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Personal Growth and Personal Development Are Meaningless Buzzwords. Here’s What You Need to Practice Instead.

Personal Growth and Personal Development Are Meaningless Buzzwords. Here’s What You Need to Practice Instead.

You don’t grow or develop a personality. Instead, you learn how to manage self-mastery to thrive in life — especially as an LGBTQ+ person.

The terms, ‘Personal Development and ‘Personal Growth’ have become clichés.

These terms don’t suggest a path to lasting, transformational change. Even the famous dictum, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” is pointless without a clear intention of what you’ll do after you’ve examined your life. We all grow, develop, and evolve by simply living our lives — and by how well we manage the challenges, opportunities, and joys we experience.

If I have been struggling with wrapping my head around these buzzwords as a coach I’m sure you might feel the same way.

‘Self-mastery’ more accurately communicates what intentional self-examination — along with coaching or mentorship — can offer anyone who wants to transcend the limits of what they think is possible and what they believe they can accomplish.

My intention on my website is to make my coaching more accessible. There is no substitute for working one-on-one with a coach or a mentor and there are many valid reasons why you might not choose to invest in either.

However, if you’re someone who is passionate about personal transformation and doing the work to show up authentically, vulnerably, and powerfully to make a difference for the common good, my newsletter is intended for you.

My ONE Priority for my newsletter is to democratize my coaching knowledge and skill in the form of publishing more ‘How To’ articles and guides.

Previously, I’ve published a number of Personal Evolution Processes (P.E.P.) that you can find on my website. I plan to continue in this tradition, with the intention of publishing unique, in-depth processes that you would normally only have access to if you were to work with me individually.

Self-Mastery Is the Choice to Know Who You Are and to Manage How You Are Being.

Have you ever seen a sculpture made from stone or wood that’s a near-perfect likeness of an animal or a person? The sculptor is an artist, having attained mastery of their craft by practicing their skill with patience and diligence over years and decades. They approach the uncarved piece of wood or untouched stone with an image in mind and slowly cut, scrape, or chip away the bits that block the beauty beneath.

Self-mastery is similar to the skill of the sculptor.

We choose to better understand the beauty — in this case, the truth — that lies beneath the surface of reactions and triggers to what we experience so we can respond in a measured, self-aware, and appropriate manner.

Self-Management Supports Self-Mastery.

We can’t control some things in life, e.g., emotional drives like hunger, lust, thirst, and love.

You can suppress your feeling of hunger if you practice intermittent fasting, but you are only managing the biological drives that activate chemicals in your body and brain to indicate hunger. You can’t control the drive for hunger, but you can manage your cognitive perception of hunger — the feelings you assign to the experience of being hungry.

There is also your self-management for the proverbial, ‘shit hitting the fan.’

How do you overcome your own nonsense?

For example, when you get in your own way by not paying attention to your ego by being selfish or stubborn — just because. What do you need to learn about yourself in these instances that will show you the path and steps that lead to those unwanted behaviours? How do you re-program yourself by practicing new habits and ways of thinking to navigate life with greater ease?

Self-Mastery Is Not an End Destination or Goal.

Instead, self-mastery is a journey of proficiency and dedication to quality. Living life like this is called thriving. No matter how good of a person you become — knowing your core values, having a purpose and a vision for your life, understanding your moral matrix and why you believe what you believe — life will still throw challenges your way.

The more you master yourself — your unconscious reactions, emotions, and perceptions of what happens in the world around you — the easier and more enjoyable life becomes.

Self-mastery is a skill that can be developed, just like the sculptor’s skill.

When you inevitably bump up against a challenge, instead of reacting, you are more likely to step back and observe what’s happening, including what you’re feeling and thinking. Often, these are moments of insight when you witness your truest, ‘highest’ self — when you realize you’ve transcended previous character limitations.

Self-mastery is as much a part of life as life itself is a process — It’s about developing your ‘humane’ potential.

As you master new ideas, concepts, and ways of understanding what makes you who you are, you will show up in the world with more confidence, contentment, and humility. However, we can only go so far on this path alone. It’s challenging to change the system (yourself) from within the system.

The cliché of not being able to see the forest for the trees explains this challenge well.

For deeply transformative self-mastery, we need to be challenged by a mentor or a coach who can identify the possibilities we don’t see for ourselves — like the sculptor chipping away to reveal the beauty beneath. Have you ever tried to see your left eye with your right eye, or to see the nose on your face without a mirror? With distance, skill, and impartiality, someone else can mirror back to you what you can’t see, to assist you with your self-mastery and transformation.

I believe the greatest expression of self-mastery is the personal responsibility to show up in the world as your best self and to lead with humility and open-mindedness being the change you want to see in the world.

As an LGBTQ+ person, showing up in the world as your authentic self is an act of bravery, defiance, and pride.

This is what I call, queer self-mastery: presenting your true self in environments, communities, or countries that discourage or are outright hostile to anyone different and therefore marginalized.

There is no status quo, no normal, without the mutually arising polarity of queerness or otherness. The gorgeous irony and paradox of anything labelled normative are the beliefs about the proper order of things which can only exist in relation to apparent opposites or polarities. You can’t have the one without the other (pun unintentional)!

Out and proud LGBTQ+ individuals demonstrate self-mastery and authenticity by refusing to hide.

We show up in the world with self-acceptance and a priori inclusion as if we already belong (because we do belong).

We’re here, we’re queer, and we have always been here.

Our collective queer self-mastery and daring visibility are the keys to greater awareness, connection, and understanding with those who don’t currently believe in our inherent dignity and value to humanity.

If you’re an LGBTQ+ creator, change-maker, or thought leader who is struggling with direction, priorities, and productivity, let’s meet for a conversation to discuss how you can accomplish your goals, create a life you love — and make a difference in the process.