Is there a quality you’ve been admiring in others, feeling inspired by—but not feeling you own? Here’s a gentle process for growing that plant in your own inner garden:
1. Pick an inner quality you’d like to cultivate. What would you like to enhance? Your compassion or generosity? Your wisdom or clear-headedness? Your kindness or understanding? Your courage or assertiveness? Your big-picture visioning or strategic planning skills? Your initiative or perseverance? Your truthfulness or serenity? Or…
2. Choose a model. Who do you truly admire, someone who has reached a goal you consider significant (not necessarily a goal you would wish to achieve, just one you admire)—and who exemplifies the quality you have chosen to enhance? This could be someone living today, or a historical person. Make it a real person, though, not the product, however admirable, of someone’s imagination!
3. Research your model. Take an hour on the internet to find out as much as possible about this person: both how they triumphed overall, and how they built and maintained that particular quality. How did they profit from their failures? What was the driving passion that urged them on? What skills did they deliberately develop to help them win through to their goal? And what role did this quality play in their ultimate victory?
4. Go inside to consult your model. Get still, then imagine sitting down with this person and interviewing them. Invite them to help you develop that quality. What would their advice to you be?
5. Create an intention. Make this powerful statement three times aloud: “I intend to make this quality of __________ my own. I ask for help in noticing my opportunities and choices.” Feel yourself holding the intention in your hands; open them and let it fly forth to the heart of the Universe.
6. Start noticing. The natural result of your powerful intention is that you will begin to attract opportunities to practice, refine and uphold that particular quality. Congratulate yourself each time you become aware of such an opportunity, whether it has just passed you by or is here right now. The important thing is that you noticed the opportunity!
7. Celebrate your failures. Every time you attempt to exercise this quality and feel you’ve fallen short, celebrate! Celebrate the fact that you noticed that failure; in previous, less conscious times, even the idea that you could have used that quality would probably have slipped right by you. Then celebrate your current opportunity to re-focus.
8. Report in. Once a week or so, re-invite your model into your inner world. Tell them how you’ve been doing in acquiring new behaviors to augment this quality and letting go of old blocks. Get still and listen for their further advice to you, and their words of support and encouragement.
9. After a month, assess your progress. Compared to a month ago, how is your supply of this quality now?
10. If need be, re-affirm your intention. As necessary, send out your renewed, reinforced intention to the Universe. Then repeat Steps 6-9 as necessary.
11. Over time, enjoy your new “second nature.” Notice how the mere act of focusing on this trait is making it easier to access all the time. And bit by bit, letting it flow forth into your life becomes so automatic you forget about it entirely—until someone else mentions how much they admire this quality in YOU!