I attended a professional development workshop in Australia few years ago called ‘Conversational Technology’ by Newfield Institute. The focus of the workshop was on the power of relationships in our everyday lives.
We learned to use powerful conversations to make and manage our commitments in life and in business.
One of my most profound experiential learning experiences of the conference was the realisation that we must take full responsibility in all our relationships.
Responsibility must start with our internal relationship with ourselves if we want to live life as self-authoring adults. The further along we head toward a self-authoring life, the more mature we behave in our relationships with others.
Behaving with maturity in our relationships positively influences our capacity to live self-authored lives.
Yet, if we rarely stop to observe our behavior and take responsibility for our own feelings and thoughts, chances are we inhibit our personal growth… and the possibility to have rich, meaningful relationships with others.
Since humans are conversational beings, conversational actions are crucial to living well together. Every conversational action we take starts in our own backyard.
This blog post has been written on the premise that when you participate in life as a self-reflecting learner you are more likely to change any behavior that no longer serves you.
You’ll become empowered by your own internal learning… and the more you observe, the less you will be enslaved by the judgments or opinions of others. I’m not just talking about others as individuals – I mean organisations, institutions, social media platforms, and any other mechanism we use and engage in to go about our daily lives.
I’ve put together these 10 habits of self-authoring women to give you the tools which will enable you to take full responsibility for your self-authoring life.
10 Habits Of Self Authoring Women
1. Take Responsibility As The Creator Of Your Feelings And Thoughts
Making sweeping statements such as, “I can’t handle this”, “You make me feel…”, “That made me feel…”, “I’m can’t cope with…”, or “You did ‘X’ to me” is the language of blame – external blame!
They revoke personal responsibility from you as the creator of your thoughts, feelings, and the generator of your reality. This language increases the likelihood that you won’t cope.
The more you use this type of language, the longer it will continue to create this self-perpetuating reality. Your thoughts about any situation are unique to you. No one else thinks and feels exactly the same as you, and no one can shape how you choose to think, feel, and experience your world.
Denying responsibility for personal contribution to relationships and other life breakdowns positions us as victims. I’m talking about micro-conversational breakdowns we have with ourselves and with others.
Our thoughts turn into stories… and our stories carry on throughout our lives and shape the way we view the world. As contributors to our own reality, we must take responsibility for the part we play.
I’m not negating events that may have taken place out of our control. However, I am suggesting that in most cases, as a self-authoring adult, our interpretation of past events no longer needs to enslave, punish, or control us.
The relationship we have with ourselves can be empowering. The conversation gives us the empowerment to choose, evolve and shape in positive ways, and interact with the world.
Ask yourself this .. ‘How might I be contributing to the breakdown in this relationship?’
2. Be Guided By Your Own Vision
Future life circumstances are our personal responsibility. It’s our life to create everything we want to create.
When we focus on the demands and authority of others to shape our future, there is a big possibility we will be out of alignment with our own core values.
Take care when you invest time and money into projects. If you sense, or there’s evidence that something is not quite right for you, then you should listen. That’s your intuition speaking to you.
If you’re going into business for yourself, be very clear about your why. Why this business idea burns deep into your heart and soul and why you are the best person to do what you want to do.
You can’t rely on others to tell you what to do and how to do it. Even when you find experts, think long and hard about giving others authority over decisions for your future. Give serious consideration to who you ask and what you ask them for.
Humans are concerned beings and we’re really good at sharing our concerns and giving advice. Most of us don’t like to see people suffer, and we’re often quick to find solutions to other people’s problems.
In every conversation, make sure you listen to your gut feeling and your intuition. Above all else, you can rely on these to guide you. It’s very easy to allow others to cloud your intuition so much so that you forget to listen to it! Taking on the perspective of another well-meaning person doesn’t always serve us with what we want to create in the future.
Give others a voice without giving them authority by listening to your own intuition
3. Your Gut Feelings Are There For a Reason
Practice tuning into your intuition as an exercise to self-adjust your thoughts and feelings back to what you know is best for you – that’s what self-authoring people do. They regularly self-adjust and they don’t allow others peoples’ opinions to get in the way of them living self-authoring lives.
Ask yourself: ‘How is this perspective, or this advice, going to serve me for what I want for my future?’
3. Think About The Recurring Breakdowns In Your Life As Opportunities To Learn
We’ve all heard the saying: ‘Life is a journey, not a destination.’ Life learning is the journey. Making constant adjustments by observing events is a wonderful opportunity to tap into your inbuilt learning resources.
When you look at life this way, you will allow space to make mistakes and decline offers and decisions that don’t serve you. By doing this you’ll begin to take responsibility for your decisions so you can continue to self-adjust in the flow of your life.
If we’re to be learners, the language of possibility always serves our learning journey much more than the language of obligation. Here is the difference:
Language of Obligation
I have to…
Language of Possibility
I’m curious about…
How might I be observing this?
What might I be missing here?
The language of possibility opens up spaces to learn and grow and change.
The language of obligation, while it can be useful at times, can be self-criticising and causes us to be stuck in the problem. This makes it difficult to find ways to analyse, critique, and observe how you’re going about your breakdowns… and how to self-adjust, because you can get stuck in the judgement.
Consider the recurrent breakdowns you find yourself in. One that tends to happen over and over again. Consider what’s going on with you that you’re struggling to find ways to turn the breakdown into a breakthrough?
Using the language of possibility will position you as a better learner and enable you to find your own solutions to your own breakdowns. It enables you to step back, observe, and take actions away from the habitual way of currently organising and going about living that hasn’t been working for you.
4. Declare A New Future For Yourself By Considering Horizons Of Possibilities
Declarations change the future in positive or negative ways. Declarations can shape a new path, one where you no longer allow yourself to be stuck in old patterns of behaviour, doing the same thing that hasn’t served you, time and time again.
Here are some ways you can begin to declare a different future…
I will no longer…x, y, z
I will now…x, y, z
I am the author of my own life
I will self-author my life
Declarations are very personal. They come about by observing something in your past that you want to declare over.
Declarations should very clearly state how you want to move forward into your future. They occur during profoundly difficult breakdowns and opportunities for learning.
This is the key to declarations. When you observe the shadows of your past and decide you no longer want to live life in a particular way, you’re more likely to make solid declarations from a body of legitimacy.
In other words, you legitimise yourself as a worthy human being and declare a new future for yourself when something no longer serves you. From this moment on, as you make your declaration from a solid body of legitimacy you begin to go about life differently.
Read this blog I wrote on how to self author your life. I this blog I share some of my own declarations – my declarations may help you make some powerful declarations for yourself…
5. Develop Body Practices To Support Your New Way Of Learning And Observing
Your body is your support, your anchor and your place of solace. It is from the body that you learn the moods and emotions you are experiencing; emotions that come and go or moods that are recurrent spaces of living and operating from. Your posture, bodily sensations, your gut feeling, your voice tone and volume, the tenseness of each body part, and how and when you experience all of these daily sensations within your body, gives you an indication that you’re either on track or you’re right off track from where you want to be.
You need a resourceful body to support any new declaration. When you make a declaration from a solid body of legitimacy you are literally changing your biological structure and how you operate within your world by using this valuable resource, your body. Every part of your body that you engage in as a place to learn from, supports the new declaration.
6. Stand Outside Your Situation (big or small) As Though It Is Separate From You
Have awareness, investigate, evaluate and critique your life from this new view. This is a fantastic way to be the observer, observing events and situation that are currently transparent – like looking through a window pane and finally seeing your life on the other side. From this position, you can see the recurrent patterns in the way you currently communicate with yourself, other people and the world.
Pick a spot in the distance in front of you, and picture your conversations with another person from this distant position. Watch your body posture and the posture of the other person. Check out their facial expressions and gestures… and then watch your own.
Listen to the tone of their voice and your voice and allow the words to float around your picture. Step back and actually allow this to happen.
7. Adopt Your Own Values, Standards and Practices
(e.g. ditch comparisons and external judgments and opinions)
Values and standard practices are those funny unquantifiable things we don’t always observe, but they’re going on all the time in the background of our conversations and actions, even if we don’t observe them. The standard practices you have adopted over your life shape your life.
This habit is about observing all of the values, standards and practices you see and hear around you every day. If you don’t like what you hear and see others do, whether they are an authority or not, you don’t have to adopt that practice. You are – and will always be – the judge of your own standards, which lead to the practice, the actions, you take every day.
Life is an opportunity to self-regulate and stay true to your current values and adopt new values, standards and practices that serve you in positive ways. This requires acutely tuning into your own way of being when you find yourself making comparisons between yourself and others.
It is easy to slip into habits of comparing yourself to others, especially when you hear that someone else is doing it better, or heaven forbid…right! There is no right way. We’re just lead to believe there is. Holding this belief can lead to self-criticising judgments and following rather than leading yourself into your own future.
8. Become Aware Of The Level Below The Breakdown You Are Currently Experiencing
Alan Sieler from Newfield Institute says: ‘breakdowns are interruptions to the normal flow of living.’
Breakdowns happen. From day to day occurrences to bigger life concerns, such as a death in the family, a financial or challenge or career decisions… in one form or another, we’ll always be faced with breakdowns. They are not always negative. In fact, you could say that winning Lotto is a breakdown. The breakdown in winning Lotto is to work out what you will do with the money!
My thoughts on breakdowns…
- Breakdowns come in all shapes and sizes
- There is never a one size fits all
- A particular breakdown can be recurrent throughout a lifetime if you let it
- When you’re in the middle of a breakdown it can be difficult to stand outside it and observe it separately from you
- Breakdowns have the potential to create breakthroughs
Breakdowns are the one constant we can rely upon. Accepting those breakdowns as a part of living is perhaps the first step in dealing with the breakdown when it occurs. Expect the unexpected.
This does not by any means say we must walk around experiencing negativity while we wait for a breakdown to come about. On the contrary… the more we live self-authored lives, the more we find positive and constructive ways to deal with breakdowns when we’re faced with them. Perhaps a trap in our society is the expectation to have a fairytale life. Then when we’re faced with a breakdown, we may struggle to cope.
In my opinion, becoming the outside observer – stepping outside the situation as though it is separate from us – allows us to become aware of the level below the breakdown we currently experience. Which really means observing the patterns, the way we go about dealing with this particular breakdown or other similar breakdowns from a position of empowerment.
For example, if you have had several bad relationships (or even one bad relationship), you might ask yourself: ‘How might I be contributing to the breakdown in this relationship?’ Our default tends to be: ‘What has this person done to me?’ This mindset drags us constantly back into recurrent behaviours associated with similar breakdowns.
To develop a more expansive view of the world we need to learn how to deal more effectively with our breakdowns so we can live more flexible, contented and enriched lives.
Alan Sieler in Volume Two of Coaching to the Human Soul says, ‘Being at higher levels of adult consciousness does not mean being a “superior being”, someone more worthy than others we assess to be at lower levels. It simply means having a more expansive view of the world available, potentially providing greater flexibility for living a contented and enriched life.’
9. Participate In Daily Self Reflection
This point is by no means suggesting daily self-criticism and regret for a life you haven’t lived. It’s a way to become a more acute observer of your way of being from the position of personal growth and wellbeing. In this space there is scope for self-acceptance if you allow yourself to observe curiously.
In Volume II of Coaching To The Human Soul Ontological Coaching And Deep Change, Alan Sieler says: ‘A fundamental premise of ontological coaching is that as observers we are ultimately our own source of how we observe and participate in the world. The challenge presented to us in being self-authoring is to be able to observe how we generate the realities we live in through our languaging, emotioning and the nature of our somatic being.’
… and he invites us to move into a self-authoring system of mind…
Invitation to move into a self-authoring system of mind:
- How am I observing things?
- What is happening in my way of being that has me observe things the way I do?
- How well is this way I am observing things serving me?
- What is it important for me to shift in my way of being that will serve me better?
10. Spend Time With Yourself To Recharge Your Powers Of Observation
Personal development doesn’t just take place in conversations with other people. If we’re to give ourselves any chance of living self-authoring lives we must find time to recharge. Time with ourselves is a precious commodity that really requires giving ourselves permission to find the space and time that we personally need to regroup and move forward in positive ways.
As a woman living in the historical narrative that ‘we must be everything to everyone else and suffer in the process’, giving yourself permission is not easy and requires keen powers of observation and the discipline to make positive shifts.
Don’t allow this outdated narrative to get in the way of living a self-authored existence. It doesn’t serve you – and it doesn’t serve others. If women are to be role models for the next generation, we need to observe how to deal with this narrative as a recurrent breakdown.
I speak to many women on the topic of being everything to everyone else and all of them agree that this is a problem we’ve inherited and that we don’t realise. Many of them blame situations or people external to themselves including males as the source of the problem. My opinion on this: rubbish.
If we want to change this story, we have to generate a new story. To do that we have to start observing our breakdowns below the level we currently experience them. Perhaps this is the only way to recreate a new story and an empowered self-authoring life.
I’ve got a great FREE mini challenge for you that will help you explore your breakdowns without that nasty mood anxiety ..
To recharge your powers of observation in a mood of curiosity, rather than that nasty mood of anxiety, click HERE to access Get Curious
I wish the best of care for you this day and every day.
Do you have any questions? Comments? Insights? I’m here to listen! Let’s chat below.
P.S. I also have a Facebook page where I’d love to chat with you and answer your questions! Click here and like my page.