Intentional Sustainable Growth: Autonomy (Part 2)

This blog is part 2 of a larger post on the ingredients for cultivating and practicing intentional, sustainable growth: 

  • Autonomy: Freedom to be who you are
  • Purpose: Utilizing your autonomy in service of your WHY
  • Context: Acknowledgement of needing to adjust your behaviors given environmental specificity 
  • Mindset: Attitudinal willingness to adapt
  • Adaptability: Ability to adapt given what best fits the specifics of context. 

In this post, I am going to discuss the concept of autonomy more deeply. 

Autonomy refers to the idea that people need to feel willingly engaged in their behaviors and feel a sense of ownership over their actions. In essence, people need to feel like they have a say in what they do and that their perspective and their feelings actually matter to others. Put more simply (as listed above), autonomy is the freedom to be who you are. This is in contrast to behaving in response to external/internal pressure (external: behaving in order to achieve a reward or avoid punishment), (internal: I “should” or I “have to” to maintain self-worth or avoid feeling guilty). 

The practical application and full expression of this can be seen as represented with these four domains of autonomy: 

  • Self Respect: Becoming clear (intent) about who you are 
  • Self Esteem: Becoming content (mood) with who you are
  • Self Responsibility: Behaving in accordance (alliance) with who you are
  • Self Confidence: The feedback (calibration) you get from your environment about how you behave. 

Remember, in the gym, your growth is contingent upon you taking ownership over your experience. Taking ownership over your experience assumes you are thinking about and engaging in conversations with your coach about what motivates you, why you are motivated by the things you mention, and how you are behaving to actualize your motivations. What is written on whiteboard is not meant to put pressure on you but to be a tool to help you on your unique journey of intentional, sustainable growth. The manner in which you utilize that tool depends on you. Well, who are you… really

Optimizing/Maturing the Learning Process

In the critically acclaimed “The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance”, Timothy Gallwey draws a distinction between The Usual Way of Learning and The Inner Game Way of Learning. 

The Usual Way of Learning: 

Step 1: Criticize or judge past behavior
Step 2: Tell yourself to change; instructing with word commands repeatedly. 
Step 3: Try hard; make yourself do it right.
Step 4: Critical judgment about results leading to paralysis by analysis

The Inner Game Way of Learning:

Step 1: Observe your behavior nonjudgementally
Step 2: Picture desired outcome
Step 3: Let it happen! Trust your intuitive self
Step 4: Nonjudgmental, calm observation of the results leading to continuing observation and learning. 

It is safe to say that most of us spend way too much time learning in the “usual” way. 

The good news is that it is never too late for an upgrade… 

“A child doesn’t dig his way out of his old grooves; he simply starts new ones! The groove may be there , but you’re not in it unless you put yourself there. If you think you are controlled by a bad habit, then you will feel you have to try to break it. A child doesn’t have to break the habit of crawling, BECAUSE he doesn’t think he has a habit. He simply leaves it as he finds walking an easier way to get around” (Gallwey, 1974, p. 74). 

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