We are very lucky to live in a world that is ever changing and evolving. It presents us endless opportunities to be whoever we want to be. But with the world moving so quickly around us, the need for self-development is at an all-time high. It is incredible how much our society, technology, and education has advanced in the last 15 years; even in that advancement, many people have fallen behind. I strongly believe that is because the ‘American Dream’ has changed drastically. Young women and men are no longer dreaming about only buying a house, starting a family, and settling into a 9-5 job. Instead, they are striving to start their own business, travel the world, and make as much money as they can. The competition for success has skyrocketed and if you don’t keep up, you will be left behind. In this three-part series I will be going over the different steps and key factors of starting a successful self-development journey.
Constant self-development will be the key to your success in keeping up with this dynamic world. The journey to better yourself never ends, but half of the battle is getting the journey started. For me, it took moving 2,000 miles away from a city, job, and people that I was comfortable with. Obviously, not everyone has to take such intense measures to start on their development path, but I knew I had to do something I couldn’t back out of. I had one goal when I moved: to grow into the best version of myself. In just six short months I can already see major change in who I am and my daily habits. That change has come from a handful of major factors: reading impactful books, listening to the leaders in my life, learning positive self-talk and taking ownership of my actions. Throughout this blog, I will be quoting some incredible people from our TMX Finance® Family of Companies leadership team, as well as some authors whose words have stuck with me.
To start, I loved what our Director of Talent Acquisition, Amanda Barnes, had to say about self-development…
“If you’re not consistently working on yourself, you will move backwards. If you’re not uncomfortable, you are not growing.”
Practicing Positive Self-Talk
Self-confidence was something I struggled with for a very long time; the voice in my head controlled me with negative and anxious thoughts. It was exhausting and I thought it would go on forever. When I got on my flight to move across the country, I told myself, “something has to be done about this discouraging thinking.” It was holding me down and I knew I wouldn’t be able to improve unless my self-talk was positive. I started simply, reading a chapter of a helpful book each night, writing myself encouraging messages on the mirror, and having a pep talk with myself every day when I got ready for work. You must slowly rewire the way your brain processes your internal thoughts and it isn’t easy. Being aware of your self-talk 24/7 isn’t always possible, but the second you feel a doubt slip into your mind, shut it down. If you’re nervous about a presentation at work instead of thinking: “What if I mess up? What if It isn’t good enough?” try to reprocess those thoughts into something constructive: “I will do my best and if something isn’t right, I will use this opportunity to learn and grow from.” You go from beating yourself up prematurely to pumping yourself up for the experience.
It takes discipline, but if you do one thing each day for a month to influence positive thinking, I promise you will notice a difference in your self-confidence and overall outlook on life. Positive self-talk is the first major step in starting a self development journey because once you start telling yourself you are capable of anything, you will DO anything to concur your goals, no matter what the world thinks of you.
“Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our realities.”
– Jen Sincero (2013), You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
Another huge core concept in personal and professional development is extreme ownership. This is something that has impacted my growth exponentially and will be a deciding factor in your journey to be the best you can be. Ask yourself these questions: When a group project is running behind schedule, do you look to point the blame at someone else? Or, do you take ownership and make sure it gets done no matter what? When you are behind on bills, do you blame your work for not paying you enough? Or do you take ownership in your poor money management? Placing blame will do absolutely nothing for you, it will make you lazy and train your mind to think that there is always a way out. Taking ownership of your actions will make you self-reflect and grow from your mistakes or bad habits. One of our leaders, Executive Vice President, Rich Stacy, has always lived by this concept:
“You can’t make excuses both at work and in life. When you accept the fact that you can’t blame anything or anyone else for your failures, you have achieved extreme ownership. Extreme ownership will force you to close your gaps and define your road to make things happen and not make excuses of why things can’t happen.”
Once you slowly start to implement positive self-talk and start taking ownership of your actions, at work and at home, you will start to notice a difference in the way you process life. I went from being anxious, unsure and goalless to confident, structured and growing every day. Expanding your mind and fixing your bad habits starts today! I challenge you to do two things this month; first, listen to a positive Ted Talk or audiobook for at least one hour a day (The drive to and from work is a great time to fill with uplifting and constructive information!) Second, pick a habit you want to change. It can be as simple as making sure your bed is made before work or to stop spending money on unnecessary things. Hold yourself accountable every day to make a change! It takes time to build or break a habit. The path to your success in work and at home starts today and only YOU can make it happen.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. By Jen Sincero
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin