A burnout, breakup, dismissal or illness… these can be events that boost your personal development. Coach Michele got a burnout and shows which 7 steps brought her healing. “These lessons taught me to become more resilient and live joyfully.”
Without that trigger, I wouldn’t have taken steps to embrace true transformation.
An inspiring version of yourself
Personal development often crosses your path at a time when you are ready for change. You’re not really satisfied with how things are going in your life and you’re open to making a change. When you tap into the source of inner growth, you discover qualities of yourself that you would like to learn to deal with differently. In this way you evolve into a renewed and inspiring version of yourself.
When I look back on the past 5 years: what have I grown in the most? What were decisive moments? And how did they contribute to my current life? It started with a moment of great discontent. I was 46 and unhappy. I hated my work, closed myself off from emotions, avoided deep connections with others and lacked meaning in my life. Several times I asked myself the question: pfff, is this it now? Will it be like this for the rest of my life? It was only later that I discovered that I had a burnout.
What is your trigger?
Your first big step on the path of personal development is usually the result of a less pleasant experience. A breakup, a burnout, losing your job or, as in my case, not feeling well. Without that trigger, I wouldn’t have taken steps to embrace true transformation. The following 7 life lessons taught me to become more resilient and live joyfully.
1. Transform hindering thoughts
How easily do we fall into doom-mongering or allow ourselves to be misled by limiting beliefs? Thoughts like: this will never be okay… I have to… yes but… what if… I’m not good enough… I don’t deserve this… what will others think of me?… We all know them. Because we come to see these beliefs as truth, it takes time, patience and a healthy dose of self-reflection to transform these limiting thoughts.
Pay attention to how and what you think. How do your thoughts sound? What are you telling yourself right now?
Look at your beliefs with a healthy eye. Ask yourself these questions: is this really so? Who says this? Where does this belief come from?
Change the tone of voice of your thoughts. As Pippi Longstocking says, “I’ve never done it, so I think I can do it.” Invite yourself to deal with limiting thoughts differently.
2. Be gentler with yourself
When someone dear to you punishes themselves because something went wrong or he/she made a mistake, your heart breaks, right? At such a moment you want to give him or her a warm hug. But what about yourself? There are numerous ways you can be kinder to yourself. Forgive yourself (and others), be less critical of yourself, realize that a bad day is not a bad life and allow yourself time and space to process everything you experience at your own pace. Talk to your thoughts in a loving, constructive way and give yourself an imaginary hug every now and then.
3. Please less
I’ve done this for years: putting the needs of others first and adapting, hoping to be liked. I still remember how someone accused me of having a lack of empathy. The people pleaser in me wanted to change this at all costs. I developed a strong empathy (too strong in fact) that made me even more effaced by myself and my well-being.
Pleasing is something many do from a young age, without realizing it. Think about your school days: you want to be liked and you adjust your clothing style to belong to that one group. But it also happens in a family context: as a child you don’t want to disappoint your parents. You make their appreciation more important than your own happiness, for example by following a study that does not suit you. For example, I once had a customer who was trained as an engineer. He actually wanted to be a pilot, but his parents wanted to have a son who is an engineer.
By pleasing others, you keep denying yourself. So there is no room to be who you want to be. Realize that you, just like everyone else, are unique, valuable and worthwhile.
4. Dare to say no
Do you find it difficult to say no ? A long series of limiting beliefs often causes you to say yes to everything, when you would rather say no. But before you know it, the ‘Yeah, I will’ comes out of your mouth. This is also something you can change. For example, the next time you’re asked for a favor, say, “Is it okay if I come back to this later?”
If your supervisor gives you extra work, state what you still have to do and ask what should be given priority now. In short, let the other choose. If the answer is ‘both’, then you have the right to indicate that it is too much for you right now. As Paolo Coelho so beautifully says: ‘ When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you’re not saying ‘no’ to yourself .’
5. Know your stress personality
Stress is a natural thing. It is a protective mechanism of the body to give you the necessary energy for a short time, so that you survive a difficult moment. But our way of life has changed so much: many live in a constant stress mode. This may have to do with your profession, but in most cases it is the way we react to certain situations that causes us stress.
You can learn to deal with stress differently. Discover your stress triggers to start with. By gaining insight into this, you will experience how you can relieve stress – this is different for everyone! And you notice faster when you’re stuck in stress mode.
6. Go for good enough
Many of us do excellent work, but constantly strive for perfection. We are always looking for what can be done even better, in the hope of getting satisfaction from this updated version. But that feeling is rarely there. This is a pitfall that many perfectionists fall into. Perhaps as a child you often heard that you had not tried hard enough or you came home with good results, but the response was only lukewarm.
You want to prove yourself and there is nothing wrong with that. But often this takes more time and energy than you actually have to complete a task or project. What can help with this, especially if you work in a team, is the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the result is achieved by 20 percent of your effort (or time). You deliver quality work, taking into account the time you get for it. If you suspect it isn’t good enough yet, someone else can take a fresh look at it.
7. Invest in yourself
I grew up with the expression ‘you have to learn to grow your own beans’. This gives you the feeling that you have to solve everything yourself, including mental and emotional problems. But my biggest breakthroughs came through investing in myself. I followed coaching courses and call in professional help when I can’t figure it out on my own. If I have problems with my back or neck, it is time for an appointment with an osteopath. And if I can’t relax easily, I look for a treatment that can help me with this.
Even though I’ve been a coach for years, I still let myself be coached. It keeps me sharp, puts everything in perspective and helps me get to the heart of things layer by layer. In this way I make room for new insights, awareness and personal growth. I happily pay for coaching because I know how valuable it is to me.