constantly comparing our successes to others.
We’ve got to be able to easily answer this question: Who am I when no one is around?
When I was much younger I read the line “If you don’t go within, you go without,” and there has been no turning back for me. Everything I come up against externally is benchmarked against what is inside (all of) me first. The older I get and the more I go in, the stronger I become, the better decisions I make that are aligned with who I am. I am not born strong, I build my strength with every courageous and painfully hard-look I take at myself.
I am telling you this because people tend to assume I must have something people don’t. And it’s not true. What I have is a commitment to actively explore my being. I am inspired by myself as much as I am inspired by the many people who have positively affected my life. And . . . I have coaches!
When I want to explore an area I’m stuck in, or an idea, I go to one of my coaches — to hear myself.
If you want to actively lead your life, including your career, if you want to contribute the best of yourself to your team, let’s talk. You are someone who wants optimal all-around performance. You want to know that you are making the best decisions that lead to a fulfilling career and meaningful life — you basically want to raise the bar. And I can help you do exactly that.
Write me at email@example.com and we’ll set up a free coaching session.