But there certainly are areas where I see people make the same mistakes again and again and again, and you don’t have to be one of them
If that is, you avoid the following 7 self development deadly(ish) sins:
1: Thinking Being Hard On Yourself Is The Best Way Forward
I have been beating this drum so long I’ve had to have it re-skinned six times, but I shall never stop while there’s strength in my arms and some breath in my body, so let’s get it over with.
You simply cannot be the best person you can be by being hard on yourself 24/7.
I’ve never had a client tell me beating themselves up achieved anything other than feeling shit about life and hammering their self-esteem.
The usual refrain at this point is, “But if I go easy on myself I’ll never achieve anything”
Bollocks, bollocks, and thrice I say bollocks.
I’ll tell you what, let’s make a deal.
You go easy on yourself for a week, and if at the end of that period you feel worse about things, I’ll happily Tweet than I’m the worlds most incompetent Life Coach.
Treat yourself as you would a younger family (preferably one you like and no the brat of a nephew who picks his nose all the time and you could happily punch in the face) and demonstrate compassion and empathy.
Self-compassion is not self-indulgence, it’s not self-centered and it’s not selfish.
It is sensible, productive, and the right thing to do however. And the huge upside is, people who feel good about themselves are far more likely to be successful.
2: Thinking Stability And/Or Security Are Achievable
Working with clients through their values is the most important work I do (which is why I wrote (Aligning With Your Core Values) and it’s crucial that I understand what really, drives them from the ground up.
I see the values of ‘security’ and/or ‘stability’ regularly on the lists clients send me before we go through the process.
Even though I will leave them in for the purposes of the exercise I will always explain afterward that they aren’t really values.
And the reason they can’t be values is because they’re completely unattainable.
Rich people go bankrupt, healthy people get sick, successful businesses get shut down and good marriages go wrong.
Not only that, but we all die no matter how stable or secure we think we are.
I’m not saying be reckless and never plan for the future.
I am saying though, don’t chase security and stability because you won’t achieve them for anything but a fleeting moment in time.
All you will do is make dealing with negative situations like a job loss, marriage break down or serious silliness harder when they do arrive.
It is possible to be secure and stable in the fact that you can never be secure and stable.
Amazingly enough meditation will help you on that front, so check it out.
3: Thinking There’s Something Wrong With You If You Don’t Know What Your Goals In Life Are
If I read one more time on a self development blog or hear from one more Life Coach that everybody should know what their big goals in life are and what they are passionate about I may well just put a gun to my head.
Or better still, their head.
At least half of my clients have no clue as to what they want out of life, they just know they want more.
And guess what?
It’s my job to help them get clarity on what they want, not sit back and refuse to work with people that aren’t half way there.
The reason I give away a comprehensive book on goal setting to people who subscribe to my newsletter, is because goal setting is easy.
I can teach you how to set goals in half an hour and you really don’t need to hire a Life Coach to do so.
Knowing what goals to set is another matter altogether though, and that can often be the tricky part.
If you are feeling down on yourself because you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up, see sin #1 and chill.
Maybe you’re not meant to know yet, or maybe you just need some help?
The one thing I know for sure though is that there are hundreds of millions of people worldwide just like you, speaking of which….
4: Thinking You’re More Weird Than Everybody Else
On a fairly regular basis I see the, “You’re not going to believe this” look on a clients face.
It’s the look that tells me they think they’re about to tell me something that will have me scrambling for the straight jacket and pepper spray.
When (as is always the case) I don’t bat an eyelid, there is a moment of doubt that I heard them properly.
That’s followed by uncertainty about my mental state because I’m not looking a lot more concerned at their obvious confession of raging insanity.
And finally, they look relieved when I explain I’m not worried because I’ve heard it a hundred times before and they’re nothing like as nuts as they presumed they were, because they’re just a Human Being with Human being type issues.
You may well think you’re a bit weird and that your problems are a tad worse than others, but you’re almost certainly wrong.
We’re all a bit weird!
Of course I can’t say for sure you’re not beyond the pale, but I’m fairly sure. In 7 years of Life Coaching hundreds of clients I can only remember working with one client who genuinely had me thinking, “WTF!!! Please somebody help me”
5: Thinking Somebody Else Can Tell You How It Is For You
I’m a Life Coach and as such some people when they first contact me think it is my job to tell them what to do.
My job is to ask great self development questions and help them to think about things differently so they can hopefully use that new perspective to make beneficial changes.
I’m really happy and grateful you read my blog, but please understand this. I don’t know now, and indeed never will know, exactly how it is for you.
I know how it is for me, and I can guess how it may be for you based on my experience in working with others, but that’s as far as I will ever go.
You have to make your own path in life.
Sure you can read, you can watch, you can gather advice from people who you respect and you can even hire a Life Coach if you’re a wise soul.
But, in the final analysis you have to take full responsibility (and see #1 if you think that means being tough on yourself) and decide what’s right for you.
And yes, before you ask, that does apply to this post. If it doesn’t resonate or make sense to you, then ignore it, and me for that matter.
6: Thinking That Next Thing Will Make You Happy
Do you exist in the 20% world like so many people?
People who believe 20% more money will make them happy. Or a 20% bigger house will finally allow them to be content. Or maybe even 20% more qualifications means they are smart enough.
You’re intelligent (don’t argue, see #1) and I’m going to presume you know that happiness comes from the inside out and not vice versa.
Research in positive psychology suggests 10% of your happiness levels are dictated by your environment, 50% is genetic and 40% is your attitude.
Knowing that as you do, what would stop you fine-tuning your attitude to be happier (presuming you want to be happier that is) rather than busting your balls trying to change your environment.*
Do the math. An attitude adjustment is not only easier, it’s way more likely to be successful.
* Note: Even if you do change your environment unless it’s something serious like getting out of an abusive relationship hedonic adaptation will soon kick in and you will be back to square one wanting more.
7: Thinking You Have To Have All The Answers
Are you the kind of person that has to read one more book before you can start your own business, or attend one more workshop before you can start to implement the self development advice you already have?
You probably don’t.
Sometimes you just need to get up off your ass and do it. Sometimes you have to be relaxed knowing you don’t have all the answers and that you never will have. And I do mean never!
So there you have it. I’m sure there are lots more deadly sins and if you have some please let me know in the comments.
My next post is going to be purely and simply to advise you about some amazing training that is coming up soon in Colorado and Washington DC.
Even though it’s NLP, it’s not just for coaches and people who work in the therapeutic fields. It’s also for people that take their own self development very seriously and it being conducted by some of the best trainers in the field of NLP.
If that’s not your kind of thing, feel free to ignore, but if you do want to read about some ground breaking training, then check back on Wednesday. And if you have no idea what NLP is, check out my post, NLP: Science Or Magic?