Do you remember the first time you danced in public? How about your first work presentation? What made you feel nervous about those times was your personal evaluation of the future consequences. Making a mistake, or being mocked are scenarios we want to avoid at all costs. So it’s only common to feel awkward or uncomfortable when trying to get out of our comfort zone.
However, to grow and develop to reach professional and personal goals, we need to challenge ourselves out of the comfort zone that prevents us from maximizing our full potential. And that’s what we call “challenging the self.”
But how do we do that without feeling uneasy? Simply with a little bit of creativity. As Einstein once said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” And this creativity will, inevitably, demand re-evaluating your goals from the core to the finish line.
Personal growth is the process of growing stronger, more confident, and more self-aware as a person and a pioneer of change in your own life.
The initial step for personal growth is defining the goals. You may simply begin by asking yourself about your ambitions. For some of us, it can be about making a change regarding the way we look, exercising more, developing healthier eating habits, learning a new skill, a hobby, moving to a foreign country, or buying a new car. The answer may vary from person to person but whatever makes your heart beat with excitement, that’s how you recognize where to start.
The second step is shutting down your inner saboteur’s voice. The one that broadcasts harsh thoughts and opinions continuously. To do this, it’s important to be aware of when this voice shows up and what it says.
Please remember that the goal here is simply to acknowledge it. Once you do so, your thoughts immediately stop, so you can reframe them with love and self-compassion. For example, the next time you feel shy about speaking your mind in a meeting, that saboteur’s voice could say “your opinion doesn’t matter,” or “nobody will take you seriously.” Simply stop, identify the thoughts, and try affirmations like “my mind is only telling me that this is important to me. I recognize the situation and my emotions, but choose to take a step further despite my fears and anxiety.”
Maybe you’ll realize it’s challenging to push yourself towards new limits, but the rewards are worthy, and here’s an extra tip:
According to Psychiatrist Regina Pelly envisioning may help us see and feel the future we desire. It is based on a very simple idea: it’s much easier to achieve something if you can visualize yourself already achieving it. So, through visualizations, we enable our brain to expand our sense of possibility and bring creativity and greater consciousness to the process.
For instance, can you imagine what kind of job you would like to have by 2025? Think about what your best possible career outcome looks like. Evoke the feelings of happiness and pride you’d have when you finally get to publish your new job on LinkedIn. Did that image make you smile? 😉 Good!
While picturing you as the main character of your story, answer the following questions about your future desire:
How did you feel after that short visualization exercise? On a scale of 1-10 and based on your feelings, is that goal you had in mind really what you want to achieve?
Let’s say your goal is running 5kms for the first time in a local race. Is there something limiting yourself right now to achieve it? What are your everyday barriers? Can you change something of your current routine to prepare yourself to achieve this goal?
Here are some steps you can follow to transform that goal from visualization to reality:
1 – Make the goal part of your daily life. Design a wallpaper about your desired outcome, set a reminder, or simply write it on a post-it to feel inspired every day.
2 – Nurture and acknowledge your strengths.
3 – Refresh your resources – Develop and take care of relationships that support your work, creativity, and motivation.
5- Make a SMART plan to move on; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
6- Make improvement a habit! Evaluate and keep track of your outcomes.
7- Start today
Challenging yourself to make a difference and remember the feeling of achievement will carry you to the desired outcome. And if at some point you feel overwhelmed by the path you have to follow, breathe in, and remember why you start this in the first place.