Self-realisation > fulfilment of one’s own potential
Some of us are on a quest for extraordinary achievements in our lifetime. Others barely manage to make it through the day. Many of us are somewhere in between on the sliding scale of self-realisation. Or more simply put – being the best version of ourselves, in every moment, of every day, however challenging and difficult circumstances are.
Whether that’s climbing Everest, or making it to work on time; saving a life, or spreading good cheer when everyone is down.
At least that is how I see self-realisation. Being able to rise to any occasion – good or bad – and give it our best. It is less about the size of achievement, accomplishment or potential fulfilled – though these are nonetheless to be admired.
Having previously worked with the London Symphony Orchestra for many years on various communications, writing and training projects, I was in complete awe of the consistent superhuman quality of music making that the 100 piece Orchestra created. The discipline, the talent, the hard work are testament to those fulfilling their extraordinary potential, and delivering it daily – for the inspiration and pleasure of music lovers worldwide, across all walks of life.
Part of the work I did with the LSO was to write exclusive feature articles in an internal newsletter for UBS – at the time their principal partner. This meant interviewing some of the Orchestra’s musicians, such as their Leader, First Violinist Roman Simovic, and Principal Percussionist, Neil Percy. Behind the staggering external facing brilliance of these outstanding players lay other humbler challenges. Roman, to his joy – at the time of my interview – had become a first time father. His quest for extraordinary achievement had changed dramatically. He was now managing the impact of sleepless nights, whilst still playing at world-class peak performance during each of his multiple concert commitments. Respect.
Self-realisation (or fulfilling our own potential) changes as our lives change.
Mine has. My own potential has changed shape as life wears on. My expectations of what is achievable and what is not, have become clearer. We must adapt to the here and now reality of our own potential too.
The ‘bumper sticker’ mentality that encourages people to believe ‘dreams come true’ – though filled with positive intent – does fall short of taking people’s individuality into account. What is possible for one person is usually far from possible for another. There are so many variables in individuals’ personal capabilities, emotional history, and current status quo, that ‘blanket’ life counsel is hardly a viable, lasting fix.
As I mentor groups and individuals, I am struck by how hard people are on themselves. (I’ve been there so can easily relate). Frustration at feeling they have yet to reach their peak, or their preferred work scenario takes over. Self-blame at under achieving based on goals is rife. Anxiety at life passing by without ample attainment for the effort made is prolific.
We are somehow wired or taught to focus on the what is not working, or what is missing from our lives, rather than look at the parts that are working well, and what we have.
Drawing on yoga philosophy and my own practice of yoga, as well as my interest and self-study into zen writings, I have found these themes extremely useful in my mentoring approach, and tools I have developed for people I mentor:
- Self-observation / being aware of how we behave, what we say, how we say it, the impact it has on ourselves and on others
- Self-acceptance / recognising this is where and how we are right now – no matter how far off from where we’d like to be – also, knowing work to self-improve has to be done
- Self-understanding / how and why we act, and repeat actions no matter how ridiculous or unhelpful they are
- Self-discipline / consistently repeating desirable forms of behaviour – catching ourselves when we revert to old habits before returning to consistent self-effort
- Self-realisation / or self-actualisation when we achieve our full creative or intellectual potential
To fulfil our own potential (or at least attempt to), we must observe, accept, understand and apply self-discipline. No easy task. This approach may be used systematically as ‘blanket’ life counsel – however the way each individual responds, and how that response unfolds is entirely personal to each and everyone of us. Since the here and now moment we are each in varies tremendously, from one day to the next.
There are days we may feel fully self-realised, and the next it’s like we are back at the beginning of our journey towards fulfilling our own potential. Our enthusiasm deflates, our opinion of ourselves plummets, and we’re back to feeling frustrated, as well as wielding self-blame and anxiety. The trick is to observe this, and get back on the ‘self-realisation’ cycle as soon as humanly possible.
I find the depth mentoring work I do with individuals (women and men working in architecture, the arts, and wellness currently) very fulfilling of my own potential. And from what they tell me, theirs too.
Individual mentoring programmes available include
- 6 month programme / 2 hours per month / focusing on specific themes such as self-confidence, self-esteem, leadership skills, effective communication, verbal skills, writing skills, facilitation skills to name a few
- One off intensive workshop / 4 hours / identifying human brand values, establishing work and life needs, exploring dreams, writing up a realistic 12-month action plan
- 4 – 6 hourly sessions / via skype or face to face / as a follow up to the above workshop or as stand alone / building on themes and actions identified in the workshop, or tackling the themes one by one as outlined in the above workshop
- One off hourly sessions / 1 hour / guidance on very specific, immediate work and life challenges, such as career moves, preparing for performance reviews, handling a project crisis
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for a conversation about your individual mentoring needs.
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© Amanda Yensa Manor 2017