10 Steps to Meaningful Change – Steps 4 & 5

If you missed last week’s post, we discussed the first 3 steps of the 10 Steps to Meaningful Change. In case you don’t have the time to read or review steps 1-3, here’s a brief recap:

Step 1. Have an Honest, Deep, Heart-to-Heart with Yourself

Ask yourself if you’re making you a priority. Are you accomplishing what you need to accomplish for you?

Step 2. Make a Dreams List

Think big. What would you love to do in life?

Step 3. Stop Dreaming and Start Doing

I asked you to make a list of up to 3 meaningful, obtainable, life goals.

Today, we’ll be discussing Steps 4 & 5. Once you’ve decided to move your personal goals and dreams to the top of life’s priority list, you need to continue the discussion with your inner-self. Identifying your goals is important, but honing in on what has prevented you from chasing them in the past is even more important. Thus, Step 4 is a critical point in the process of change.

Step 4. Ask Yourself: What’s Stopping Me From Pursuing My Dreams and Goals?

We all encounter obstacles in life that attempt to derail us from our intended journeys. These obstacles can be caused by outside forces, or they can be self-created, either along the way in your life or over time. Identifying both the external and the internal obstacles is key to unlocking the doors you’ll need to walk through if you have any chance of accomplishing your dreams. These obstacles are not necessarily skills, or strengths or weaknesses. We will discuss these factors in later later steps. Rather, obstacles are the doors that are shut between the room you’re in and the rooms you want to discover. Examples are: your present career prevents you from having the time to pursue what you really want to pursue, you lack the money needed to chase your dream, you don’t have nearly enough information to act upon, your support network won’t support your decisions, your health prevents you from putting in the time necessary to chase your goals and dreams, and others.

Make a list of the major obstacles in your life, both internal and external. Determine if these obstacles are valid, or if they exist out of fear, doubt, or insecurity. Sometimes life doesn’t allow complete freedom of choice without detrimental outfall, but ask yourself if the obstacles you’ve identified are truly unavoidable. You probably don’t have as many external obstacles as you think, and the internal obstacles you notice can probably be overcome with a change of mindset and habit. We’ll discuss this concept further in Step 7.

Study your list of dreams and goals and the real obstacles that are preventing you from pursuing them. Determine which is more important, which is more meaningful. Can you break down some barriers? If you focus on the obstacles, what can you do to remove them? Identify what action needs to be taken in order to do so, even if you are unable to take that action right now.

Remember, meaningful change can only come about through a process of honesty, self-realization, and belief in the importance of your life’s meaning. Removing obstacles will need to be done in order to move forward on a new path. In the next step, we will discuss the process by which you can begin to change the things you need to change.

Step 5 – Take “The Beach Ball True Me Self-Assessment”

We are not in a formal workshop, and trying to summarize this proprietary self-assessment in a few paragraphs is not feasible. What is feasible, though, is to summarize the process. Step 5 involves identifying the most important realizations about yourself in four major categories:

  • Values
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Geniuses

The “True Me Self-Assessment” identifies your unique list within each category so that you can then take specific action based upon your findings.

We start with Values. Identifying your values will lead to discovering your personal motivating factors. What is most important to you? Money? Love? Faith? Recognition? Self-Expression? Acceptance? List your most important values. In Step 6 we will take the exercise one step further.

Next, we identify your Strengths and Weaknesses. As with all of these self-discussions, be honest with yourself. Honesty in recognizing your strengths and weaknesses is particularly important, because both can limit your progress. We’ll discuss this in future steps. For now, continue your list-building by writing down your strengths and weaknesses. Are you organized, thoughtful, hard-working, stubborn, subject to procrastination, a good decision-maker, self-motivated, a leader, a loner? Take your time. Think about your work and personal relationships, your interactions with strangers and friends, your reappearing traits. This list of strengths and weaknesses will be used later, but for now, put your list together and review and update it as necessary.

The last part of Step 5 is to identify your “geniuses.” Everybody has a quality or two that is other-worldly. Your genius could be your remarkable and consistent resiliency in the face of challenge, or your ability to light up any room you walk into, or your pain threshold, or your storytelling ability. What is it about you that you and everybody else notices sets you apart? What is the essence of your overachieving abilities? This is not guesswork. You know your geniuses. Write them down. We’ll deal with them later.

Steps 4 and 5 of the 10 Steps to Meaningful Change are about listing things: internal and external obstacles, values, strengths, weaknesses, and geniuses. Knowing yourself – admitting who you really are – is a necessary phase in the process change. It’s time to stop hiding, pretending to be someone else, living in denial, and avoiding the truth. By accomplishing honest self-assessment and discovery, you can then be prepared to take action.

As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions. Please feel free to contact me directly at david@david-richman.com