Sunday, February 24, 2013

Self Discovery: Shifting Outdated Paradigms

Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is possible.
~Richard Jefferson~
When we find ourselves continuously repeating choices and behaviors that sabotage our ability to live our best life, this inner conflict often can be the result of psychological imprints, or root thoughts that occurred during childhood, adolescence and first time experiences. Our conditioned beliefs of early experiences often form what we think about who we are, what we are capable of achieving and what we believe we deserve in life. Our root beliefs influences us, consciously and unconsciously. To uncover root thoughts sabotaging our capacity to stay the course of a desire aim, we have to engage the process of self-discovery.
The process of self-discovery challenges us to question and contemplate how our present attitudes, beliefs about what's possible in our lives and the assumptions that we hold about people and ourselves get in our way of truly living the life that we are capable of creating. Self-discovery asks of us to test new ways of "being" through experimentation and exploration. The process can be challenging and exciting. It helps us to uncover the treasures within us, activates our faith and the strength of our spirit and empowers us to take purpose-filled actions to make that which is invisible visible in our life.

   
In his book, Quantum Leap Thinking, James Mapes identifies four levels of the discovery cycle. They are listed as follows from the lowest to the highest:
Level 4: You Don't Know You Don't Know.
Mapes writes, "This is the lowest level in the Cycle of Discovery. You are unaware of anything but what you believe to be true. You can't see possibilities. For you, possibility does not exist."
When I was a single mother with two children, living in government subsidized housing my lack of exposure to varied possibilities during this season in my life led me to live for several years below my ability and potential. It was not until my life's path intersected with the late Pastor Cynthia Deberry of Abundant Life Ministries in Columbia, SC and I renewed my faith walk with the Lord did I become hungry for the truth of God's word regarding my life.
As I became willing to consider a different perspective on my situation, I was  able to recognize how my attitude and behaviors, not my circumstance, was the primary reasons why I was living below my ability and potential. I came to understand that our choices either leads to life or death in all aspects of our life. There will always be seedtime and harvest time. It was up to me to plant seeds for the harvest that I wanted to experience. I could choose differently and commit to purpose-filled actions that would enable me to experience life differently. I attended Church as a child, but this period of reckoning led me to learn about God so that I could know Him for myself. I learned though God's word, various teachings and confirmations that came as a result of my faith and prayers that God's plan for us is one of goodness and mercy. I didn't know what I didn't know until I was confronted with the truth of another way of being and living;  this truth would influence me to question the "lies of limitation" that I had believed about myself for some time.
Level 3: You Know You Don't Know.
Mapes describes this level  of discovery as "the stimulus to self-motivation or a mindset for defeat. It depends on how you decide to think. Are you embarrassed and defensive when you discover your lack of knowledge, or are you intrigued and excited?"
Having had some experience with major adversity and being able to rise above it, I knew that I could learn to do better as a single mother. Because of my previous life experiences, I was intrigued by the thought that God really wanted me to experience His goodness on the earth despite the choices that had resulted in my circumstance. I had had enough of blaming others and being angry about my situation. Majoring in pity parties was not going to help me help myself so that I could ensure a bright future for my children. To this day, I'm thankful to the Lord for giving me enough common sense to realize that I couldn't get different by continuing to do the same thing, day after day.
So I became a student of personal growth via my spiritual teachings. When I began this journey of self-discovery, I knew that I didn't have all the answers. I understood that as a lifelong learner, I would never have all the answers but I would learn how to find the answers that was most important to me at any particular time in my life. I committed to maintaining an open mind to wise counsel from whomever it would come through. I began to have more confidence in my ability to listen to my intuition and allow it to help me navigate my way forward. My trust in my intuition came as a result of my commitment to the spiritual practice of renewing my mind, day after day on spiritual teachings. I was in my early 20's at the time, I had a lot more to learn about life. 


Level 2: You Know You Know.
Mapes argues, "The danger in this level is trying too hard instead of letting go and trusting. You can assume a veneer of arrogance and pretense, like an actor who has memorized his or her lines but is still not believable because there is effort in his or her performance".
In 1985, I accepted a full-time housekeeper position with the Columbia Marriott hotel. Not knowing exactly how I would use this opportunity to create a better life for my children and I, the small voice in my spirit reassured me that I was in the right place at the right time. So I worked as unto the Lord exceeding the expectations for the position. Soon after my 90 days probation period, I was promoted into an Administrative Supervisor position. In this position, I would learn greater depths about the management of a housekeeping department, while learning how to develop supportive relationships within the hotel.
Four years later, I would become one of the opening Housekeeping Supervisors at the Columbia Courtyard NW location. In seven months, I was promoted as the Housekeeping Manager and from that position, I began to leverage my passion for Marriott, experience and knowledge into an award-winning department manager career.
In 1995, three months short of my ten-year anniversary with the company, I became the General Manager of Marriott's million-dollar plus Fairfield Inn property in Wilmington, NC. Paying attention to the still small voice in my spirit influenced by the Spirit of God and additional personal and professional training, I was able to successfully navigate Marriott's corporate structure in the face of daunting personal and professional obstacles.

Level 1: You Don't Know You Know.
Mapes asserts, "Through practice, an action become his or her character. The actor doesn't know he or she knows the lines, because he or she becomes the character. Much like a toddler who has learned how to walk, the child never gives thought to the walking process".
I am like a fish in water when I am taking the lead in my life, working in that capacity or helping others develop their leadership skills. When I began to sense that my career path was evolving into a new direction, I began to question my ability to hear the voice of my spirit. Instead, I resisted the truth. The more I resisted, the more it seemed that my life got more difficult than it had been in a very long time.

Instead of going with my intuition, I sought counsel from individuals who I considered to have been "smarter" than I. I had begun to place more value on external wisdom vs. my internal wisdom. This was a big mistake. It cost me years that I can't go back and retrieve. 

Today, as I pursue my writing and small business aspirations while working full-time as a sales associate at Ashley Furniture Homestore, I realize that these various responsibilities are no more difficult than when I navigated my leadership career with Marriott with school age children.
With the use of the Internet, I have found thousands of people who share their fears and doubts about new paths that shifted the outdated paradigms they held of themselves. I continue to be encouraged by these trailblazers. Their lives are proof positive of how we can continuously shift outdated paradigms of ourselves to grow into the person that we were destined to become.
And so, I embrace this cycle of discovery as I learn what I don't know and how I can use what I know to follow the path that leads me to take action that will help me manifest what is now, only visible in my imagination. This vision that stirs my soul keeps me focused and mindful of my time and what I actually accomplish in 24-hour timeframes.
I am confident that as we engage the process of self-discovery opportunities to grow our talents and enrich our skills will evolve in each of our lives. The Cycle of Discovery requires us to be curious about what is possible and be willing to pay attention to the messages that the Universe sends us. And once we gain insight on outdated perspectives, we can begin at once to do what we can to create a shift in our outlook on ourselves and life.
Not everyone peak in their 20's. Regardless of your age or what has happened in your life up to this point, you can exercise the greatest freedom we have, "the power of choice" to experience differently. New possibilities awaits each of us as we embrace the process of self-discovery and shift outdated paradigms that sabotage our capacity to create the desired state of living we want to experience. When we enlarge our vision of what's possible, we create space in our heart and mind to receive the wisdom necessary to successfully navigate our steps to reach our desired destinations.
What are some ways will you begin your self-discovery process? Share your comments below and the link to this post with your friends. Become an agent for positive change in the lives of others. Thanks in advance, Jackie.
It's Your Move ~Aspire Higher