Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Being Self Aware can Stunt Your Growth

I am confused.

There is a general theory that people can be categorized into different personality types. There are many different models to promote this theory, dating all the way back to the Ancient Greek idea of the Four Temperaments. In the business world we talk about True Colors or the Insight Discovery Wheel. In the end it's about gaining a greater understanding of ourselves and those around us. It fosters self awareness and compassion for others. These are pretty good things.

So what's confusing me?

Well Brian Tracy, a well known leadership expert, is big on getting people to be responsible for their own actions. He says being responsible or, able to respond, means we are able to choose our actions and reactions. Our behaviour is a choice.

So learning about our own personality type is important because it confirms our inner voice and the nature of who we are. BUT, it often becomes a licence to sidestep the responsibility of choosing our actions and this can not only damage our relationships with others but it can defeat our own personal growth. "I can't help it, this is just who I am," effectively shuts down a relationship that needs to evolve and stunts an opportunity for personal growth. Boom. Conversation done. Defeat. Game over.

So now I'm in search of what's beyond this limited self aware attitude. Now I want to know, what ACTIONS I can take that will still be true to myself but will foster a constructive relationship with myself and those around me.

When I was in teachers college, we went to class after class after class where the instructors talked at great length about the qualities of a great teacher. By the end of our program though, we felt like we still didn't know HOW to teach. We wanted strategies to follow, tips and tricks to try. We wanted ACTIONS.

So we all went out and bought Barrie Bennett's book Beyond Monet and Harry Wong's The First Days of School and signed up for Make and Take Workshops left right and centre. We armed ourselves with any strategy we could find that might help us survive our first year. We traded tips and tricks during recess, we planned and prepared and marked all weekend, every weekend. Finally, low and behold, we made it to June.

And then we crashed and burned on July 1st.

Although I dearly miss teaching Kindergarten in the bittersweet way we will forever cherish our first love, I never found full time work or the opportunity to establish a stable career. So I began a long and challenging evolution to rebirth myself into something just as valuable and just as soul fulfilling. During that time I wrestled with personal demons, fought professional battles within myself and allowed financial weights to stifle and suffocate me. I struggled to maintain confidence in myself but then, somehow in the midst of all that, I caught a glimpse of how my little genius soul is meant to breathe life through my being and I realized that only I can confirm value in who I am meant to be. It took a long time to be able to visualize a future that's exciting and interesting once more.

Now I am ready to move forward in a constructive way. There is no need to fight myself anymore. No need to stop me from being, evolving and growing. Deconstruction was messy, ugly and painful. But now the darkness is lifting and there is peace resonating from within me. It's getting stronger every day as I construct a future for little ol' me and my little genius soul.

Finally I know who, what and where I want to be. Now I'm on a quest to find out HOW to make it happen...

...without burning out or burning bridges.

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