Adam Braun, the founder of Pencils of Promise, says “Your self-discovery begins where your comfort zone ends”. (Source H3 Leadership, Brad Lomenick). Self-discovery is scary. Self-discovery can be very humbling. Furthermore, self-discovery is not an easy thing to do. But if we want to be successful, in life, and in business, we have to be willing to take risks and get out of our comfort zone.
Self-discovery is just part of the process of setting and achieving personal goals. The most successful leaders in the world have very specific goals. They are driven to succeed. And whether you define success as a certain dollar amount in your checking account or the happiness of your relationship with your spouse, self-discovery and self-evaluation are critical to assessing how you are doing in achieving that goal.
Self-Discovery is ongoing
Lomenick goes on to say that “self-discovery is not a practice you complete, but a posture you cultivate”. We are not talking about a transactional event. You don’t just “self-discover” yourself, and then move on. It’s an ongoing process. It begins every morning when you look in the mirror. And it should not end until we close our eyes at night.
Self-discovery means that you are constantly evaluating your progress against your goals. You continually monitor yourself for maintaining your values, in spite of potholes that get in your way.
Self-Awareness is a critical component of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence (or “EQ”) has gained greater attention over the past 10+ years. Much of that is due to the great work by Travis Bradberry. EQ is perhaps the most important indicator of success. It can predict success greater than IQ, skills or other behavioral traits.
Self-discovery is self-awareness put into practice. A person who is high in self-awareness recognizes their emotions and the impact they are having on others. Self-discovery occurs when you take self-awareness and actually learn from it. And, beyond that, you put into practice changes in your attitude and actions that lead to an increase in your self-awareness.
Fear is the crippler
What do fear and self-discovery have in common? One of the biggest challenges we face is to overcome fear. Certainly, one of the most fearful things is to look in the mirror and give yourself an honest self-evaluation. Are we living up to our own expectations? Are we doing the things we need to do to drive success in our lives? Do we live up to the values we set for ourselves?
I love the statement “fear is a liar”. Fear takes hold of our every thought. Fear strikes at us when we are down, when we are tired, and when we are at our weakest points.
But Lomenick reminds us that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. We need to face our fears head-on. Choose courage instead of comfort. Choose to take a step instead when it is easier to stand still.
So, as part of the task of self-discovery, don’t hesitate. Don’t fear. Take the step and take responsibility.
Take responsibility for your growth
People get comfortable in their jobs, letting the company take responsibility for everything. Don’t leave your development up to your company. This is an example of a comfort zone. Brian Tracy in his “Perform At Your Best” training talks about creating a “new mental diet”. He says you must set your mind before you can change the world around you. “You can become anyone you want to become. You can do anything you want to do. You can achieve any goal that you can set for yourself as long as your goal is clear and you work on it continuously until it becomes a reality”. Certainly, the emphasis here is that you work on it.
Do you take responsibility for your personal development? Do you see your personal growth as something your boss does for you or something you do for yourself? While you may rely on your employer to fund certain things (paying for training, seminars, etc.). You should never outsource your personal development to your employer. Take responsibility. Take ownership. Your self-improvement comes only when you take on the task of self-discovery. You must identify your gaps, and pursue ways to address your issues.
Now is the time
Don’t delay any longer. Take ownership of your personal development. Own the responsibility of your self-discovery. Get out of your comfort zone. Above all, do not allow fear to paralyze you in this process.
If you are interested in learning more about my programs for self-discovery and self-improvement, contact me today. I have an outstanding emotional intelligence assessment that I would love to share with you. You will learn more about yourself than you can ever imagine. And you will take that first, vital step in owning your self-improvement. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.