The concept of “doing the work” was popularized by New York Times bestselling author Dr. Nichole LePera.
Her book, “How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Yourself” became an instant international bestseller, and it’s easy to see why.
The ripple effect of the personal growth principles in the book has been mighty. Dr. LePera expertly pulls together a number of internal work strategies into a single work. It’s high value, and worthy of a read.
So worthy, that “doing the work” has even become something of a catchphrase lately!
And while I’m a firm believer in the importance of personal development, I’ve observed that achieving personal growth goals often gets interpreted with a heavy bias towards introspection and self-analysis.
This tendency, however, can tip us into an unhealthy imbalance – where we spend more time thinking about our self-growth than actually taking steps towards making that growth produce value.
As someone currently balancing “doing the work” with “getting to work”, I’m going to share my thoughts and strategies with you that will help you give equal attention to self-reflection and taking action.
Read this and make your personal growth journey do the most.
Getting Caught up in Self-Reflection: My Story
While trying to achieve personal growth goals, I’ve had my fair share of introspective bouts. There were times when I found myself submerged in a sea of self-analysis, constantly dissecting emotions, and working tirelessly through personal issues.
I’ll be honest, during these phases, it was easy to become oblivious to the world outside.
My relentless quest for self-improvement started to turn into a whirlpool, where instead of moving forward, I was caught in a never-ending cycle of inward thinking.
So, what was the problem? Isn’t self-improvement a good thing? I’m glad you asked.
Understanding the Pitfalls of Constant Self-Awareness
Here’s the thing. The constant pursuit of self-growth, while sounding noble and desirable, can be a double-edged sword.
While introspection can help us identify and address our internal conflicts, incessant self-analysis can harm our human spirit, prevent us from moving forward, and limit our potential to contribute to the world.
Think of it like this: your personal development journey isn’t just about internalizing and looking inward. It’s also about moving the inward change into your external world and taking action.
In other words, what’s the point in spending so much time thinking about your personal development when you don’t take any steps to use your new awareness?
My own experience of being trapped in an introspection vortex taught me that personal growth, spiritual growth, and emotional growth is not just about finding yourself but also about expressing that newfound self in tangible ways.
Why Self-Reflection Must Give Way to Action
One of my favorite personal growth quotes is “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”—George Bernard Shaw
This is all about taking action.
You see, as I’ve observed in my own life and with people I’ve worked with, doing the work of self-reflection is only half the journey in your personal development.
The transformation truly takes place when we step out of our heads and into the real world, applying the insights we’ve gained to our lives and to the lives of those around us. This transition from self-reflection to action is where the magic happens in all areas of personal growth.
Here’s a secret I’ve discovered: it’s in the act of doing, of taking action based on what we’ve learned about ourselves, that we not only grow and reach our personal development goals but we also provide value to others and to the world.
Finding the Perfect Balance in Personal Growth
Now, here’s where the balance comes into play. I believe the process of personal growth is like a dance – a constant movement between introspection and action.
Picture this: each time you do the work of self-reflection, you gather valuable insights about yourself. You identify areas of improvement, work through them, and learn. But it doesn’t end there. After introspecting, you switch gears and put those learnings into action, applying your insights to real-life situations.
This beautiful back and forth, this dance between introspection and action, is what I believe creates a harmonious balance and propels personal growth.
Ask yourself: “With what I now know about myself, how can I put this new perspective into action to provide value to others?”
My Strategy for Striking the Right Balance
So, you might wonder, “how do you execute this principle?” Let me break it down for you.
At the start of every week as a part of my PersonalOS (more on that to come), I sit down with a cup of coffee for a 1-on-1 with…me. As a part of that sacred time, I ask myself, “How much am I needing to DO the work of introspection right now, and how much do I need to take action?” This question sets the tone for my week.
Based on my answer, I ensure my time balance and tasks for the week align. It’s not always a 50/50 split, sometimes it’s more introspection, sometimes it’s more action, and that’s okay. The following week, I reflect on my progress and adjust accordingly.
Every quarter, I consider the phase of life I’m in, recognizing whether I need to focus more on introspection or action. Last quarter, I dove deep into self-reflection due to some significant shifts in my professional life. But next quarter? It’s all about action – so get ready!
Like what you’re learning so far? Get more expert insights in my other blog, “Creating an Operating System for Life Harmony.”
Maintaining the Balance: Daily Practices and Reflection
One thing I’ve learned in my journey is that staying on track requires consistency and dedication. Just like muscle growth in the weight room, personal growth takes time and repitition. You’re not going to figure out your life’s purpose overnight, and that’s okay! Oh…and it’s probably going to change too. It’s never a “one-and-done.”
Like most things that truly matter in life, it’s all about the journey. I’m going to share some simple, daily practices that have worked wonders for me, and I hope they’ll do the same for you.
Start Your Day With a Pause and Some Gratitude
We’re all guilty of jumping out of bed and immediately rushing into the hustle of our day. But how about starting your day differently? Take a few minutes each morning for a quiet reflection. Ask yourself, “What am I thankful for today?” “What did I learn yesterday?” “What can I do today that aligns with my purpose?” It’s a beautiful way to set the tone for your day and keeps you anchored to your growth journey.
End Your Day With a Debrief and Some More Gratitude
Did you follow through on the actions you planned? What did you discover about yourself? Celebrate the small wins and learn from the missteps. Not only is this great for building a positive mindset, it can help you clear your mind to prepare for sleep.
Have A Weekly Check-In With Yourself
Each week, take some time to assess how you’re doing. This is the most important time in my week. Do you need to spend more time in reflection, or are you ready to take action on your insights? I do this every Sunday afternoon. It’s like a little personal board meeting, and it helps me plan my week with intentionality. It helps me to be me.
Pen Your Journey
Maintaining a journal has been transformative for me. It’s a tangible record of your personal growth and a place to capture your reflections and actions. Trust me, it’s exciting to look back and see how far you’ve come! Heck, it even blows my mind to see how much changes in 90 days.
The Professional Support You Need to Find Your Balance
Striking a balance between introspection (or “doing the work”) and action (“getting to work”) is a personal journey, and it’s different for everyone. But it’s that very dance between self-reflection and action that truly sparks the growth we crave.
Feeling like you could use a guide on this journey? Hi, I’m Dr. Eric J. Roman, your go-to mentor with a heart for inspiring change and creating impact. My goal? Helping you build a life that’s even more amazing than your business.
If you’re all about improving your work-life balance, boosting your mental wellness, and building the family life you’ve dreamt of, let’s connect. You aren’t alone, and together we are better.