We are in the hamster wheel and miss the opportunity to appreciate who we have become.
Have you ever come across a past version of yourself and felt dismayed at the “old you?” I’ve been going through this exact experience recently. A better way to look at these moments, however, is to admire how far you’ve come! I’ve decided to make this “aha” experience a habit, to encourage my personal evolution—and here’s how you can too.
An Unexpected Look Back
After 6 years in business, I’ve been revamping my website. Going through the old files, I have found pieces of myself I had forgotten about. This experience reminds me that change is constant and change happens painlessly if we allow it to happen naturally without resisting.
I could not have imagined back then who I would have become today nor what my brand would eventually stand for. My growth has been enormous! If I hadn’t lingered over these snapshots of my life and business from 2011-12, I might have missed what was going on.
What an empowering experience, to pause and experience appreciation for change! When was the last time you did this—really examined who you are and how far you have grown to become who you are today?
These moments are opportunities to boost our “strong egos.” Ego is often defined negatively, but there are two sides to the coin. According to Bruce D. Schneider, Founder of the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (Ipec), weak ego is characterized by defining ourselves against other people’s perceptions. When someone has a strong ego, however, they take charge and define themselves by their own self-awareness and self-acceptance. (Which would you rather have?)
Appreciation Strengthens Confidence and “Strong Ego”
By regularly appreciating who you are and what you have accomplished, you can build the kind of healthy ego that comes not from competing or fighting with others but from your own amazing evolution.
Experiencing appreciation for change boosts our ability to expand ourselves, to create new opportunities in our lives, careers, and families, relationships, and communities. Imagine if every day, people everywhere took just five mins to appreciate who they are and what they had accomplished since the day before, last week, last month, or a year ago! What if we noticed what change is happening, that it’s happening for good, and what we have wrought?
In my recent experience, I initially looked at what I found the wrong way—with much judgment at first, thinking only about how backwards I and my business were six years ago! That state of mind didn’t last long, however, because I walked myself through the process from Episode 20: Let Go of Judgment. Only then did I see the truth: how far I’d come.
After that process, I could reread pieces from my first newsletters in October 2011 and find them cute instead of cringing. I was impressed with my boldness, trying to write in English when I was not fluent. I remembered how tiring it was to expose myself, naked like that, without using a proofreader.
Today, I communicate with podcasts and videos, a natural evolution. I love it and I’m more active while speaking this way. Yet writing those monthly articles for four years gave me the confidence to speak with you here. I am grateful for every step of this amazing process!
Appreciation is a gift we can give regularly and easily to ourselves without searching for external approval. How can you work this into your routines? Here is a brief version of this process.
1. Prepare the Ground: Consider Where You Were 5 Years Ago
Pause for a moment and consider these questions. Pausing like this will help you access the gifts that sometimes are hidden in change. Review your last five years:
- Who were you five years ago? Where were you living, who were you spending your time with? How was your hair? What was your personal and organizational brand?
- What events changed you, painful or not?
As you think about it, you could look at the pictures, old written pieces or projects you worked on. Open a few of them and gently notice what you have accomplished since then. You will love doing this! I encourage you to spend your time this week reflecting on where you were five—or even more—years ago. Engage others in this process too. Have fun!
2. Fertilize the Soil: Reflect on Your Changes
Now that you have noticed how you were, remembered your successes and maybe even the failures that became stepping stones, how do you compare to the person you were five years ago? Take a few moments to appreciate the journey you have been on, whether its twists and turns went as expected, or took you down new avenues.
Consider these questions, ideally writing your answers:
- What bold moves did you make to be who you are today? What strengths or positive attributes does that reveal about you?
- What did it take for you to take action? Were you pushed? Did you choose to? Were you advised to take any action? What does that reveal positively about you?
Do also listen to the podcast episode 021, The Cost of Inaction, so you can put a financial value on your amazing changes of the last few years. Self-development is valuable!
3. Planting the Seeds of Change: Create a Routine of Appreciation
Wayne Dyer has written, “Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.” (Source: https://www.drwaynedyer.com/blog/a-perfect-world/)
This last step is where we create a routine of appreciation, so you do not have to wait another five years to recognize your talents nor wait to love who you are. Consciously observe and intentionally take action to grow towards excellence and abundance.
This practice of appreciation will impact your productivity, your energy, your engagement in life, your career, your projects. It may even affect the perception of your clients or customers. Let me know how you work it into your life. I look forward to hearing how it goes!
Be sure to share your experiences and thoughts online here or in our social media. What gifts have you discovered about yourself by looking at the changes you have undergone?