Welcome back on the road to self-inclusion. Having been on lockdown for the past six or seven months (I’ve lost count) and unable to go beyond a 5km radius has made this metaphorical journey all the more meaningful and vital.

So what happens after step 1: Know Your Self?

Getting to know ourselves goes hand in hand with accepting ourselves – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Beyond that, it means embracing all parts and nuances of our past (who we used to be), our present (who we are now), and our future self (who we will be).

It is from this solid and grounded core, that we will then be able to grow ourselves. Grow – not change – but expand from who we are at our core into our zones of curiosity and towards our goals and our purpose.

On this topic, I love quoting Terri Trespicio who believes that we should stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to find our true calling (most of us don’t even just have one as Emilie Wapnick states in her TED Talk). Instead, she encourages us all to follow our curiosity, and passion will then follow us as a result – how refreshing and exciting too! If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend giving both talks a watch.

Step 2: Grow Your Self

To grow can take different forms. My cultural background and education led me to believe that growing happened despite ourselves (we become older with age whether we like it or not) and that learning kind of stopped once you finished university and entered into ‘the real world’. It couldn’t have been more wrong.

Growth and learning opportunities are everywhere and in everyone around us if we’re open to them – all we need is to opt for a growth rather than a fixed mindset. How? A great place to start is asking more open-ended questions and truly listening to the answer.

Another important element to remember is that growth isn’t always about adding more and more and more into our brain, it can take different forms:

  1. Unlearn: At the moment, I’m unpacking a lot of limiting beliefs that I intend to unlearn such as the fact that all ‘real’ artists and entrepreneurs are broke or that I will always be fat.
  2. Learn: This is where your curiosity, open-ended questions, and active listening come in.
  3. Re-learn: Sometimes it can take a while for the penny to drop as they say. You might have to learn something again and again and again until it fully registers.

What about you? By the end of 2020, what is something you intend to unlearn, something you intend to learn and something you intend to relearn?

Currently, one thing I’m learning a lot about that I’ve found really helpful when it comes to mental health is the cognitive model. It is the idea of separating the situation, from the thought, the emotion, and the behaviour.

For example, if someone asks you to do a presentation in a couple of days. You may react:

1. Situation: Would you like to do this presentation? > Thought: Why me? I don’t know what I’m talking about > Emotion: Anxiety > Behaviour: No way                                                     


2. Situation: Would you like to do this presentation? > Thought: This is a great opportunity to share my story in the hope of helping others along their own journey > Emotion: Excitement > Behaviour: Yes, absolutely!

Now it’s not always that simple of course. Sometimes the emotion comes before the thought (before the situation even) and sweeps us over. The model isn’t there to prevent that in any way. It is there to help us slow our minds down and, where helpful, reframe our thoughts in order to be able to know, grow, and… be ourselves.

Coming up next will be Step 3: Be Your Self

Forgotten what step 1 was all about? Re-read it here: Know Your Self

To find out more about my journey, order a copy of my memoir Where to Next?