Businesses, relationships, or anything that you want to grow, or build, are based upon a foundation. It is no different when it comes to trying to build your self, when you are seeking personal growth.
The foundation for anything is the core platform upon which everything else involved rests… if it fails, the rest will come crashing down as well. If you want to avoid that, then it is essential that you understand what that foundation consists of, what strengthens it and what weakens it, so that you can ensure it is strong enough to support what you are building.
The foundation of a business will depend somewhat upon the business, although some things are common to all businesses, such as understanding what you’re truly selling, what your client wants, and similar things. Relationships have a foundation built upon trust, shared experiences, and shared interests (whether you’re referring to romantic, friendly, or business).
Everything you do in your life, however, has another foundation, a layer beneath… your foundation for your self. Everything in your life is affected by it, from the clothes you wear to the food you eat to the friends you make to the job (or business) from which you make money. It is, essentially, a foundation for your other foundations.
When you think of it like that, you can see just how important it is that you not neglect it. Still, the vast majority of people never really consciously attempt to build or strengthen their foundation of self.
If you have gotten this far, you have already taken the first step… the first step is to become aware of that very foundation.
Building A Strong Foundation
Evaluate Your Foundation’s Current State
The first thing that you need to do is determine the current state of your foundation. You need a general picture of where you are before you begin working on it.
Are you sick a lot? Do you feel stressed out or overwhelmed often? Do regularly feel drained, or even depressed? Do you have sudden bursts of anger completely out of proportion to the situation?
All of those are signs that your foundation has weakened.
Begin At The Bottom
When reinforcing a foundation, it’s essential to start at the bottom and build your way up… you don’t want a weakness beneath you to undo the work that you are doing. The very bottom of the foundation for your self consists of four things, three physical and one mental/emotional/spiritual.
The physical bases are your eating, your sleeping, and your activity level (not necessarily in that order). If you make changes in any of those three things, you will see that change reflected in the others… if you improve your eating, you will tend to sleep better, and have more energy for your activities. If you increase your activity (provided it’s not just before bed time), your body will actually change what it wants to consume to healthier products, and you will sleep better. If you get the right amount of sleep (which may be more or less than you get now… some people tend to oversleep), that also changes which food your body wants and your energy levels.
The foundational base that covers the rest of you (your mind, emotions, and spirit), is quiet time to yourself. By quiet time, I mean time when you are not seeking things to do to distract you, when other people are not interrupting you, and in general, your mind is not needed for anything. That allows the constant chatter and activity of your conscious mind to fade, allowing the rest of you to use some of your resources for whatever it is they need… mostly, in my experience, resting and healing.
Eliminate Ongoing Actions That Weaken Your Foundation
A major part of building a strong foundation has to be eliminating things that damage and weaken it. Again, there are both physical and non-physical things that harm it, but this time the non-physical are limited to one part of you… your conscious mind.
Physically, you can eliminate things like eating a lot of sugar or consuming a lot of caffeine. You can also work on bad posture… the power of posture is extraordinarily under-rated. You can eliminate bad sleeping habits, like random times for going to sleep, or too much mental stimulation late at night.
There are many mental things that may need to be let go, too… things like blame (whether for yourself or others), anger, and guilt. Most of all, you need to stop building more mental walls… those walls form the basis of your own personal prison, trapping in pain and draining your energy.
These are not the only actions that might weaken your foundation, but they are a good target for a place to start.
Begin Actions That Strengthen The Foundation
There are actions that strengthen your foundation, as well, and they are mostly a mirror image of those that weaken it. That is, instead of eliminating unhealthy food, you can add healthy food… you can establish good sleeping habits like a regular schedule, and consciously maintain the body language and posture that strengthens what you want to communicate.
Mentally, the action that strengthens your foundation the most, by far, is tearing down the walls you have built up to keep others out and your self in. Each wall you eliminate brings healing and reduces your overall burden of pain, giving you more energy for any other activity that you choose (including tearing down more walls). You’ll also find your existing relationships growing stronger and new relationships forming easier as you eliminate the barriers that you have previously used to keep others away.
Finally, in order to have a strong foundation, you have to maintain a certain level of awareness, so that you can eliminate any new habits that you pick up that weaken it, as well as find new actions to strengthen it. You don’t have to be constantly vigilant (which will actually weaken it… you need your rest mentally as well as physically), but you do need to avoid letting it slip back to a subconscious level.
One of the great things about working on building a strong foundation is that the change is almost immediately noticeable, and builds quickly. One of the bad things is that it’s easy to get comfortable with the fact that you have a strong foundation, and start slipping back into old habits (or forming new ones) that weaken it.
If you maintain your conscious awareness of it, though, you’re very likely to see major positive changes in your life. This applies to nearly all areas… career, relationships, happiness, etc. It also has a strong likelihood of making positive changes in a way you might not expect… other people who are around you are likely to see the change in you and begin to change in a positive way themselves.
On a personal note, I am currently rebuilding my own foundation… I had let myself go in many areas after my grandma (who I was close to) died, and I can feel the change in everything about me all day, every day. It really is just amazing how fast and drastic the change can be.
PS – My birthday is coming up soon, and if you’re feeling in the giving mood, you can spread the word about this website, telling anyone you know who might be interested, and give me a present I’d really love: 1,000 subscribers!