Ditch the Resolutions, Embrace Evergreen Growth
How are your New Year's resolutions holding up?
My Resolution This Year:
Ditch the Resolutions, Embrace the Evergreen
I'm not a big fan of dramatic, all-or-nothing resolutions. I'll share my overriding one for the year, which is probably fairly universal and a bit bland-sounding: I simply want to keep learning and growing, both professionally and personally. A more specific aim within that goal is to cultivate greater calmness and self-compassion—through meditation, mantras, and mindful nudges towards inner calm.
Again, maybe not the most exciting or original-sounding goals, but we all know the difference between knowing something is true and that we want it, and actually doing the work to achieve it. That requires discipline, smart strategies, consistency and the understanding that there will be ups and downs along the way.
These same aspirations – continuous learning, personal growth, and inner peace – are also present in the goals of my clients. The goals they have often involve recognizing and letting go of unhelpful patterns, and creating and fostering new ones that help shape who they are becoming.
From "Shrill" to Serene
I worked with a woman leader who transformed her image from "shrill-sounding," according to a tactless colleague, to "authoritative." After recognizing the fact that she was holding her breath during meetings, so that when she went to speak sounded pushed, panicky and not in control, we worked to replace it with conscious diaphragmatic breathing, so that when she went to speak she sounded calm, credible, and pleasantly resonant. This visible change undoubtedly contributed to her well-deserved promotion at her next performance review.
You might like to read Talking About Voice...
Another client sought to speak up clearly instead of mumbling, using a monotone, or holding on to other habits that diminished his presence and expressiveness. In addition to the more technical exercises we did, one important reminder for him, and this is probably relevant to many of us, is that our voices are unique and deserve to be heard. He also found humor helpful, saying, "I imagine my ancestors cheering me on from the great beyond. They probably mumbled too, so let's make them proud!"
Becoming a great communicator is a lifelong journey. It's also a deeply human one. Just like a yogi continually strives for mastery over the mind and enlightenment, we're always working to become more fully ourselves, more articulate, and more actualized. Similarly, a black belt in karate understands that learning never ends and that pushing their physical and mental limits is a continuous pursuit. We are never finished, but continually strive to become better versions of ourselves.
The gift that my work provides me is that I am constantly reminded and challenged to be better, while staying authentic. I gain fresh perspectives on shared human struggles and professional and personal communication challenges, helping me to become a better clinician and person, myself.
So, here's a toast to all of my clients – my teachers – and to all of us who conscientiously strive towards greater self-discovery, growth, kindness—to ourselves and others, and a continuous sense of curiosity, wonder, and gratitude.
What's one small step you can take today towards your own personal growth?