Stepping onto the grounds of Royal Roads University at the outset of completing my Masters, one of the first few words that were uttered to me were, “trust the process”. Almost immediately, I was frightened and disliked those three words.
What do you mean ‘trust the process’? When I originally applied to the Masters of Arts – Leadership Program, I was under the impression that similar to the other four degrees I had completed in years past, the program would be structured very systematically, and I would come out of it with further developed skills and increased knowledge for the business world.
Quickly, I realized this program was not like any of the others; the curriculum was craftily laid out in a way to unearth a whirlwind of self-revelation and got to the root of the issues getting in the way of living my best life and leading others to do the same.
Throughout my two-year journey, whether it was an online forum discussion, experiential exercise, plenary, seminar, or even throughout my organizational leadership project (OLP), while I was learning about the content, I was becoming more self-aware.
When I first started this program, I believed I had strong self-awareness; however, the more I learned, the more I realized how much more there was to learn. Know thyself became my Masters mantra. My two-year journey made me look inwards as opposed to outwards; leading from within first before leading others.
William O’Brien stated, “Whatever the reason, we do not pursue emotional development with the same intensity with which we pursue physical and intellectual development. This is all the more unfortunate because full emotional development offers the greatest degree of leverage on attaining our full potential” (as cited in Senge, 2006, p. 133).
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment
During our first residency, we were asked to complete the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. “The MBTI assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions” (Wikipedia, 2013). After completing the MBTI questionnaire, it turned out that I am an ENFJ – (E) extraversion, (N) intuition, (F) feeling, (J) judgment.
“Extraverted types learn best by being able to talk and interact with others. By interacting with the physical world, extraverts are able to process and make sense of new information…Intuitive types prefer a learning atmosphere in which an emphasis is placed on meaning and associations. Insight is valued higher than careful observation, and pattern recognition occurs naturally for Intuitive types…Feeling types place an emphasis on issues and causes that can be personalized while they consider other people’s motives…Judging types will thrive when information is organized and structured, and they will be motivated to complete assignments to gain closure” (Wikipedia, 2013).
As an ENFJ, trust is difficult for our type, especially in times of ambiguity and unknowns (Quenk, 2000, p. 3). ENFJs perceive “someone’s actions as a precursor to something more sinister” (Richmond, 2008, p. 38), and also have a lot of “self-doubt, and conviction of [their] own incompetence” (Quenk, 2000, p. 3).
Trust was an overarching theme during my two-year Masters, and it became quite apparent through my thoughts, words, and actions. At the beginning of the writing my OLP, while I was preparing for my ethical review, I became too dependent on my Academic Supervisor. I did not trust my judgment and intuition, and would constantly ask her for guidance. Through her coaching and a lot of inner work on my part, I began to trust myself. As I was continually writing my OLP, there were many times, I wanted to pick up the phone or send an email to my supervisor, asking her what to do. What if I make a mistake?
During one of those weak moments, I was watching Oprah’s LifeClass on the television, and she stated, “Your life is a reflection of the way you think. What you believe is what you become” (O. Winfrey, personal communication, October 12, 2011). That quote made me stop dead in my tracks.
My thoughts of not trusting myself, others, and/or the process was clearly impacting my life. Knowing this, made me want to create a different life. This new realization made me recognize not only did I need to take time out to acknowledge my abilities and myself, but I also needed to add positive affirmations in my daily practice, such as “I trust that I have all the answers I need.”
As Bradshaw (1998) concurred, “Positive self-talk is, perhaps, the best form of therapy: it’s relatively painless and free of charge. Best of all, it works because your inner voice seldom misleads you. In fact, many answers to life’s problems-business or otherwise–can be found in honest conversation with one’s self. . .Take time out to affirm yourself and your abilities. Use self-talk to change any thoughts or perceptions that negatively impact your work and personal performance. Most importantly, don’t just listen to your inner voice. Learn to trust what it tells you” (p. 108).
As the months passed, I became less dependent on her advice and more confident in my own abilities. By trusting in my own capabilities, many opportunities have opened up for me. I translated this learning into practice by continuing to watch the words and language I feed my thoughts and emotions. I read several self-help books that can help me learn how to speak kindly towards myself, think positive, and trust my abilities.
“Practicing positive self-talk is very important; it assists you to achieve your goals. When you practice affirmation or use positive self-talk…you take responsibility for the direction you want to go” (Syer, 2006, p. 75). I have begun to daily affirm my abilities and myself.
Short (1998) stated, “any effort to change your organization has to begin with you and your specific interactions with specific individuals” (p. 17). My relationships have changed, as I have learned to trust others by having the courage to risk first, be open and have faith in myself. As Short (1998) advocated, “we need to risk before we can trust-not the other way around” (p. 9).
Since I am the creator of my own reality show, I have decided to trust the process, and choose to direct my life in a new positive direction. The results…I am happier, more successful, and content with my wonderful life.
- Bradshaw, B., & Clarke, R. D. (1998). Go ahead: Talk to yourself! Black Enterprise, 28(9), 108.
- Quenk, N.L. (2000). In the grip: Understanding type, stress, and the inferior function. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc
- Richmond, S. (2008). Introduction to type and leadership. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.
- Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.
- Short, R. R. (1998). Learning in relationship: Foundations for personal and professional success. Bellevue: Learning in Action Technologies, Inc.
- Syer, T. (2006). Awakening the workplace. British Columbia: Experts Who Speak Books.
- Wikipedia.com (2013). Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicat