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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, coaching, effective communication and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free food and good movies.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Working on yourself and enjoying the plateau effect already? This way, you can still notice how you are changing

"You're always one decision away from a totally different life", they say.
Even if it's a suggestive thought, I have to admit that I don't buy it.

Seeing change like this is nice, and it feels pleasant and magical and full of rainbows and unicorns... and yet, most of the time, change doesn't happen by chance. 
In order to change, we have to know what we want to change, and how. 

[If you are looking for a great inspirational wallpaper
about change and self-awareness, I got you covered:
"Awareness is the greatest agent for change"
(Eckhart Tolle)]

Most of the time, change is scary and uncomfortable. It requires hard work and committed focus, one day at the time.
Change is, by definition, part of a process. If we are what we repeatedly do, we change only while keeping doing things that make us change.
"It takes change to make change" is more powerful, to me, because it contains the necessity to embrace change, to go for it, to make it a priority and to transform change into a daily practice and a way of life:


Back in the office, Socrates drew some water from the spring water dispenser and put on the evening’s tea specialty, rose hips, as he continued. "You have many habits that weaken you. The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new".
Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives (1984)
by Dan Millman, p.113
Or also:

Back in the office, Socrates drew some water from the springwater dispenser and put on the evening’s tea specialty, rose hips, as he continued. "To rid yourself of old patterns, focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new".
Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives (2006, revised edition)
by Dan Millman, p.105

Still, it is not always possible to constantly notice the changes we are going through, because we can't step aside and truly see us from the outside, or at least not completely, even if we can experience one situation at many levels and partially switch perspective and perceive ourselves from the "outside". (well, it takes some practice, but is the topic for a future blog post)

Still, we have other options.
One of the best chances at seeing what we would usually not see otherwise, and how we changed, is talking to someone we didn't have any contact to for some time, or even better for a couple of years.

["People either inspire you, or they drain you.
Choose them wisely" (Hans F. Hansen, 
and practically every good motivational speaker
of the last fifty years)]

While interacting with them, you can ask yourself:
- How do I feel? In the same way as in the past, or not? If not, how has this changed?
- What am I thinking right now? Can I notice a pattern here?
- Do I still feel connected to them? If not, what did change for me? Can I name it?
- Can they inspire me, or push my buttons, like in the past? If now, what did change for me? What can I see now, that I was not able to see in the past?
- Can I recognize yourself in the way they treat me and interact with me? If not, why not?
- Can I see the silver linings of my behavior and intentions in the way they interpret them? Or my intentions have nothing to do with what they are ascribing to me?
- How can I describe the interaction? Do I find it surprising, challenging, fun, energizing, useful, or just disappointing and "not meant to be"?
- How can I react to them and to the situation? In the same way as in the past, or differently? How many options can I see for myself? Which ones?

Depending on your answers to these questions... you can probably judge for yourself how much you changed, and how.
If the interaction has been pleasant or at least interesting or you have been able to connect with them on a new level, great.
And if not, please remember that no matter how "meh" the interaction could have been, you can be thankful for this precious chance of self-awareness: those people just offered you a chance to time-travel and to see a previous version of yourself, through their eyes and their memories of you.

Tags: Chance, Perception, Self-awareness, Quotes, Self-assessment

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