With the recent release of my book, Discovering Michael: An Inspirational Story and Guide to Personal Growth and Self-Discovery, I have been honored with invitations to speak on this topic. A frequent question I receive is, “So, what is Discovering Michael all about?” I have to admit that I babbled several times, each time saying something different that I liked. But it was not cohesive and succinct. Well, I have been working on this and you are about to experience revision # one hunderd and something (-:
Each time I review it, I seem to want to start over. Thankfully I have kept my revisions since I return to these and questioning why I made changes. However, with each rendition, it has helped me to gain clarity on this topic and what my focus really is. Here it goes…
Discovering Michael is about providing hope, inspiration, and guidance for those curious or ready to take that challenging look within to understand why our personal struggles exist and why we feel alone, unhappy, confused, unworthy or lost. The source of our struggles can be many things, but the outcome is often the same… pain! We have a choice to make, to fall prey and victim to life, blaming others for our problems, succumbing to our fears, repeating our unhealthy patterns yet expecting different results, or, we can choose to take charge of our life.
In my case the cause for many of my issues were the unhealthy beliefs I formed as a result of growing up in a dysfunctional and very abusive childhood. Discovering Michael begins with my story highlighting the cause, the abuse, and its effect, which can best be summed up as feeling unworthy, unlovable, and angry. These tainted beliefs resulted in numerous struggles as I ventured out on my own with respect to relationships, temperament, and unhappiness.
Personal Growth represents the choice I made which is the willingness to make changes to improve self. Self-Discovery represents the process of peeling away our layers or masks to understand our self at our very core, our fears, strengths, personality characteristics, beliefs and values. The great news is that we can change our behaviors, but lasting changes only really occur when we develop core beliefs that are consistent with our desired state.
Discovering Michael provides insight into the personal growth and self-discovery journey including a review of the various “tools for self-discovery” that are used to begin building our healthy foundation. The foundation for a happier and healthy life begins with gaining a greater awareness of self. We begin by understanding our past and its impact on our current life, we learn about our unique personality and preferred styles, our strengths, along with those aspects of our life we want to change. The process of self-discovery is about peeling away the many layers we created to mask our past, our fears, our pain. Once these are recognized, the healing process begins, along with the rebuilding process beginning with our core values, beliefs and attitudes that are more consistent with our dreams, aspirations and purpose.
The personal growth journey can also incorporate a “spiritual quest” to understand more about life and how you fit in. Two examples of what I refer to here can be seen in two classic movies; Kevin Costner in “Dances with Wolves” and Bill Murray in “The Razor’s Edge”. In both cases the characters respond to crisis points in their life by searching deep within their soul to the meaning and understanding of life. This period of deeper reflection results in a personal definition of our deepest values and beliefs, very often resulting in changing our attitudes and everything we are and do. So was the case with me when I set forth on a journey that brought me to far reaching areas of the world and often confronting death and dying, bringing me to new realizations about life and my purpose.
To sum it up, what I have learned and more importantly experienced is the real value in taking time to better understand who we are, what makes us tick, what our pain and struggle is all about, who we want to be, our questions, dreams, aspirations and ultimately our purpose. It has transformed my life from one centering around pain, unhappiness, adversity, struggle, fear, to a place where this self-awareness has brought me much more aligned with experiences more consistent with happiness, meaning, fulfillment and achieving my purpose. It is the realization that I have come to Discover Michael!