When you read a great book about personal transformation, part of you might love what you’re reading. But other parts may struggle with what you read.

Here are three parts that I often see struggle with personal transformation and thoughts about how to respond to them:

One: I’ve heard this all before.

Many of the teachings you encounter may be ancient, and many are oft-repeated in personal transformation literature. That’s probably because they work.

But there’s a difference between knowing something intellectually and practicing it consistently. To make what you read a lasting habit, you must practice what you know to be true.

If you’re someone who’s studied this stuff or who helps others heal (a facilitator, coach, therapist, etc.), another second part may pipe up.

Two: I should know this stuff already. What’s wrong with me?

Please do not use personal transformation teachings as a weapon to beat yourself up with. You’re human. An imperfectly perfect human who’s been schooled in the dominant culture of judgment and harm.

This stuff can take so much practice and time to fully integrate. Welcome to the journey!

Three: A part who feels impatient with the questions and wishes for easier answers.

I often wish this stuff was easier. And yet, the challenges we face are complex. While pre-packaged formulas might feel comforting at first, they often don’t work for complex challenges. As my career coaching and leadership coaching clients know, the road to clarity is paved by more questions than answers.

As Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in his Letters to a Young Poet:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Inquiry leads to clarity. Rather than trying to find answers right away, stay curious about what you might discover.

Take small steps. Stumble. Get up. Try again. Find something that works better. Stay curious. And choose your next step over and over again.

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