I’ve always been interested in self-development and getting to know myself better. I want to live an Extraordinary Life, not an ordinary one, and understanding my inner workings is what is making that happen. Self-development is a daily practice, though, not a one-time deal. Just like any other skill, you can deepen your understanding and learn new strategies the more you do it. Last month I had a great reminder of this, one that may help motivate you to improve your daily practices, too.
One of my daily habits is to write out what I’m grateful for. At the top of the list is always family and friends; especially now, as my father-in-law passed away suddenly this summer. As a result, I made two trips down to Colombia. The first was to attend his funeral with our family, and the second was to support my husband and attend family events.
I spent almost two weeks there, and when I first arrived, my Spanish was very rusty. By the end of the second trip, I’d picked up a bit more, but it still wasn’t great. Luckily, my husband’s family all speak very good English, so we could communicate. Still, when anything emotional was happening, they would all slip back into their native language. Despite listening carefully, I could only get the gist of what they were saying and I missed out on a lot.
Toward the end of the trip, one of my husband’s cousins took me aside. He said he hoped we could all spend more time down there, and be more than occasional visitors. My husband has a huge family in Colombia, and I want to foster those relationships. So as soon as we got home, I bought the Duolingo family plan, and I’ve been practicing every day since. I’m hoping that the next time we visit, I’ll understand more of what’s happening around me and be able to connect with the family more.
Personal development is the same as learning a new language! Sure, I could manage with basic Spanish skills, but to truly connect with others, I need to deepen my knowledge. So, if I want to connect with myself better, I need to practice those skills, too. It takes practice to peel back the layers and see what we’re really made of.
To understand those deeper motivations, dreams, and reasons for our feelings, we need to practice every day. There are lots of ways to do this, including meditation, journaling, asking yourself the right questions, and having people on your team guiding you. This could be a friend, counselor, or a whole community of like-minded people who are deepening their self-understanding alongside you.
When I was in Colombia, it helped my language skills a lot because there were others around me speaking it all day. I love belonging to a self-development community for the same reasons; when I’m struggling, I have others to turn to for insight and inspiration who know what I’m trying to accomplish. They are speaking the same self-development “language” as me.
What are you currently doing in your daily self-development practice? If you need some ideas, check out these past blog posts and podcasts: Tools for Feeling Good and this one on Improving Your Positivity. And if the idea of a self-development community sounds good to you, too, hop on the waitlist for the new, improved Extraordinary Life Tribe that I’m working on right now. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
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