So the end of 2016 is here and as usual, many are positioning themselves like athletes to get set, ready and go into 2017.
2016 was a difficult year for me, having lost my dad in June. This Christmas was the first without him, which was another painful reminder of the loss of his presence in my life.
I had said a few times that I couldn’t wait to see the back of 2016. However, I realise that I was allowing one tragedy in my life overshadow the many blessings that came with 2016. And there have been many blessings which I am so grateful for.
2016 was a year of exponential growth for me – both personally and professionally.
This time last year, I had my resignation letter ready, after enduring five miserable weeks at a new job as I had started as a Business Analyst for a technology company in London. My plan was to work full time in my corporate job and part time in my private counselling and coaching practice. My head said yes, my heart, instincts and my body screamed No!! No more! And by this stage I was self-aware enough to know that if I didn’t listen to my heart, I would be in for a miserable 2016. I had come too far in my journey to keep putting off my deepest dreams and desires.
Taking the leap of faith to quit my job and pursue my dream to help others become authentic and to develop self-awareness has been one of the best decisions taken in my adult life. No kidding. My life has been deeply enriched and doors of opportunities opened. All in one year!
So what was different in 2015? Compared to the previous years of trying and failing?
There is a saying that when the pain and discomfort of your circumstances becomes far greater than your perceived fear of taking action, you are ready for change.
However I would add this, the physical act of me taking my leap of faith was the manifestation of years of cultivating self-awareness which exposed the truth of what I really believed about me.
Below are two key points I believe will help you to make lasting change.
Focus on the inward change first
Most times we seek change, we usually focus on the external behaviour and symptoms. However, behaviours are the direct results of an internal belief you hold about yourself. Whilst it may be possible to alter behaviours short term, if the underlying belief is not changed, that behaviour will rear its ugly head or morph into something else (substitute behaviour)
For example, you are struggling with overeating, and embark on a diet or weight loss programme. Whilst you might succeed in losing the weight through sheer will and determination, if the underlying belief behind your excessive eating and relationship with food is not addressed you might struggle to sustain the weight loss or you might find that you have substituted your overeating with another behaviour.
The key here is self-awareness, taking the space and time to really understand what is happening internally. Focus on understanding what beliefs are driving the behaviour and once you expose those negative beliefs, you can begin to work towards dispelling the lies and rooting them out. You will experience lasting change by doing this.
But here is the problem. Too often we prefer external change rather than internal processing. Why? Because we love being in control. We love doing. Because when we are doing, we are in control and we can see the effects, sometimes instantaneously.
But internal change on the other hand is sometimes slow, not tangible, difficult to control, makes us vulnerable and uncomfortable. So we resist. We would rather be doing and convincing ourselves that we are making progress.
So if you can relate to this, here is my encouragement for 2017. Cut yourself some slack. Quit the never ending search to break behaviours and habits for now and focus on developing self-awareness in that area. This is where counselling and coaching comes in to place. I work as a counsellor and coach using powerful psychotherapeutic tools and techniques that will help you become fully congruent and authentic in any area of your life where you feel out of control or stuck. I have done a lot of research through client and consultancy work and I have found that there is usually a link between negative patterns of behaviour and inauthenticity.
Focus on becoming Authentic
I define authenticity as the courage to intuitively discover and follow my own unique path without fearing rejection or isolation for being different.
Let’s use my experience of taking the plunge to follow my own unique path. Through my self-awareness journey I realised that for much of my adult life I was trying so hard to be somebody that everybody would accept. I lacked the inability to listen to me let alone hear me. Because subconsciously I was so afraid that if I didn’t fit my perception of the ideal standard then it would mean that I had failed. That was my true belief. Success for me was defined by what I thought others approved of as success. I didn’t have to prove myself to me but it was imperative that I showed up for others.
Through my self-awareness journey, I realised this destructive way of thinking was the cause of many of my deep frustrations and emotional problems. At the age of 28, I found myself in massive debt trying to maintain the facade of a successful and accomplished lifestyle. I was earning good money but I was spending far more than my income whilst trying to ignore the despair, desperation and depression I was spiralling into. I spent money to try to make me happy. I ate and binged and was excessively bulimic in my twenties as a way of numbing the deep rooted emotional turmoil I was in, trying to take what little control I could of a life that was spinning far out of control. Everything about me was externally and materially focused. I pretended I liked my job and was doing well in it when deep down I was so dissatisfied. On top of that I realised that for so long I had spent years putting myself together to be the right outward package for my Mr Right that I neglected building the woman within. I ticked all the boxes for outer beauty standards but there was so much work needed on the inside of me – big time. That was my vicious cycle for years and years. Until I got fed up of the facade and reached a very low point in my life and my self-discovery journey started.
If you are going round and round in circles every year and struggling to hit the mark and achieve your desired change, I would say that perhaps the change you are seeking is not from an authentic place. Again I would encourage you to focus on an inward change – start within. As I began my self-awareness journey; understanding who I really was; owning my story; owning up to all the hidden things that I didn’t want to look at; acknowledging some difficult realisations about me; owning my mistakes and forgiving me; change began to take place. My true and authentic self began to emerge and substance began to take effect. I was no longer flaky or flighty.
From the depths of my heart I hope this inspires you. And at least helps to give you a real chance for 2017. No more going round and round in circles.
Commit to starting your self-discovery journey in 2017
If my story resonates I would love to journey with you and support you to become your most authentic self. When you learn to be your true and authentic self, you will discover and embrace your hidden unique qualities and you will be courageous to use those qualities to serve you and others.
Being authentic is the most attractive quality that you could ever have.
Here’s how I can help you achieve your desired change in 2017:
1) Download my workbook 5 steps to own your story and change your life. A powerful 5 module workbook that will help you begin your self-awareness journey. You will gain powerful insights by taking the time to do the exercises which I use in my private practice with my clients.
2) Join my private Facebook group Authenticity Club for Women where I share powerful tips, live videos and resources to help you as you journey with an intimate group of like-minded women. Starting January 2017, I will be holding monthly webinars using the modules in the own your story workbook.
3) One to one authenticity coaching and mentoring. Online or face to face if you live in Essex area ( or are prepared to come to Essex)
If you would like to get straight into working with me to deep dive into problem areas where you need support, coaching and mentoring please complete this intake form and I will get in touch. Alternatively you can send me a message here to book a free 30 minute discovery call.
Please note this is not counselling, although I integrate counselling methodologies where necessary. It is far more detailed, structured and goal oriented than counselling. Hence there is quite a difference in fees – find out morehere
As a registered counsellor, I do limit my counselling services to 5 clients per month.
Here is to 2017, the year of real lasting and authentic change, starting from the inside out!