This term started to be alive to me when I was going through some personal issues and I started a Post-Graduation of Team Building and Leadership, in a Psychology University, and the base of the course was about the personal development of the leader, the person who wants to make an impact.
There were several aha moments, but the main ones were the Self Awareness and the capacity to provoke change in yourself. I remember listening about “everything is trainable, when you want to make a change in yourself you need to train, test, fail, and get better”.
I was listening and listening, and in the corporate world, we have the IDP’s (individual development plan) in place, but at work, it is more about the external insights proposed to perform better at your job. What I was learning in that classroom was something different, it was the development that needs to resonate with your inner, the person you want to become in life, the things you would like to do, and perhaps you don’t know yet what it looks like, but it is about starting a journey of self-discovery, self-awareness, self-acceptance.
Since this time, I started to challenge myself differently and I categorize there are essentially 3 steps for personal development, which for me makes all sense and being an engineer, follows the scientific methodology :).
Step 1 – Know Yourself
This is the most challenging step, it is about to understand who you are.
And start the question: Who am I?
Have you tried to write a Bio on social media, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram? How long does it take? Too long right? The majority of people don’t have it.
It is not easy… even when we have to answer the question “What do you do?”,… what?? Look I normally say I am an engineer, and a mom of 2 children. But then I am not really an engineer, I am a manager of a group of engineers, who are more project managers than engineers, and so I am not branding myself correctly if I am saying that…
Well… the challenge is to answer the question:
Who am I? and track the 7 levels of WHY.
This means, make the questions 7 times WHY? And it could be a good start where is your heart and what is the gap in what is missing in your life.
Another great way to start the journey to know better yourself is requesting feedback to people who really matter in life, and have a better picture of how you are perceived.
Then pick the areas what you would like to improve, and this is not a goal setting is a competency or a skill that is missing, blocked and you want to be more or less at that.
The good thing is the competencies and skills are not a gift, they only have different starting points for different people. So everything is trainable, and as the competencies and skills are transferrable, this means that you can train them in different situations, as the acquisition is about your inner not about the outer.
Like, I have lots of friends from my engineer school who aren’t doing at all engineering, but their skills from the engineering school were valid in another type of jobs.
Step 2 – Test Yourself
Here the skill needed is courage.
The courage to try different things, the courage to feel uncomfortable with situations that you don’t know, and still go ahead. The fear and shame are natural…it is ok! Just embrace it and if it is intentional, it will be easier to deal with the holding back feelings.
I was raised to be a good girl, please be polite!, be appreciated for everybody, the girl who don’t have conflicts. I remember to listen from my mom, please don’t complain, imagine, like going to a bakery and my doughnut with filling inside didn’t have the filling, so my mom would tell me, it is ok, never mind!
Well, as you can believe it is hard for me to talk to people, without thinking what they are thinking about me, and if my coffee in Starbucks is not what I asked, I still think twice if should come back or not.
This type of skills, impacts my negotiation skills, at work, how to influence, how to ask for a raise or a promotion, and in a Women Leadership course 2 years ago, I took a challenge for a week, bargain for everything you buy no matter what. Ask for a discount even in Starbucks!
Have you tried, buy a coffee, and ask if they can make a discount?
NO?? Try it! It is funny!
Well, I was nervous to order my coffee in Starbucks…I didn’t do in the store, I did as a drive-in, I felt I was less exposed…, and then I asked….well…as you could imagine the answer was no, the price is fixed. Can you imagine that the feeling I had, was why am I doing this?? But because it had a very intentional purpose, I did it again, the next day, this time in store. Well perhaps because it was in store, the lady gave me 10% with her employee card! Oh no, I felt guilty! But again, it is not about the result so much, in this case, it is about the skill and courage to put yourself out there until is normal.
I didn’t do anymore in Starbucks, but last week I did in Dry Cleaners, I was taking a lot of shirts and blazers, and I spent $100, it was worth to ask it! I got $5 dollars discount.
My point here is set the TEST, prepare the situation, and be intentional.
I am doing this because I want to get better on____________________.
For this bargain week, I was doing it because I wanted to get better on confidence in myself to ask, and don’t be afraid of being criticized.
Step 3 – Accept Yourself
The third step is the reflection of the WHO you are and the situations that you are living in.
And here after I was doing the bargain week, I couldn’t still ask the promotion I wanted to my boss, because of million excuses. But this is also the time of accepting ourselves and understand that we need time, and we need to live with peace who we are.
Also, I started to get compliments, that I don’t have issues with my confidence, I can speak up. And you know what I normally do, excuse myself and saying no, it isn’t true… Instead, I need to start to say Thank YOU and appreciate the moment.
This is the time to reset and do it again!