At this time of year many of us do reflect on our personal growth and what growth goals we want for the coming year. Others apparently want to avoid introspection at all costs. I recognize the condition having spent much of my earlier life in not just avoidance but expressing actual disdain for the practice.

My disdain was rooted in the cowardice of self-judgment and criticism. Spending any time in personal growth questions would lead to looking at all that I screwed up; all the mistakes I made. I would rather take an arrogant position that said I don’t need that foolishness; I’m good where I am. That arrogance delayed my learning.

It also prevented me from making lights-on decisions about the vision I wanted to create for myself. If I was afraid to look at the actions and behaviors that didn’t work, then I also didn’t truly see what did work. And, I couldn’t fully focus upon the future that energized me.

Introspection is not unlike what premier athletes do – review game films to continually monitor and improve their performance. They look at where they did well and where they could improve. Their goal is to neutrally, without judgment, evaluate their game performance to learn where they can be more effective. The performance either worked or it didn’t. Not good or bad, but effective or ineffective.

Consciousness is not for sissies. When you are dedicated to keeping your thoughts and behaviors positive and effective, you will also become more aware of your ineffective and negative thoughts and behaviors. It’s not always pretty but it is critical that you remain aware.

It’s important to recognize the relationship between light and shadow. Just like when you face the sun, your shadow is directly behind you. The same is true with respect to your own internal light and shadow. The more you look to your brightest lights-on vision, the more your shadow appears.

Consciousness does require the courage to look at the dark side – the negative patterns of your life that prevent you from full vibrant living. Your awareness of your shadow (negative) patterns is necessary to keep you focused and alive. It’s also enlivening when you recognize your negative actions and consciously take steps to shift them.

Ain’t no sissies here,