What is the key to personal change? 

As I dwelled on this somewhat tricky question, I recalled the words of Huineng, the 7th century zen master who spoke of “self awakening to self nature” and “sudden practice with sudden awakening”. What Huineng was referring to is our innate power to change as human beings and the swiftness with which this can happen!

I strongly believe that personal change can be effected quickly, sometimes through a single fleeting moment of realisation! Indeed, this is one of the main reasons I decided to become a coach. The key catalyst for change is nothing more than a willingness to look into our own hearts and minds. It does not require philosophy, it does not require religion, all it requires is the curiosity and courage to look within and truly see and accept ourselves for who we are.

This then brings us to something very important. Along with looking within, self-acceptance and having compassion for ourselves become fundamental to personal change. There will always be things in life we feel we should or shouldn’t have done. Often, we beat ourselves up over perceived ‘failures’ or ‘mistakes’ and this can be painful – I know because I am particularly guilty of it. Only through self-compassion can we learn and grow from these. We must find it within us to forgive ourselves, in the same way we might forgive someone else!

By daring to be more aware and more self-accepting, we can access a profounder kind of change – a change that is borne out of a deeper understanding of ourselves.