Looking back at my blogs over the past year, I realise we’ve been talking a lot about self-improvement and how to live your best life – not surprisingly, as it’s a concept that I believe very strongly in. We’ve explored the idea of personal mastery – how to overcome negative patterns of behaviour for our own benefit, learning to think and act in ways that help us to grow, transform, and succeed. We’ve also identified reinvention as being the key to personal success – another way in which to move forward and change for the better.
So far so good – until recently a client of mine asked me a question, “How can I plan my life going forward if I don’t know where I came from, or where I am now?” It’s a question underpinned by the concept of taking stock of your life – and it’s one that perhaps needs to be addressed.
Who am I?
There’s a powerful change statement that reads, “We can’t become who we need to be, by remaining who we are.” And while the sentiment behind the statement is a valid one, there’s an important step missing – being able to identify who you are in the first place. Without knowing yourself inside and out, your strengths, your weaknesses, your motivations, or your fears, you won’t have a stable enough foundation on which to build your success – and ultimately you won’t be able to become who you need to be in order to achieve the growth and transformation you’re striving for.
So how do we take stock of our lives in order to reach our fullest potential? We do this through awareness. By becoming truly aware of who we are and where we are in life, we will be able to start mapping out a more effective route to success.
In the retail world, ‘taking stock’ requires a detailed analysis of the inventory in hand. In the business world, it often begins with a SWOT Analysis – a process that involves first identifying something, and then isolating the factors either contribute to or impede success.
Just as both these approaches are valuable in their respective industries, I think a similar method of personal inventory can be a profoundly worthwhile exercise. So if you feel you could benefit from more self-awareness and more insight, start your own personal stock-take right now by pinpointing your:
- Strengths: any personal characteristics that you see as positives.
- Weaknesses: any characteristics you feel are holding you back.
- Opportunities: any prospects for success you could use to your advantage.
- Threats: any potential elements that could hamper your personal growth.
Once you have your ultimate goal in mind, and your personal SWOT analysis on paper, you’ll have exactly the firm foundation you need to start making your dreams for the future a reality.
In the end, the idea of taking stock, and the concepts of personal mastery and reinvention, all come back to awareness – or sensory acuity, as we call it in NLP. The more aware we are as people, and what drives us, the more we’ll be able to identify what is and is not working for us, and redirect our paths to success accordingly. The aphorism ‘know thyself’, is one that has been with us since the days of ancient Greece, and it’s as true today as it was so many hundreds of years ago. Because only by achieving complete awareness of who we are, and our current place in the world, will we be able to tap into our infinite power for positive, lasting change and transformation.
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