We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Are you ready to change? Are you ready to discover yourself? At the end of this discovery, do you dare to be at the point you started? The point, who you are, whom you want to be.
Change occurs when one becomes what she is, not when she tries to become what she is not. Change does not take place through a coercive attempt by the individual or by another person to change her, but it does take place if one takes the time and effort to be what she is.
The paragraph above explains what the paradoxical theory of change is. According to this theory designing an ideal version of yourself is a discovery of who you really are. This journey of discovering yourself is full of questions to answer.
The first discovery is, in fact, the last point you want to arrive at. Your ideal version. Now ask yourself: Whom do I want to be? You are not required to respond verbally. Please take your time. Try to imagine her. Visualize her. Feel her. Talk to her. Meet her in person. When you feel familiar enough with your ideal version, get ready for the next discovery.
Now you know the arrival point. This journey to the ultimate destination starts from your current self. Then it is time to discover it. Here comes the second question: Who am I? This is, without a doubt, the most challenging question. Exploring ‘who you truly are’ requires a deep dive into your inner world. Try to feel your body, your heart, your breath, your pain, your happiness. All of your feelings and emotions will introduce you to your current self. Do not forget: Each emotion is a piece of data.
From now on, you know where to start and where to arrive. Then, the next discovery is how to start. We all know that a lifelong journey just starts with a single step. That very first step is also the biggest one which requires you to lean on trustworthy resources. Those resources are your strengths. To discover your strengths, ask yourself: What do my current and ideal versions have in common? Those commonalities arise from your first and second discoveries. Compare them and make a note of your shared feelings.
However, there will undoubtedly be differences between the ideal and existing selves. Those are the gaps that need to be filled in, just like potholes on the road. Don’t be concerned about your gaps; development is built on them. Your learning agenda is created by examining your gaps as well as your strengths.
Once the learning agenda is organized, experimentation shall begin. Experimentation entails pretending to be your ideal version while relying on your strengths and being aware of your gaps to fill. Try to figure out how your strengths help and how those gaps impede you. Experiment again and again – practice makes perfect.
From the very beginning, I am aware that all of the writing feels like this is a lonesome journey. Don’t be afraid. You do not have to be alone. Quite the contrary, this journey necessitates a final question to answer: How can I develop trusting relationships that will help, support, and encourage me in this journey? Don’t forget: our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Find someone to hold your hand when you get trapped in a pothole on your route.
*The methodology described in this post is adapted from Boyatzis’s theory of Self-Directed Learning.