Category Archives: Self development
The source of your inner judgement and wisdom may include your well-fed IQ, your faith, or your past experiences. Whatever the source, the fact is that you have wisdom to tap in to by listening to yourself, and it will benefit you because;
- Listening to yourself often simplifies a situation. Your choices become clearer because you are in touch with who you are.
- Acceptance of and respect for yourself grows as a result, and as you begin to figure out what is right for you, so your life takes on a deeper meaning.
- It causes you to act. Listening is a verb. If your kids don’t do what you asked of them, you first think they were not listening. Listening is connected to you taking action.
- If you really listen to yourself, you take responsibility for what you know you need to attend to. You act, as opposed to waiting for someone to tell you what to do, or relying on a crisis or illness as an excuse or way out.
- Listening to yourself gives you all the bounding energy and conviction to act. It is fundamental to your motivation and energy being released.
The Cost of Not Listening to Yourself
It takes a lot of courage to ferret out the reasons you so often ignore your inner voice, but, to tune into your inner judgement frees up a lot of personal energy and allows you to refocus on the path your life is taking. When you don’t listen to yourself, all your actions and inaction will be moving you in the wrong direction. And your heart knows it. Your energy is soaked up trying to live in one world whilst your heart is yearning for another. If this state of perpetually ignoring yourself continues for too long, you will find your inner judgment becoming harder to discern. And as you split off from what is right for you, so your self-deception grows. And all this is at the expense of valuable energy. You become stressed, unhealthy, loose your judgment and you compromise on your performance and thus on the impact you are able to make.
Listening to yourself for a change helps to keep you congruent, effective, and healthy. Please listen and attend to what gets you out of sync with yourself. Then click your heels and act boldly. But keep those inner ears forever tuned.
By Madeleine van der Steege
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Being honest with yourself. That takes courage. But it runs deeper than simply acknowledging that I need help or rest, or, I’m good at that; that makes me happy; that needs to change, because there is another layer to listening to yourself.
Even though we often demonstrate good insights into our own situations – with more than just an inkling of what to do – we fail, sometimes, to apply our own good counsel to our own lives. There is the well-known example of a bride walking down the aisle, while in her mind she knows it is not going to work. Thus, the marriage begins with a foundation of unspoken truths and when the marriage breaks up some time later, she recalls that truth: “I knew when I walked down the aisle it was doomed to fail.” Why don’t we listen to ourselves?
You can’t listen to and reject yourself at the same time. Listening to yourself requires self acceptance. Knowing or suspecting, for example, that you no longer belong in a certain company or job is not about the company at all. It’s about you. Who you are. What you believe, want, need and why. All of your complexity and potential is bundled up together. So avoid blaming “the company” or “them”, the workload or your perceived failings. Instead, listen to your heart to discover who you are and what it is you really want. Then stand up for it.
Sometimes the warning signs for change have been there for years but you ignore them because you are striving at all cost to fit the mould of “success”, or meet expectations of others and gain approval. Put together the multitude of clues in your life, about who you really are, that you have left dangling about. Your inner whispering, the choices you have made (or have avoided) or even the physical state you are in are great personal clues.
Think about the people you listen to. You respect them and that’s why they have influence over your choices and actions. By the same token you have to respect and accept yourself to be able to listen to yourself. You are an incredible being, human, and inherently filled with hope. You possess an unending, unique capacity to create, re-invent and transform. Yes, you make mistakes and even destroy; your past has possibly much to be desired, but acknowledge that you have great capacity for good and fruitful action. Accepting that you are only human as opposed to faultless, enables you to listen to yourself and enjoy the benefit.
By Madeleine van der Steege
Coming up next…The Cost of Not Listening to Yourself
It takes a lot of courage to ferret out the reasons you so often ignore your inner voice, but, to tune into your inner judgement and face the truth about your hand in your own situation frees up a lot of personal energy and allows you to refocus on the path your life is taking. But when you don’t listen to yourself all your actions and inaction will be moving you in the wrong direction. And your heart knows it. Your energy…..
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(Part 2) A True South African Story
I had one prayer. It was an early morning on my way to my work as HIV-Aids Lay Counselor-Coordinator. The hill in front of me was very steep, and summer time in the Cape is not made for hard walking. From deep within me came the prayer “I want to grow and develop more”. It was an ache inside me that I had ever since I left school. It was a hunger to know more, and to be more than just another Coloured woman with a fractured past, an unfinished education and only legs for transport.
The beginning of the answer to that prayer happened unexpectedly. Through a friend I was invited for an interview at a company. The interview was very informal and unstructured, and I, the candidate, was unprepared. I so clearly remember it. That day would set me on a path of self-discovery and self leadership.
Knowledge is a powerful word. It means “to know”. I began “to know” the amazing worth of my talents as a human being and how much of my world is waiting on me to rise up and deliver. My relationship with my new employer, an entrepreneur – later partner would add another highly prized value that I desperately needed, affirmation. In the world I came from, the one I lived, I was not nurtured – the plight of many women, I know. To be stuck in a culture of day-to-day survival.
Needless to say, I got a job and for the first time in my life worked in an environment where values were highly prized and human capital was viewed as the greatest asset on the books. Process was important, but it was designed around an amazing vision of which the results were a natural consequence.
The term “give a man a fish…”fails to detail the complex process and support it took for me to shed my “victim mentality” and to see myself as a victor. How empowering it was to me to work in a culture that affirmed me as an individual and for my unique contribution to the bottom line. Because of the value placed upon me, it was inevitable that I then participated in and cared about our results. And yes, working to me became fun – nowhere else did I get to play and produce. In world wherein work can be likened to a production factory, here I was, the amazing creator of my own contributions.
I began as a kind of informal on-the-job coachee and my employer turned into a wonderful friend and coach. Every terrain in the company was a training ground. My three years there left me with a sense of direction and purpose. I am amazed at how the beliefs I internalized then have shaped the manner in which I have grown and still do. I went from waiting for something to happen, to knowing that my dreams are waiting on me to make them happen. The most important contribution to my life was the view that the seedbeds of talent are inherent to everyone. I learnt to build my life from a strong vision of my future, which propelled me forward. A conviction was birthed in me that I am more than my circumstances or what life throws at me! How does this happen?
It happens as someone teaches you how to use a computer patiently. It happens when someone recognises you in a meeting, filled with executives, and asks if you would you like to add anything. It was is as if a finger was placed on the latent potential inside me and whispered “breathe!”. Many doors were opened to me and later opened by me. I have finished my course at Wits Business School. I obtained a car license and bought my own car. I have since then moved on in my career. So what did this empowerment opportunity mean to me? It meant everything to me. It became the catalyst for ongoing growth and the wealth of wisdom I gained has become the foundation of my career. It has impacted on my family, my children, my friends, my life. – Marie Sukers 2013.
Powerful triggers to unlock your latent talent
- Listen and respond to your urge to grow, learn, or do more
- Develop a powerful meaningful personal vision
- Reconnect to your incredible worth and potential as a human being
- Connect with people who affirm you, express faith in your capacity
- Get out there, exposure yourself to opportunities
- Stop blaming your situation or making excuses for your passivity
- Take complete ownership for your career and life
Sneak preview : Why should I pull someone else up ? (Part 3)
There is an equality created through inclusivity and it can be as healing and empowering for disadvantaged women as it is for those from a first world family or society. To relax your boundaries and allow someone to shadow you closely, as you run your entrepreneurial business, provides an invaluable learning experience for them. However, when you are in an unusually vulnerable phase, too stressed or not reconciled to having your leadership or business imperfections exposed to an audience…
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Empowerment is a journey that unfolds as you begin to work more inclusively with others in your business. I wish to suggest two points for your consideration. Firstly, people empowerment is driven by thinking differently about people and, secondly, empowerment comes from relaxing some boundaries so that how you operate, the “real you”, is made strategically visible.
In this sense, empowerment requires a way of thinking that sees the people we live and work with as walking, sleeping, dreaming sources of incredible potential – natural treasures to be unearthed. They have depth and talent not fully known to either you or them. And therein lies a wonderful mystery; in knowing them and in working with them, you are a powerful catalyst. And their growth, in turn, triggers something equal and positive in you. Delight. Innovation. Discovery. Hope. World changing.
An incredible way for entrepreneurs to empower others is through inclusivity. To use an equestrian analogy, it is to stretch your hand and help someone mount the stallion you are already on. Then on your outride, contextualize the scenery and let them witness your reflexes and decisions while you cover familiar and uncharted terrain on the journeytoward achieving specific objectives. Inevitably, vary your trot and finally reach your destination to share the victory of achieving a challenging task. On the journey, remain open to dialogue – for clarifications and questions – but caution against the belief that one-size-fits-all, bearing in mind that absolute answers are often sought when people are learning something completely new and are out of their comfort zones. The idea is to co-learn as fresh perspectives are gained and new scenarios not previously considered are explored. In short, you are being real and you are creating a non-judgmental learning environment where knowledge, skill and creativity can prosper.
During empowerment employees should be safe to risk, be flexible, be curious and invent. In turn, this intensifies into new spirals of learning and co-learning, which can benefit your business tremendously.
Madeleine van der Steege, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sneak preview – (Part 2) Marie’s Story“ I had one prayer. It was an early morning on my way to my work as HIV-Aids Lay Counselor Coordinator. The hill in front of me was very steep, and summer time in the Cape is not made for hard walking. From deep within me came the prayer “I want to grow and develop more”. It was an ache inside me that I had ever since I left school. It was a hunger to know more, and to be more than just another Coloured woman with a fractured past, an unfinished education and only legs for transport. The beginning of the answer to that prayer happened unexpectedly…”
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