Do the words “your own worst enemy” resonate with you at all?

Perhaps you’ve said them to someone…

or maybe someone has said them to you?

Either way, we all know that sense of being somehow at least partly responsible for the habits of behaviour,

and patterns of thought, that keep us stuck in the same old cycles.

Feeling like we’re going round in circles,

treading the same old ground when we dearly want to break free.

Triggers are our teacher

Often when we find ourselves experiencing overwhelming feelings like anger, sadness, frustration or anxiety,

we automatically blame the situation or someone else;

even if at some level we’re aware that we have a part to play in being responsible for how we feel.

We don’t really understand how to change it and be different.

And so the patterns we’ve worn into the fabric of our work and lives simply deepen,

creating grooves that are even harder to climb out of.

Responsibility for self-awareness is the key

Self-awareness, for me, is about pushing away my impulse to blame…

and instead, take responsibility…

to get curious,

and examine my part in the triggering situations I find myself in.

Trying to work out what I can do for myself to shift:

  • how I feel,
  • what I’m thinking,
  • how I’m behaving,

Which in turn,

cannot fail to have a knock-on effect on the people around me.

Self-discovery is a journey

I began my own journey of self-discovery many years ago when training to be a counsellor,

and have continued it through many years of personal and professional development.

Yet still, at times, I defeat myself,

get in my own way,

trip over one of my many blind spots,

and become my own worst enemy.

Maybe not as often, or as badly,

but still, the impact on my life and well-being is negative.

And the impact on those around me, also negative.

Ever noticed how as partners, parents, friends or colleagues we get sucked into each other’s patterns:

  • rehearsing familiar gripes,
  • repeating cycles of frustration,
  • dancing the same old dance that leads us precisely nowhere?

Understanding ourselves is the first step in understanding others,

and when we realise what a difference simply being different makes to those we spend time with every day,

we can let go of our desire to make everyone else change,

and simply focus on being the best version of ourselves…

the version that almost inevitably, brings out the best in everyone else!

The super highway…

A few years ago, I completed the Power of Self-Awareness programme with Karen and Lewis of Essentially Human.

I was introduced to my PRINT® profile, one of many possible keys to unlocking the secrets of our personalities.

Its power lies in revealing to us the unconscious motivations and basic fears that are laid down in our unique experiences of childhood,

helping us understand how these shape, and even direct, how we show up in the world as adults.

I found it fascinating,

and quickly began exploring how I could weave this illuminating programme into the work that I do with teams and organisations…

teams who want to change, grow and improve.

From “worst enemy” to becoming a better version of ourselves

It all starts with each and every one of us learning how to be the best versions of ourselves more of the time,

as well as learning to bring understanding and compassion to our shadow sides;

those aspects of our thoughts, behaviours and feelings which we’re perhaps less proud of,

and yet somehow can’t quite seem to fully master.

We’re all a complex mix of wonderful, energising, frustrating and downright annoying traits,

and often waste huge amounts of time and effort trying to be different,

without first understanding what makes us the way we are.

Learning to love myself with all my essentially human flaws and foibles allowed me to stop beating myself up about them.

This in turn led to me holding them that bit more lightly so that they become less consuming when they show up.

Now I can pull myself up short before becoming my own worst enemy…

and diving into a downward spiral of blaming and judging someone else for “making” me angry, sad or anxious.

And instead, laugh at myself and choose another response,

or even just give a rueful nod to what just happened once the dust settles,

which in turn enables me to step out of the cycles that often follow.

Virtuous circles follow instead,

and these rub off on the people around me who are stymied from playing their part in our usual dance,

and have no choice but to find another way,

or simply spend their time being angry or frustrated or whatever, all by themselves!

PRINT® in my toolbox

I’m far from perfect and have much still to learn,

but even when I mess up I know I’m doing so whilst at least trying to be a better version of me.

PRINT® is a tool in my box that I reach for time and again to help figure myself out

… and perhaps more importantly,

helps to shift my focus from feeling powerless or hard-done-by in a given situation,

to feeling resourceful and creative.

More from essentially human

If you’re inspired and want to include PRINT® in your toolbox, we’d love to connect.

We facilitate regular open programmes online and would love to include you in the mix next time.

We also include PRINT® as a foundational piece of both our team and leadership development programmes. Experience has shown us that by understanding ourselves at a deeper level, we can relate to others better to collectively improve performance.

Get in touch here or subscribe to receive inspiration, insights and news about our events…

Book your alignment call:

Together we'll explore your team development goals and plan possible next steps...

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Register Now

Join us on Thurs 29th June
1.30pm to 2.30pm

You have successfully registered!