Self development, personal growth, life changes, however you want to frame it, is a never ending journey. It's not a one time thing and then you live the perfect life. It's a journey of continual learning and growing for each of us.
I truly believe that once we stop learning and growing, we stop living.
So, what are the stages in the Circle of Self Development?
Well, it all starts with acknowledgement. Acknowledgement that maybe you are feeling a bit stuck, or life feels like you are plodding through it rather than 'living' it, that maybe there is something MORE out there for you. And then there is the wanting to do something about this feeling that you're having. There are some people who are quite happy sitting with that feeling and not taking any further steps on the journey, but there are many of us who don't want to entertain that feeling anymore. So we decide to do something about it.
Discovery is our next stage. Here is where we look into the feeling a little bit deeper. Why are we feeling like this? How did we get here? Is it really an issue for me? Is there someone or something that can help me with this? We may use different tools at this stage, such as journalling, coaching, or reading inspirational or self help books to get more insight into what is stirring in us. And that can tease out certain parts of ourself that we might not have known even existed!
Discovery leads to Awareness. This is where we've used the tools at our disposable and are aware of what we may want to change in our life. We become aware of the beliefs or behaviours that are holding us back from the life we want. We become aware of the situations that we are creating for ourselves that also hold us back. And, we also become aware of relationships that are not supporting us in the way that we would like them to. But we may also become aware of certain passions or traits that could benefit us if we choose to move forward.
A lot of people stop at this point in the circle. Because at this point, excuses (and they are excuses) are made that would mean going any further would be too difficult or uncomfortable. These excuses can be money, circumstance, time, or knowledge related, but they are still excuses. People then revert to their old ways until, at a future point in time, they get to the Acknowledgement stage again.
If at the Awareness stage, a person still wants to pursue changes and develop themselves, they start to set goals or work towards their dreams. This is the Goals/Dreams stage. A person at this stage would be aware of their limiting beliefs and behaviours but would not be afraid to set themselves goals. Goals and dreams can include getting a new job or career, moving locations, getting further qualifications or even setting up a business.
But these Goals/Dreams can't be realised until we get to the next stage, Action. We can sit and wish that things in our life change. 'I'd like a new job', 'I'd like a new car', etc, but unless we take action, we won't achieve those things. To get a new job you may have to tidy up your CV. You may have to apply for new jobs or network. From there you will have to attend interviews and only by doing these actions, will you get close to getting that job.
Likewise, if you want a new car. What do you need to do in order to get that? Do you have to sell your old one? Do you have to save up some money? Do you know what car you want? There are still actions to be taken before you get the new car. It won't magically appear!
When we get to the Action stage, the Circle of Self Development doesn't then become complete. It continues throughout our life. And I'm not saying that we are then on a hamster wheel of self development forever! But when we start this journey and we begin to see changes and results in our life, it can inspire us to carry on moving forward. And so we get to the Acknowledgement stage again. It could happen straight away, or it could be further down the line, but at some point we will get to that stage again where we realise that we feel stuck or we want something more. We will start doing more Discovery to lead us to further Awareness. This will help us set more Goals/Dreams which we will then have to take Action on so that they become reality. And so the circle continues...
And it's normal to feel afraid of taking the first steps, because it can be overwhelming making any changes to your life. Take it at your own pace, because as I said at the beginning, self development is a never ending journey.
If you enjoyed reading this blog post, or if you have any questions or feedback, I'd love to hear from you. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org