“This work is about nice people getting nicer.”
Those words really spoke to me. Can you guess why?
If you're thinking that I belonged to the ranks of those people – largely women – who don't feel terribly good about themselves, you'd be right. So, the words: “nice people getting nicer” gave me hope. Maybe it would work for me, too. Maybe I could get rid of that secret “If-they-knew-what-I-was-really-like... part of me” and become the person I thought I might be.
That was the start of my journey of personal development. (My Long Night’s Journey Into DayJ)
As a coach, I've been privileged to help many other people – largely women – along their journey of discovery.
That journey is not just about nice people becoming nicer – although that, in itself, is pretty impressive. It's a profoundly holistic journey. It's about nice people discovering the treasure inside their own heads - and hearts. It's about nice people discovering who they truly are, as opposed to who they fear that they may be. It's about nice people laying the demons of the past so they can have the rich, full life they deserve. That internal journey is at least as exciting and enriching as any journey you could take in the outside world.
Recently, I've been privileged to work with a Russian lady. She'd have said she was very ordinary. What she is NOT is a supermodel, living and working internationally. But nor is she ordinary – except in her own assessment. She is a 'normal' Russian, insofar as she is living in Russia, doing a fairly unremarkable job. And she is driven, probably more than most, by the pain, rejection, and and self-criticism resulting from a difficult childhood.
Olga was totally convinced that she was ordinary, which meant that there were a ton of things she couldn’t know about herself. She couldn’t know that she is exceptionally bright and emotionally intelligent. She couldn’t know that she is unusually innovative, and entrepreneurial. And, of course - because she, too laboured with the “If-they-knew-what-I-was-really-like...” virus, she couldn’t know that she is a truly delightful woman.
My Russian runs to 4 words. On a good day. Her English is – fortunately – almost as good as mine, which is another talent she undervalued. Olga had always worked on the basis that if she can do something, it can't be worth much. (Now, there’s is a belief that you, too, may just recognise in yourself, if you take a moment to check how highly you value your own talents and abilities.)
This week when Olga and I met over Skype, she had the BIGGEST smile on her face.
She told me how her relations with the world at large – friends, co-workers, acquaintances - have changed. Because she's discovered she doesn't have the “If-they-knew-what-I-was-really-like...” virus any more. Which makes it really easy for her to let people like and appreciate her. Her relationship with her father has also improved out of all recognition. Since she's become aware that he has ‘an unfortunate way of expressing himself’, although his heart is in the right place, they have a much closer, and more harmonious connection. What’s more, she's not just on her way to getting a better job, she now sees how she can set up her own business, targeting an in demand niche she hadn't even realized she was good at!!
Better still, yesterday, she understood something absolutely mind-blowing. She understood how she can go, in a matter of minutes, from the “I can't do X” mind-block to “Oh, wow! So, this is how I take that block out of the picture, and get past it.” Not just once, or twice. But routinely, for any number of different blocks.
Lovely Olga now has the tools she needs to live her life wholeheartedly. Instead of tiptoeing around at the edges of her life, saying; “I'm not good enough to fill that space.”
I have a huge debt of gratitude to my first Alexander teacher to opening my eyes to the idea of nice people getting nicer.
And I'd like to add my own 'twist' to it. Personal development, at best, is not just about nice people getting nicer – that is 'doing' nicer – it's really about nice people feeling far nicer, about every area of their life, and radiating out a different message. Like lovely Olga does.
And as lovely Olga is discovering, more or less on a daily basis, when you're feeling nicer about your life – about every area of your life – you have so much more of value to share. Which means that other people perceive the value you bring much more clearly.
Makes sense, doesn't it
So, the key question is: is that something you truly want for yourself?