The greatest gift; investing in ourselves

Posted on 24/06/18 at 09:59 AM

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to cultivate a better understanding of what drives us; how to increase our resilience; and how to face the challenges of every day life.

It has been 18 months since I escaped corporate life to follow my true passion and purpose; to help individuals grow beyond their own expectations and help organisations transform, culturally. I thought I understood myself perfectly well before I left corporate life and especially when I wrote my first book. The Authenticity Dilemma Resolved ® is about being true to our inner selves and our unique purpose in leadership, being more conscious about ourselves and more deeply connected to other people. In time, while transitioning to the life of an entrepreneur, I recognised there was so much more for me to learn about myself and to experience; especially about resilience and feeling vulnerable.

In the period that I now term ‘after corporate life’ and looking back, I conclude that we need to be our own greatest supporters and find our own inner resilience mechanisms if we are to survive the challenges of the new modern world. When we wholeheartedly support ourselves, other people will follow effortlessly in our footsteps. If we are aware of and cultivate, various coping mechanisms, we can invoke these easily and effortlessly when facing new challenges. Especially, when these challenges appear to be exponential and something we have not faced before.

Often, when we are faced with everyday challenges, we focus our energy on how we should have made a different decision, or we beat ourselves up for making a perceived mistake, or we overthink a situation or a meeting. In a worst-case scenario, we might fall into the trap of blaming other people. Instead, we should focus our energy on a positive future and a different outcome. When we focus on the negatives, for example, a new boss or colleague who does not value us, or a negative working environment, or a relationship that sours privately, or the past and our negative beliefs; we create a negative energy around ourselves. It can be almost like a negative spiral staircase that we can descend down into a dark and gloomy place.

But, how do we become our own greatest supporters and how do we increase our inner resilience? Both these questions can be answered by investing our attention, time and energy into understanding and nurturing ourselves more deeply. As one of my mentees rightly pointed out, this sounds very self-indulgent. It might be, but the reward and our ability to help other people will increase when we feel balanced and happy in ourselves. I tested this hypothesis on several of my mentees and they agreed that this focus and attention on developing the inner-self leads to greater insights and success.

I want to share with you the example of Margaret. Margaret was working in a male dominated environment. She perceived her boss and her boss’ boss as Alpha males who were highly ego-driven. Margaret believed that to survive in their world you had to shout the loudest. She consciously decided that she didn’t want to fit into this world and became increasingly unhappy. In her mind, she fought the environment every day, to the point of feeling totally undervalued and sad. One day Margaret came home to a rude awakening. Her four-year-old son said, “Mummy you are always so unhappy when you come back from work everyday”. This was Margaret’s wake up call and reality check. She decided at that moment she had to change to minimise the impact on her son. She agreed with her husband to invest in hiring herself a life coach. She also started reading books and reaching out to people who she knew could help her along this journey of self-discovery. I fondly recall a dinner with Margaret at an excellent Lebanese restaurant and suggested she read Dr John Demartini’s work about judgement. Although Margaret was changing she held onto her judgements about her bosses. I recall mentioning that she would be grateful one day for what they put her through because this unlocked such an amazing period of self-discovery for her.

Six months later, Margaret was a new person. Now, she enjoyed going to work and because her mindset and attitude had changed, the people around her changed, also. When other people interrupted her in meetings, Margaret’s boss stopped them and said that she had a valuable opinion, which needed to be heard. She was amazed and almost fell off her chair! Margaret was repeatedly asked if she was moving to a new role or if she was expecting a second baby because she was so happy. People simply didn’t understand what had changed. Margaret answered that she had changed. But she did not openly share her secret of investing in understanding herself better and shifting her mindset and attitude to a more positive place. She was in the same work environment, but she had changed her outlook and everything was more effortless and in flow for her.

I often speak in public about Margaret, when I refer to a deeper understanding of ourselves and many audience members have confirmed similar experiences after deepening their self-understanding. Unfortunately, their experiences often have followed life-challenging events, such as illness and divorce. It is a great pity that we sometimes wait for these events to open our eyes to something that needs to change and the need to increase positivity in our lives.

For Margaret, her newfound resilience was from using: positive affirmations; reading uplifting books by gurus on how to find inner balance and peace; focusing on her strengths and the positives in her life; and learning to suspend judgement. Margaret called me five months after we had dinner together, to say she was most grateful for this challenge because it gave her the ability to choose something different. Now, her boss is supporting her for a promotion.

Sometimes as an entrepreneur, I feel overwhelmed by everything I need to do. I no longer have access to the massive corporate resources I had before. I was recently nominated for a business award and I had to write a portfolio of achievements, obstacles I encountered and how I overcame these. The act of writing my vision down, what I set out to achieve and how I have progressed, made me feel really good and greatly valued. I recommend you watch the second video on being remarkable, part of a series of three short videos on self-promotion, featuring the brilliant coach Jenny Garrett; author of, Rocking Your Role; the guide to success for female breadwinners. revi185

Consider where you are remarkable?

I find my resilience in writing about what I am grateful for every evening before I go to bed. It helps me to shift negative energy. If there is a challenging moment, I write; “I am grateful for this moment because it will bring me more clarity, focus and growth for the future”. Surrounding myself with like-minded people, who I refer to as energy angels, is another way I boost my resilience. Also, I always make sure I have one or two uplifting books to read, from one of the Hay House authors, next to my bed. My current bedside table books are The Expansion Game by my wonderful coach Gosia Gorna and Judgement Detox by Gabby Bernstein.

Let’s focus on growing from the inside out. When we focus on our innate positivity; understanding ourselves better; our own inner resilience; and becoming our own greatest supporters; other people will follow effortlessly in our footsteps.

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