As I am working with people in the realm of growthwork, both in the courses that I lead online and in mental health settings, there are five pillars of growth that underlie the work and the skillset that we are working to build. These pillars may be subtle and achieved as the byproduct of other actions, but ultimately, they all have a significant impact on our ability to successfully move toward who we want to be. These pillars can each be the independant focus of our efforts, but they also weave together, influencing and building upon each other, guiding us to better achieve our goals, to more effectively lead others, and to live a life of more joy, connection and fulfillment.
The first of the five pillars is Self-Awareness. If we are not aware of what we are doing, it most likely will not change. As creatures of comfort, change requires effort and we can fall into patterns of thinking, feeling and doing that we don’t even realize. Self-Awareness builds the foundation for growth and change as it opens us up to recognizing where we may be stuck or what we may be doing that is keeping us from being, feeling, growing or connecting as we would really like.
From Self-Awareness, we must move into Self-Acceptance in order to clearly plan how to move forward. Self-Acceptance does not mean that we love what we have become aware of, but it does mean that we are no longer denying what is going on. When we accept where we already are, we are no longer turning away from it, numbing out or living in a state of being a victim to our lives. We have accepted where we are and from there, we can begin to purposefully grow in a new direction.
As we move into the process of change, we begin to build our Self-Efficacy. This is the belief that we can succeed; that we are competent and have the ability to reach our goals. In the world of habit change, this is where the idea of making one tiny change at a time comes in handy. The Eastern concept making small continuous changes in an effort to create 1% improvement adds up over time and increases the chance that we will follow through. As we make tiny goals toward change over time, they add up to large shifts in our lives. The achievement of these tiny goals then instills hope and confidence, increasing our Self-Efficacy.
Self-Regulation is all about impulse control and making decisions that take us closer to who we want to be. This pillar involves our behaviors, thoughts and emotions. Self-Regulation may look like having 1 piece of pie rather than the entire pie, but it may also look like pausing and taking a breath before yelling at an annoying coworker. This week, our practice of Self-Regulation may be in reframing our perspective and practicing self-compassion rather than beating ourselves up in our minds. Self-Regulation is where the rubber meets the road in practicing our 1% improvement.
And finally, as we build all of the previous pillars, we increase our levels of Self-Trust. Opening our Self-Awareness by exploring what we are doing and how we are feeling, and then practicing Self-Acceptance by truthfully recognizing where we already are, allow us to create a stable foundation for deep self-connection and trust. By making goal-oriented decisions around who we want to be through Self-Regulation, we begin to grow our Self-Efficacy and to believe that we can, in fact, bring about change. All of these actions contribute to our ability to trust our own deep, inner wisdom, making us more resilient as we navigate our way through life’s challenges.
Living in chronic stress, unhealthy patterns and unhelpful relationships with ourselves and others can break these pillars down. We may experience immobility and hopelessness, assuming that things will never change. But, change and growth are possible and we have the power within us to create the mind, body and life in which we want to live.
Taking one small step at a time, we can get to where we want to go and who we want to become.
This week, I invite you to explore these pillars in your own life. Find others who also want to explore their own lives. Reach out to me and we can chat about them together. Your growth depends on it.
I will be exploring right along with you.
Chat again soon,