If you’re a regular visitor to our blog then you’re probably familiar with our approach and ethos. You know that we consistently encourage growth in others. We’re a group of people who got together simply because we thrive when we can help individuals and businesses in knowing more, doing more and being more… because we believe. We believe that every one of us is capable of finding their path, responding to the calling and walking the path with an experience of lasting fulfillment. Everyone! Yes, you as well!
How you get there however will be your own personal journey but we are there to believe in you, in our students and clients even before they may believe in themselves. So this month to offer more encouragement we say “Take it up a level” but what does it mean, what does it look like, and how can you achieve it?
During the recent Tedx Dublin conference we enjoyed 13 different talks from those who have ideas to share, who discovered their passion, whose life is a mission. One talk that we enjoyed most was by Lord David Puttnam, an award winning film producer but also educator and activist. During his talk he used the quote that stayed with me. It was a Nelson Mandela quote from one of his interviews. When talking about leadership he said that we should all “expect more from ourselves and exceed our own expectations”.
This fits perfectly with our theme. This is exactly what “Taking it up a level” is all about. As a result I asked myself a question “Ok, but is expecting more from yourself enough?” It made me think about the standards we set ourselves. We know that we are not shaped by those epic events that happen once in a lifetime but by the consistency and commitment we show up with every day. So the questions are “How much do you expect of yourself every day?”, “Do you challenge yourself and do you feel challenged?” and more importantly “What happens next?”. Notice that simply considering what you could do and how fantastic it would be to achieve more, means the chances are that you’re just filling your head with wishful thinking. Thoughts aren’t enough if they are not followed by actions. So knowing (as always) won’t be enough. Expect more of yourself but have clarity on what “more” looks like and treat it as a first step. Challenge yourself to take action based on your expectations, go one step further, reach higher and push yourself but only as far as you can. You’ll make a difference and see the difference if knowing is followed by doing. Every time you tell yourself that today is not that day, that you have no more energy or that you’ll think about it tomorrow, surprise yourself and do at least one more thing to take it up a level, complete one more task and let your expectations become reality. Yes you have it in you. Yes you can!
But this goes further.
Human beings never fail to surprise me. Sometimes I fall into this trap myself, sometimes I hear it from my friends, sometimes from my coaching clients – “You see, I am not very productive/motivated/driven/effective etc.” which is followed by the list of times when they proved themselves to be exactly that. We have a view of self that is often harsh, unfair and untrue. And we hold onto it sometimes for years. The question I usually ask then is “So how is that view of self that you’ve just introduced, working for you and supporting you in life?” And there is silence or a quiet answer – “It doesn’t”.
I want to challenge this way of thinking and call you on it. If we maintain such a view of self we can simply sit back and do nothing based on the “I never deliver” view and surely we take absolutely no action and change nothing, since we never do… It’s a self-fulfilling belief. This approach is lazy, untrue, limiting, unkind and easy. Yes, it’s easy to lower expectations, sit back and say “That’s who I am”. And you don’t have to do or change anything. No challenges. Easy!
Our job as coaches and my intention as a people developer is to challenge this view, help clients realise their potential and take it up a level. It isn’t about suddenly becoming a high achiever. It is about pushing yourself further, developing new ways of thinking, describing yourself in a new (fairer!) way and developing new habits to see change happen.
If you were to “Take it UP a level” what would your life look like? What could you achieve knowing that YOU CAN go a step further, higher and be just a little bit better? If you don’t believe it yet, then for now I will believe in you until you see in yourself the potential I can see already.
They say that the most dangerous phrase in the language is “I have always done it this way”. This also applies to the way we think and who we are. The usual, the “go to” thoughts and emotions. Which ones have you used for too long now? Which ones do you want to drop to make room for more success in your life? Challenges? Yes, you’ll face them along the way. It’s a package. They come together with a sense of amazing fulfillment and deep satisfaction.
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