How to cultivate your natural qualities in your life and career (and live with less stress)

Many people feel pressure and stress in their lives and at work. We juggle too many balls in the air to "manage" our lives. We get stressed because we also expect very much from ourselves. How to live and work in a more relaxed and heartful way?

Transform into a more authentic version of yourself.
But how can we do that? My answer, transform yourself. 
First of all: Do not change, but transform. You do not need to change into somebody else. My idea of transformation is to become a more real and authentic version of yourself. So how do we transform to better versions of ourselves? First we need to get to know ourselves a little bit more. Become more conscious about how we react to situations that cause us stress.

This way we get insight in our "survival mechanisms" which we have uncounsciously  developed in our lives to deal with stressful and hurtful situations. To get insight in the dynamics, I always work with the model of Daniel Ofman "The core quadrant". 

How does the core quadrant model work?
In order to gain understanding about becoming more authentic and real, we need to identify our qualities. Our qualities are natural skills where we are born with. Our qualities do not stand on their own. They have three family members that we call our "pitfalls", our "allergies" and our "challenges", (see image left).

Your colleague or family member as a mirror.
To identify our qualities imagine  a colleague at work or a family member who really irritates you. Take a moment to analyze what is going on at that moment that you feel annoyed by this colleague or family member.  Ask yourself this question: What specifically in their behavior is so irritating to you?  This irritating behaviour we call your "allergy behaviour". The 2nd step is to identify your quality. Your quality is the opposite of the "allergy behaviour". This behavior has a certain behaviour that comes natural to you. 

Example
Let’s say that your allergy behaviour is chaos, then your quality is to be structured. The 3rd step is to identify your pitfall behaviour. The pitfall behaviour is our quality in overdrive. In this case that would be being too rigid. Now what happens when we work with somebody that is chaotic, we respond to that with our pitfall behaviour.  Your quality has transformed from being structured into being too rigid. You feel disconnected and conflicts may even arise with your colleague or family member and causes a stressful situation.

Control and fear axis.
Many people live with this pitfall behaviour - allergy axis that I call "Control and Fear" paradigm in their live and work  without even realising it.  We perform based on thinking and feeling that we are not good enough. We live in a constant state of stress in our bodies and minds. Now that we are more aware of this fear and controlling attitude, how to transform our attitude into a more  relaxed and heartful attitude and contribute with our qualities to our own lives and that of others? Once we see that the allergy behaviour of our colleague is our fear of our own chaos (which we  tend to control with our pitfall behaviour, rigidness), we become more aware of this shadow side.

Everything that we identify as frustrating or irritating in others

are our own denied frustrations about ourselves. 

We think that by being rigid, we can controll the chaos of the other person, but what we actually do is we are trying to control our own feelings of chaos.  Our feelings of chaos are too painful to us, so what we do to cope,  is to block them with our pitfall behaviour. 

Love and trust axis.
Now to really transform into the axis of "Love and Trust" (where we shift from  allergy pitfall into core quality-challenge) we need to know what our challenge is. Our challenge is the 4th step in this core quadrant and we can find it when we take the opposite of  the pitfall behaviour. In this example the pitfall behaviour is rigidness. Thus, the challenge is to become more flexible.

Next time you feel that you are stressed, slow down and write down what frustrates you and have a look at yourself. Here is a chance to grow professionally and work with your challenge. Your quality combined with your challenge creates a more authentic and heartful attitude towards yourself and others. You will feel more relaxed instead of being stressed all the time. You start to live more from the love and trust axis and you start to make a  huge contribution to your life and your environment, being who you are where the idea of not being good enough does not matter.

29th of August: Workshop to practice
If you would like to practice this exercise togheter with bodywork and you wish to take steps to transform yourself in a more authentic version of yourself then attend the following workshop: Design your Heart-Centered Career: Cultivate your Soul Talents & Qualities that I organise the 29th of August.

Posted on July 2, 2015 .