Be Good to Yourself
Why Now is the time to Invest in You and How to Start
Work and life seem to be getting crazier, busier and more complex for most people. The most requested workshops by companies are Time Management and Relationship Management (including conflict resolution). To me that says a lot about our current environment and about the paradigms in which we live - paradigms of scarcity, fear, pressure, unintended consequences, and chasing "success". For women we throw the paradigm of "having it all" into the mix too.
The cool thing about paradigms is that we can outgrow them and shift into new ones, those of abundance, groundedness, intentionality and joy. At Nobler Path, we're a tiny part of what's possible when you realise you want something else and something more than the rat race. When you realise you want to be good to yourself and others. Yes, we work with companies, and we also work with individuals who are ready to invest in themselves for themselves, their loved ones and their career. We work with those who are good to themselves and are ready to set out on their journey as Wayfarers in search of the Nobler Path.
Maybe you don't see the point in seeking out additional opportunities for growth and development beyond what your employer offers. Maybe there's a sense that investing in yourself outside work requires more time, money and effort than is readily available, and while that's at least partially true, we'd like to throw some thoughts out there for those of you who are standing in the doorway and wondering whether to take the next step. And just what that first step might be.
1. You are your Capital
We are our own best resource. We are our own richest capital and, what's more, it's capital we can never lose because we always have access to it, our Inner Capital; growth simply means increasing our Inner Capital and enriching our Inherent Resources so that we feel we always have some measure of choice, if not over what happens then over how we face whatever happens. Fact is that when we're afraid of something happening, it's not the event itself we're scared of, nor the consequences, we're actually afraid that we're not capable of dealing with the consequences and that we don't have the resources to face them. As Wayfarers we increase our Inner Capital and enrich our Inherent Resources, so we are really grounding ourselves, learning to trust ourselves and to internalise "I've got this, I can handle it, I can work with whatever happens".
There are various ways that we can invest ourselves and the great news is that the primary resources necessary are simply Attention, Open Mind and Willingness to learn from everything and everyone every day. When Wayfarers learn we don't repeat the same mistakes twice and we cultivate the capacity to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back on the horse.
How: An easy yet powerful shoe-string first step is Action Learning, that is to reflect and learn from day-to-day life through practices such as journaling - all you need is a notebook and 15-20 minutes per day. Simply note down something that stuck on your mind from the day and write what you notice about what happened - what did you feel? What did you think? How did you act? What went well? What didn't go well? What happened that you didn't want or intend to happen? What would you do differently next time? What new insights do you have about yourself?
Myth Busting: "I don't have time to do this". Careful, because if you think about it, what it sounds like you're saying is "I'm not worth 20 minutes of my day" - are really not a priority for yourself? The key is to enter the mindset that you and growing your Inner Capital is a priority i.e. that you learning is a priority, or even the priority. Oh, and if not now, when? We're the masters of "one day when..." - or you can make that day today.
“The illiterate of the 21st Century are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” ― Alvin Toffler
2. No one and nothing can stop you growing - except you
We can learn and develop anywhere at anytime with no other resources except our present circumstances and ourselves. In addition to our Attention and Willingness, we need curiousity, a capacity to reflect, question and stay Present. Nelson Mandela used his time in prison, even while labouring, to reflect, think, question, speak with those around him and learn. Those decades formed him and his worldview that peace and reconciliation are the only constructive and healthy way forward for a strong South Africa. Mandela's is an extreme example, but we all have all that we need to be able to learn and grow continuously every day. We work with Wayfarers to help them cultivate Attention, Presence, reflection and curiosity so that they become a natural part of who they are and how they act out in the world.
How: Sometimes we need a little hand up and that's where a whole host of possibilities open up from books, blogs, podcasts, webinars, online courses to coaching, retreats, leadership programs. What's good for you at this time and place in your life? Only you can know that and we encourage you to explore different options to find the right one for you. What we need changes as we change, so trust yourself and go with what you're drawn to. Like we wrote above, you're investing in yourself and actually you can start easy with journaling, free podcasts and blogs. Or books, there are so many great books out there. The most important thing is to APPLY - knowing is not enough, you must do. But that's the tough part and that's where someone like a coach can really make a difference - someone to walk with you and support you as you grow. Experiential training programs also help hugely as they have you live and apply immediately, which makes it much easier to put into practice in your day to day life.
Myth Busting: "I can't afford to do this". Then start with the free resources and books. Out of curiousity, check in with yourself - what are you choosing to prioritise in your spending? Clothes? City breaks? Make up? Handbags? Eating out? What would it be like to switch your priority to investing in you for one year?
3. Learning together results in Exponential Growth
Wayfarers value our next best resource: the people in our life. We can learn so much from those around us, by seeing our own behaviours, gremlins, strengths, fears mirrored in others. To really be able to make the most of those mirror opportunities, we need to tap into our Courage to truly look at ourselves and learn. The first time we start looking in the mirror at what's actually there, rather than what we think is there, it can be scary, upsetting, depressing, and generally icky. And it can also be exciting, deeply moving, surprising and uplifting. I see my own goodness, strengths and kindness in others, just as I recognise my own thoughtless, unintentional, unskillful behaviours - those ingrained patterns that we developed as ways to protect ourselves, but that often get us into more trouble than good.
Learning together means leaning into each other, supporting each other and creating new experiences from each other. It's like alchemy - connecting with another Wayfarer on their journey can lead to a sudden burst of acceleration in our and their development, a priceless gift that gets paid forward into the world.
When beginning to work with ourselves and others, to explore and discover, it helps if we hold Compassion and Dignity for ourselves and others. When these are absent, it's easy to fall into the crowd of those who preach, rather than those who do. Check in with yourself first: do I want to grow because I have a need "to be seen as" someone or something by others? Do I want to grow because I feel I should? Or do I want to grow because I'm facing new challenges and I know I need to grow to meet them?
How: Be mindful. Practice staying present with yourself and others in all interactions and with whatever comes up. Stay open and receptive, listening in order to understand. Use every situation as an opportunity to create something with others. Read books such as "The Shadow Effect" and "The Responsibility Process" and apply their teachings. Or if you're ready to take the next step, become a Wayfarer and live that alchemy, join us on our next retreat in Italy!
"The key to leading effectively is knowing the things that make up your environment and then helping to arrange them so that their power becomes available" - Sun Tzu, The Art of War
4. When we invest in ourselves, others invest in us
When we are committed to investing in ourselves, increasing our Inner Capital and enriching our Inherent Resources, others recognise our commitment, passion and the tangible difference in us. We become more capable, more confident, more skillful and more alive, which means that we also become more trustworthy and others are more willing to take a risk on us and invest in us. The core work Wayfarers do when we develop ourselves is to discover our purpose in life and our driving values - our inner compass or north star. When we discover those we can live and work in alignment with those values and honouring our purpose - and not only do we feel how life flows more easily and joyfully, everyone around us can see and feel it too. Being good to ourselves gives others permission to be good to themselves, which means life gets better for everyone. That's what it means to walk the Nobler Path - Wayfarers know that we can never be certain of making the best (or "right") choice, but we can be certain that we've made the better choice, all things considered, and that we can deal with the consequences and work with whatever comes up. We live in constant hypothesis, navigating by sight using our inner compass, Inner Capital and Inherent Resources as effectively and intentionally as we can to make life in us and around us just that little bit better.
How: you know how and what is good for you. Follow your compass and it'll lead you where you need to go.