I promised you that on the next few steps of my journey blog, I would share a formula I developed that changed the course of my life. This came at a time in my life when the only thing I knew for certain was that I couldn’t continue to live the way I was living. To stay the same, would result in me totally losing “me” and walking through life as a mere shadow of the person I knew I was somewhere deep within me.
It became undeniably clear that I was the one responsible for finding and knowing what made me feel whole. I could no longer afford to just maintain my same old behavior The Greatest Risk is No Risk At All . Having more to lose than gain by avoiding the potential truths yet acknowledged, I pushed myself to take the next step.
That decision came at a time when life gave me a shove in the right direction. I had accepted a new career opportunity which required me to spend considerable time away from my known comfort of family and hometown. After spending the first four decades of my life living within a 5 mile radius of my childhood home, high school friends, etc., I now found myself living alone and away from everything familiar.
To tell you that being alone with myself was unnerving, and actually at times, panic-inducing, is understating some of those days and weeks. My entire life up until this point had been jam-packed with filling others’ needs. Whether it was listening to their stories, giving advice, bringing them goodies, attending their events and family dinners, my schedule was packed. I couldn’t remember spending more than 2 hours alone with myself at any time since childhood days lying under the summery clouds of June.
So having to admit to myself that my own company was the most challenging person to be with, the questions of who, why and how I came to this point began. This inner investigation led me to determine that there were four primary areas that needed to be understood at a much deeper, and truthful level, if I was to more forward successfully from where I was trapped in my life. With determination and purpose I opened my head, heart and gut to being committed to this next step You can never step in the same river once..
S.O.D.A.: This is the formula that has enabled me to put meaningful steps and joy-filled reflections in my daily journey. These four letters and that which they represent, are vital for each of us to not only understand, but more importantly, to be able to acknowledge to ourselves honestly. And once we have done so, to be able to demonstrate our authentic self through our choices and actions on our journey. The result of this awareness is beyond measure.
I can tell you with great confidence that my sense of wholeness and appreciation for my life has increased in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible. But don’t take my word for it. Instead, challenge yourself to take the risk of going on a journey to self through honestly answering the formula questions. Once you’ve answered them, reflect on how that knowledge can help you experience life more authentically.
Each part of the S.O.D.A. Formula represents a key area of emotional intelligence. Research shows us that it is not enough in today’s world to be intelligent – book smart. One must possess emotional intelligence (EQ) to fully succeed in our ever changing, fast-paced world. That is true of both our personal relationships as well as our professional life. And the most important relationship you will ever have is your relationship with self. Without fully understanding and appreciating your authentic being, you will never experience the depth of joy and satisfaction that come from relationships with others and your life choices.
So we begin the journey to self through the lens of the S.O.D.A. Formula. I will ask you a series of questions for each part of the formula. If you are to find any relevant value in this exercise, please be as honest and forthcoming with yourself as possible. The more in depth your answers, the greater the reflection and subsequent choices to act upon that knowledge you will experience.
Instructions for Formula: Complete the following questions in sequence. Do not go on to the next question until you have exhausted all of your possible answers for the current one. In answering each of the formula questions, you are thinking about the qualities, characteristics, behaviors, attitudes, values, choices that are/have been true of you throughout your entire life. Not just today or even the last few years. But reflect back upon your childhood, school days, professional and personal life as you answer.
S. Complete the following statements:
- I am… (not gender, age, occupation – see above)
- I am not… (again, not gender, age, occupation – see above)
- I wish I were… (not rich & famous, you can do better than that – see above).
I ask that you check back in on your answers throughout this week. What can be added to the list? In thinking about the questions, what was triggered in your memories? What did you want to include but for some reason chose not to – why do you think that was?
Next week we will move on to the next part of the S.O.D.A. Formula.
Enjoy Your Journey,