Want to Succeed? Then take the 7 Steps to Greater Authenticity!
By: Rich Liotta, Ph.D.
Sometimes goals and resolutions are empty and disembodied from our spirit and soul. No wonder they fail! Often they are not authentic; they are not true to who we are. If a goal is not something you fundamentally want, if it is not a decision made by your authentic self, you will be fighting yourself every step of the way; perhaps not consciously, but certainly on the levels of your deeper and higher self!
Goals and resolutions per se are not my topic to bring in 2011. Rather this article is about 7 steps to greater authenticity. I am proposing that authenticity is a prerequisite to setting your goals and making resolutions that you will actually accomplish. When you are authentic you open the door to “passionately riding the wave of who you are,” which will make your pursuits more effortless and obstacles more surmountable. Personal authenticity and self awareness are not discussed often enough in relation to designing your goals, resolutions and choosing our life path. My experience has taught me that if you get authentic first, the rest falls more naturally into place. So greater authenticity will help you succeed at whatever you choose to pursue!
Here are the 7 steps:
1. Grateful Awareness: The first step is entering a calm and relaxed state of mind. Choose the method that works best for you, options include relaxation or visualization processes, self-hypnosis, or meditation. What is important is that you do this with the intention of clearing your mind, centering yourself, and connecting with your awareness in the present moment.
Then reflect on where you have been during your life journey so far and on where you are right now. Encourage and allow grateful awareness and appreciation for all you have learned and for all that is. Invite grateful awareness and accept and appreciate deeply where you are right now. Reflect with lightness, noticing your thoughts but letting them pass by rather than dwelling on them. What I am recommending in this first step is essentially a mindfulness state (as in mindfulness meditation) with the addition of some directed reflection; inviting grateful awareness, appreciation, and self-acceptance.
2. Reflecting on your beliefs: From the state of grateful awareness, reflect on the beliefs and values that direct your life. We all have beliefs and assumptions about who we are, what is possible, and the nature of reality. Often we do not take time to reflect on these beliefs or meanings, instead we take them for granted and don’t question them. Our beliefs and meanings influence what we see, what we choose, what we know, and ultimately what we do. In this step simply notice what your beliefs and values are and appreciate the feeling of what is important to you, as this will help you make authentic choices.
3. Evaluating whether your beliefs serve you: In steps 1 & 2 you observed where you are now with grateful awareness and reflected on your current beliefs and values. In this step you evaluate whether or not your beliefs serve you. This step is often challenging! For many it is a new idea that they can choose their beliefs and that they can create meaning. Ask yourself whether or not your beliefs serve you. Are your beliefs helpful to you? What are you limiting beliefs? Do your beliefs hold you back or do they prime you for action? Evaluate where you are at right now. Don’t just evaluate intellectually, also evaluate intuitively and notice what your gut is telling you.
Once you have done some work with these first three steps you will be more self aware and authentically centered. You will be more prepared to start thinking towards what is next and what you need to adjust to make the changes that you want in your life. Part of these first three steps is assessing whether you are ready for change. Are you centered enough? Can you feel some grateful awareness? Are your meanings positive enough? Do they serve you? Also how does it resonate with you? Is your spirit ready for change? When your spirit is ready for change, change becomes much easier, growth becomes easier, and achieving your goals becomes easier.
4. Appreciate possibility: Appreciate the possibility that the beliefs you have, if they do hold you back, can be different. Imagine what beliefs would serve you better in your life and what beliefs would direct you toward a more authentic future. Appreciate that you can change your beliefs! Appreciate the possibility that some of your values are really not so important compared to your higher values. Consider what ifs. What if I believed in myself? What if I believed that I was capable of anything? What if I believed that I know what to do to take the next step? What if I confidently believed that I have talents to offer to help people and make the world a better place? Appreciate possibility and embrace the options that emerge. Do you have beliefs that allow you to boldly pursue what you really want, among the possibilities you are imagining?
5. Trust yourself: Without some degree of authentic self-awareness you cannot truly trust yourself. You need to trust yourself and have some faith in yourself to let go of old patterns, habits, and beliefs. Because many do not trust themselves they choose the status quo rather than possibility. The unfortunate fact is that many people are comfortable with the way things are even if they are miserable! The hell they live is not as bad as the hell they fear. Since they do not trust themselves fear wins and they never change paths or progress toward their dreams. To authentically make changes, follow through with resolution, and pursue goals you need to trust yourself. (The exceptions to this include changes made out of desperation and the drive to survive physically or psychologically.) You need to trust your capabilities and your ability to make good decisions. You need to trust your purposes and intentions enough that they compel you! Your purpose and intention need to resonate with your spirit, with who you are-trust that! But aren’t there degrees of trusting yourself? Absolutely, and that’s okay! Sometimes trusting yourself enough is a leap of faith; jump!
6. Energy focusing: Focusing your energy is the next step. Once you centered yourself with beliefs and values that serve you, have begun to appreciate your possibilities, and have increased your trust in yourself you are ready to direct your energies. Through this process your energy has been shifting already. Your energy is stronger because your beliefs and values are clear, you know they serve you, and the possibilities you can imagine are compelling now. It is time to direct your energy congruently with your intentions. Decide how to utilize your energy toward the steps you want to make to move you toward your goals and your dreams.
7. Resource appreciation and development: We all need resources to achieve what we aspire for. These include your life experience, strengths, talents, personal qualities, and the support of others. Notice and appreciate who you genuinely are and what you have to offer! If you don’t have all the resources that would help you yet direct your energy toward developing, enhancing and enriching your resources. Trust your instincts. If you need knowledge, learn more. If you need a coach, find a coach. If you need a healer, find a healer. Determine your action steps and trust yourself to know where best to put your energies. Realize that resource development is a step by step process and that every step is movement toward your future!
Practicing these seven steps to greater authenticity prepares you for setting your goals and making resolutions that you will actually accomplish. After you have explored all them genuinely at least once, appreciate what have discovered. You will likely feel more balance and strength. You are now ready to resolve to change and choose to move forward with your life with clarity! Often an unrecognized part of going for goals and making changes is preparation. When preparation is in place, things fall into place. You need the pieces of the puzzle in order to complete the puzzle. As your authentic self you can have all the pieces!
When you are aligned you are also more apt to do what will move you forward and attract the support that you need from other people and from the universe. With greater authenticity you have much more potency and direction. This will also open doors to creativity and the capacity to make substantial changes and to really be successful in your life!
In summary, GREATER is an acronym for the seven steps to authenticity. I like acronyms; I find them fun, useful, and easy to remember.
G = Grateful awareness.
R = Reflecting on your beliefs.
E = Evaluating whether your beliefs serve you.
A = Appreciating possibility.
T = Trusting yourself.
E = Energy focusing.
R = Resource appreciation and development.
I hope you embrace your authentic self, make aligned resolutions, design effective goals, and have a fulfilling and abundant New Year!