Building up personal skills and self belief can take time and often the pathway is a few steps forward and a few back. This kind of journey benefits from some guidance and feedback but most of all support. I always liken it to having a travel guide showing you the way, the best areas, places to avoid, showing how far you have travelled, as well as some sights, and milestones to acknowledge on the way.
What got me thinking about this? We are having some building work done on the house. We are building the kitchen in a different place so we can have a utility room (I have three dogs and need an area for them). This has taken a great deal of planning and preparation. It was hard to imagine in the first place how the end product would look as it was a dream in my head to have my ideal kitchen. The key for us was find the right builder and this took time.
In the early stages it was mess, mud and dust and I certainly wondered whether it was worth it in the long run. We have great builders who have supported and advised along the way. In the middle stages it seemed as if we were getting no where and last week the scaffolding came down and the windows and doors went in. Wow! I could finally see the frame and structure and that the effort, discomfort and disruption was worth it as finally I could see the end in sight. It is no different for us as we often wonder if the journey is worth when dealing with personal development.
It struck me that building our extension is similar to aiming to improve and develop oneself. You need a plan, structure and support. Like with an extension sometimes there has to be compromise you can aim high however in reality you may be expecting or asking too much. We often look back and say “if only” it is better to say “what did I learn?” and “what would I do next time?” You cannot change the past however you can do things differently in the future and learn from mistakes and feedback.
It surprised me that when the scaffolding was taken down and the rubbish removed how great our extension looked. When dealing with human beings it is easy to hang onto support and not acknowledge what a great individual there is and what the journey of self development has achieved. Those finishing touches and fine tuning are the icing on the cake if the basic structure is sound.
During the planning for the new kitchen we made many mistakes and have tinkered with it until we are happy. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating (excuse the pun!). It is the same with us as individuals we need a plan however it needs to be flexible. We are unique individuals and like with any building new or old it will have its quirks and differences. So it is with us we are all unique and we need to embrace who we are and negotiate life taking these into account.
Self reflection can be a good tool to use if it is used wisely, the trouble is we can be over critical and not acknowledge what we had done right and what has worked. Like with any building project it might have to be done in stages. We have certainly had to take this project in stages due to time and finance. So time and resources are important too with individuals. The biggest thing for us was finding the right builder. It is the same with support when you are trying to build skills confidence and self-belief finding the right support is key. You need to ask yourself what works for me? Do you need individual support, face to face, one to one, group, peer, online or self help?
The first step is recognising how you learn and reflect. What helps to motivate you and spur you on? It will be different for each of us. It is easy to sit in a chair and wish that things were different, without a plan nothing will happen. Deciding on the first step however small is the start.
Everyone is different and what works for one does not always work for another. We learn in different ways and some of us are good at self reflection while others need a group, a buddy or professional to help them. Like starting to plan an extension without a plan the idea is just that an idea.