9 Insights that Changed Me Forever
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How do you feel when you’re told by folks who have known you for a long time, “You’ve changed!”
If your response is to pull back or cringe a bit, I can relate. So many people use this phrase to accuse another of no longer being the person they became friends or fell in love with.
The truth is that change is a process that will take place with or without our awareness and consent. Even if you dig your heels in and refuse to change, your environment eventually will and you will be left behind.
Change is like gravity. You neither have to approve of it, nor understand it, to feel its impact.
I used to hate the idea of being told that I had changed, because I was worried that it might suggest that my previous self was somehow imperfect, and worse, the flaws were evident to others.
And yet, it’s true that over a 5 to 10 year period of intense and focused work, I completely changed, actually transformed what I thought was my personality. And in doing so, I created a new life for myself — both personally and professionally.
I did this by dedicating myself to self-education. I learned things that aren't usually taught in school or at home. I also worked closely with a mentor and a Professional Life Coach.
I often share that Transformational Coaching relies on insights, not just information. Even though I’ve been an avid reader and had sufficient knowledge for ten lifetimes, it wasn't until I experienced coaching, mentoring, and joined a community of people focused on transformation that I truly underwent "change".
The change also didn’t happen overnight. But once an insight truly landed for me, the rate of change was exponential, not incremental.
I’m often asked to share these very personal insights. So, in no particular order, here are 9 that helped me change my personality and consequently my life.
1. Life does not owe me a thing.
We all know this in a sort of abstract way. But deep inside, we expect whatever force that keeps us alive (whether it’s God, the universe, or people) to deliver love, money, health, etc… to our doorstep.
This delusion is of course multiplied in the lives of those born into affluence — as I was. Embracing this reality requires us to make the shift from being the receiver, taker and victim to the creator, giver and owner of one’s life.
2. Money can’t buy me love, but it can buy me freedom.
It’s easy to equate money with all things good and evil.
Most of us are carrying around false and damaging money beliefs that made sense during our parents’ and grandparents’ times but are no longer accurate for our own lives.
However, one unwavering truth remains.
Being financially dependent on others — even if the other is a trusted and beloved partner or parent, is to trade in a measure of freedom. To not understand this tradeoff is to lack consciousness or come from a mindset of entitlement.
Neither are great places to pitch our tent.
3. I can be a person of faith without being religious.
I've always sensed a strong bond with a higher power, yet felt wrong about cultivating it or sharing it with others because I didn’t want to commit to religiosity.
When I understood that I can have faith without choosing one religion over another, surprisingly I felt more connected to my religion of birth, while also connecting with people who identify with other religions.
Faith, if you have it, does not know borders and does not discriminate between people. It is an extraordinary equalizer.
4. I don’t have to like something or someone to accept it.
Accepting something or someone I didn’t like felt like giving up, losing or surrendering. There is an absolute difference between all three of these states, but none of them are the same as acceptance.
The concept of Radical Acceptance — the simple recognition of what is present in any given moment – is a practice. The earlier we begin it, the more ease and joy we can allow into our lives.
5. What others think of me is none of my business.
Some people will like me no matter what I do. And some people will dislike or even hate me no matter what I do. Neither one has anything to do with me.
This insight is not to give permission to ourselves to act like jerks. But it does release us from the incessant effort to manage other people’s feelings about us.
Think about how much of your precious time and attention is spent on changing someone’s mind you think doesn’t think highly of you and/or confirming the feelings of those who do like you?
All that time and energy can be spent on becoming the person you yourself approve of.
6. “Angry” is not a personality trait, inheritance, or a life sentence.
When I realized that anger is a cover emotion — an emotion layered on top of the actual emotion I’m too afraid to acknowledge, I let go of the shame I carried about being quick to anger.
Realizing that my angry behavior could be changed by mobilizing the courage to face more agonizing emotions like shame, humiliation, and rejection, was not easy. But it was far less painful than dealing with the consequences of going through life angry.
7. Choose movement over exercise.
Our minds and bodies are perpetually connected. We all know this and yet treat our body as though it’s an object at our disposal, rather than the vessel that allows (or disallows) us to experience life.
Creating a new identity for myself as a trail and ultra runner shifted my mindset about my body in such a dramatic way that the rest of my life couldn’t help but follow.
Exercise is a finite and ultimately unscalable activity. Movement is a way of life.
8. I can be a lovable human being without being a “nice girl”.
Most women of a certain age and experience understand this distinction in their gut, but still struggle to break through the “nice girl” conditioning we’ve been raised with since early childhood.
When I realized that being nice doesn’t mean I have to master people pleasing, act fakely humble, or make myself smaller in the world, well, my world became larger and more colorful.
Most importantly, the quality of my relationships profoundly shifted. Fake friends disappeared and real ones — so many more than I ever imagined — became visible to me.
9. I can do hard things.
This insight was a direct result of my commitment to becoming an endurance athlete. We cannot change one area of our life drastically without it affecting every other.
Training for and completing endurance races gives me real (not mantra-based) confidence that I can do hard things. And this is arguably the most life changing and sustainable shift any human being can make if they want to truly unleash their lifetime potential!
I’d love to know one or more insights that have contributed to your own transformation. And if you're curious to learn about my remaining insights, reach out and I'll share them with you.