During the course of the work that I have been doing with my clients, I have noticed that many of my clients experience a fair degree of trouble in terms of being the best they can be, and achieve their own stated potential. And this applies to ANY aspect that I want to become better in/at. This could also be a useful approach to elegantly handling one's own ignorance and learning. The only constant in life is change, and if I am constantly learning, then I am constantly growing. And the beauty is that this article itself written initially two years back and in re-editing, I have learnt a lot and the article has become, in my thinking, a little better than it was then!
The A7 Process for Personal Growth, is being Awake, becoming Aware, being Attentive, Acknowledging, Accepting where one is, and then exploring Alternatives, and finally Achieving the desired results.
Awake – First, I must be awake - and willing to consider what I am doing. Whether I am achieving my potential, and whether I am awake to all that is happening within and around me. Without this, it is the same as a person who is asleep – I might not be conscious of anything that is happening within and around me.
Aware – Second, with being awake, I must be aware of goings on within and around me. And the FIRST time I become aware of something, either by myself, or through feedback given to me, there is hope for growth. This awareness includes being able to recognize the very subtle signals that are being given by me and others that I interact with. And since Awareness is more than half the solution, this is extremely important to the process of growth.
Attentive – Third, being Attentive to what I have become aware of, brings me more data and insight into the behavior, approach, reactions or responses that I currently make use of in the situations. And with being attentive, I can start gathering data, and information that is useful for me to find solutions.
Acknowledge – Fourth, whatever it is that I become aware of, I must acknowledge. This is a lot like standing in front of the mirror and acknowledging what the mirror reflects. If I do not acknowledge the reflection, there is precious little I can do in terms of making changes that might be beneficial to me. Similarly, with all aspects of my life, I need to acknowledge the inputs, information and feedback that I get to be able to male changes.
Accept – Fifth, once I acknowledge, I need to accept myself as I am, and others and they are. This is very similar to acknowledging, however it is more powerful and useful to accept things as they are. If I intend to travel from Place A to Place B, I first need to accept that I am in Place A. Once I accept that, then making changes and getting to Place B is possible.
Alternatives – Sixth, I need to then explore “alternatives” to making the changes that need to be made. As has been said before, “If I want something I have not had before in life, I need to do something I have never done before in life.” And, “Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, is madness.” I will be well served to explore alternatives – this might include learning new things and asking others for help. Once I have a few alternatives to the current behaviour, then I have the ability to make choices that will help me achieve what I want – for myself, and for others.
Achieve – Seventh, with all this being practiced consistently, chances are that I will achieve that which I want to achieve, and make me happy. And this cycle starts all over again. And hopefully it is an upward, enabling and positive cycle. Here, the 7th A can also be used to hold myself "Accountable" to an Accountability Partner and Adhering to my commitments, with discipline. Anything that I want to achieve, needs me to be constantly focused on it, and acting on it every day. Like the old saying, drops of water make an ocean, and in achievement of any personal goal, it is the same.
There is a potential for another “A” in this process – that for “Apologise” – this can probably occur anywhere in this process, after the initial awareness. Especially if the “change” involves my behaviour and its effect on others. In those cases, if my behaviour has not been the most useful, I will be best served to apologise to those whom I have caused hurt.