There are many paths to developing inner leadership. In Part I of this series, I shared with you the importance of setting goals and following your deepest calling that leads you toward your purpose, or your individual path.
This month’s topic is the path of self-awareness.
We all have self-limitations that prevent us from soaring into the positive action that allows us to live our life with purpose and meaning. Leading from within is essential to our success as practitioners.
The Path of Self-Awareness
Reclaiming your magnificence is an essential aspect of leading from within. Inner work is the process of knowing, healing and harmonizing one’s inner life—it is the essence of your personal and professional growth. It is your inner life that influences your perceptions, desires, thoughts and actions.
Awareness precedes change. To achieve true freedom, you must understand yourself. Remember; your actions are the expression of what’s going on inside.
It is important to reflect on your basic beliefs, attitudes and habits you live with every day. If you were to look at how you judge yourself and limit your sense of joy and well-being, you might understand how you limit your potential and remain in your comfort zone.
Awareness allows you to be conscious of your conditioning and limiting mindset, which can be the foundation of freeing the mind from it. Leading from within includes self- reflection, which can help you travel the path of self- awareness.
Know thyself is an invitation many of us are familiar with and know to be an ancient truth.
There is a gap in our life called the knowing-doing gap, meaning there is an enormous difference between what we know and what we do.
This gap becomes larger and wider as we age because we continually seek information in order to gain knowledge.
Don’t get me wrong; I believe knowledge is sacred. However knowledge alone does not create change. Information is not necessarily transformational. This gap is often the common thread that limits our ability as practitioners to achieve the results we desire.
As a teacher and mentor in our profession for over 25 years, I have been witness to this common frustration amongst practitioners. They often share with me their need to know more and gain more knowledge; then believing all will be OK.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.
It is not always the lack of knowledge or training that is missing in a practitioner’s life; it is becoming clear on what you want instead of what your past imposes on you. And this imposition is often found in our knowing-doing gap.
Let’s explore three primary ingredients of understanding our knowing-doing gap:
1. Mind and body.
There are two parts to our mind:
Conscious mind—gathers information. It is called our educated mind or logical mind. Knowledge, training and education land in our conscious mind. Remember; gaining more knowledge does not necessarily lead to your desired result.
Sub-conscious mind—causes our body to do what it does. Why we behave as we do rests in our sub- conscious mind, often without any conscious thought. The sub-conscious mind is the primary cause of our results.
Paradigm is a term used to describe a multitude of habits that become fixed in our sub-conscious mind. We often call it our programming. This programming is filled with our individual beliefs, habits and attitudes that either serve us well or continue to limit us.
Our programming developed in our “little life,” and through repetition has become habit—and most behavior is habit.
As a massage therapy practitioner, you may have taken a business mastery course; learning practice building skills such as networking, marketing, advertising and practice management.
You leave class thrilled and determined to build a private practice, and two years later you find yourself struggling or still working for someone else. What is getting in your way? Is it lack of knowledge or is it the limiting beliefs you hold in your heart?
You may have learned skillful communication around asking your client for the next appointment.
The time comes at the end of the session and you find yourself full of fear and resistance to what you know. Your client leaves and you never see them again. Not acting on what you know can feel very limiting and frustrating.
The power of practicing what we know and who we want to become is the promoter of our being.
3. Your personal map.
It is important to remember we are all capable of so much more than most of us are aware of.
I believe one of the most liberating things in the world is becoming aware of our conditioned thoughts and beliefs we carry inside that prevent us from doing what we know we want to do, and then taking the necessary action to move toward what we truly desire.
For one person, a map might say, “I am too shy to move into private practice. I cannot see myself networking and marketing.”
For another a map might say, “I really would like to teach, but what would I teach? I have nothing to offer,”
Another’s person’s map might say, “I would really like to create a healing center; but I have no idea how to do it.”
And the list goes on.
Fear is often disguised as your personal map, as are personal excuses that prevent us from living the life you desire.
I have experienced the above scenarios, along with many other limiting beliefs I placed on myself when I first began working in this profession. I made a decision to do the inner work that was necessary in order to have and live the life I desired.
That was 25 years ago. I continue on the path of self-understanding and wise action. My journey remains a daily decision and commitment not only to myself, but to my clients, my students and all those I am privileged to serve.
The Power of Practice when Leading From Within
Leading from within includes learning to make quiet space for yourself, accessing mindful presence, journaling with self-inquiry, yielding into what is present for you and knowing thyself.
Think of a specific situation in your professional life where you are not getting the results you want. Write it out in as much detail as possible. Now in as much detail, describe the same situation, but in the way you truly want it to be.
Become aware of both your nonproductive activities and your productive activities. Write them down on two separate sheets of paper.
Throw away or physically shred the sheet with your non-productive activities listed, and read and practice your productive activities daily. Learn to turn productive activities into the results you desire.
Remember, it is behavior that causes results. Ask yourself, What is causing my behavior? Identify and list five new behaviors you will begin to practice that will move you closer to your goal.
Practice stillness and silence daily. Clear out self-limiting beliefs.
Write on an index card and repeat every day for 30 days, 10 times per day: Yes I can, yes I will.
Continue to nourish your self-understanding.
“Be Empowered As a Brand-New Massage Therapist, Part III.” will publish on March 15.
Editor’s note: Download your free copy of the New Practitioner eBook, The Blueprint for a Successful Massage Career.
About the Author
Kathy Ginn, LMT, BCTMB, is the creator of Life Empowered Institute. She is a body-centered Hakomi practitioner, Proctor-Gallagher Thinking into Results consultant, teacher and mentor. She offers body-centered coaching and continuing education focusing on personal and professional development along with courses in Ethics as Right Use of Power. Her courses are offered through webinars and experiential classroom learning. Ginn is a regular contributor to MASSAGE Magazine, and her articles include “The Soil and the Seeds: Grow a Garden of Regular Clientele.”