24 Apr Know Thyself – A Shakespearean approach to Awareness
Of all knowledge, the wise and good seek most to know themselves – William Shakespeare
In a previous post, I invited you to stay tuned to find out about the road to “Frank’s List” aka the journey of balancing self-actualization & authenticity & achievement “Your Way” and said the first step was to “Know Thyself”. I even promised to share 5 principles to provide insight for choices, decisions, expectations, relationships.
Well… It’s time to deliver on that…
At the end of each principle do a little test. Ask yourself if this is “a d-uh moment or an a-ha moment? If it is a d-uh moment just make sure that you are 100% clear it is reflected in your life. There is a little of Truman Burbank* in all of us so make sure that you are not “accepting the reality of the world with which you’re presented”. I don’t want to jump-start an existential debate here and lead to unnecessary angst but some of the simplest of things are the hardest to apply.
On that note:
· 1st Principle – Know Thy Strengths… and
Make the most of them.
If you are committed to doing things your way, I encourage you to know exactly what you are good at and what they are good for. Especially, any attempt outside of the mainstream requires confidence in one’s strengths and excellence in delivery.
There will be strengths that pop up to the surface which are obvious but there is more depth to it than that. Take the time and really do the work to identify what you are really good at.
· 2nd Principle – Know Thy Weaknesses… and
Develop them when essential, manage them when support is available or work around them if they don’t really matter.
I’ll give you the example of “attention to details” in my life. Anyone who knows me knows that there is no love lost between me and details. However, in consulting, I developed the muscle to build detailed project plans, partnered with detail loving people who kept us in line during execution and avoided any job that relied heavily on managing details.
Again, people will volunteer “helpful” feedback on what you suck at so please take it all with a pinch of salt and make your own conclusions. It is amazing how many adults still cling on to the stories told by others without any real proof. Remember, Einstein miserably failed to impress his teachers.
· 3rd Principle – Know Thy Values … and
Consciously live by them.
Values influence motives and motives influence behaviors. So, it is tremendously important to understand what “makes you tick”. Values are the principles that you live by. The trick here is to be aware of the source of these values. Are they “have to”s or “want to”s? It is the “want to” values that help us to make the biggest positive leaps in life.
Take time to explore your true motivation behind your actions, decisions and see how they are formed. Also, think about your top 5 values and see how well you “walk the talk” and live by them. Fascinating findings come out of these.
· 4th Principle – Know Thy Blocks… and
What blocks right? Best to avoid this one right?
I know this is absolutely cringe worthy for many. I know many rather click their heels 3 times and be done with this discussion. No such luck though. They need to be addressed.
Blocks are the breaks in our lives that slows down success. These are the stories that we tell ourselves, they are the messages from our inner critic, they are the beliefs based on old experiences which are no longer valid. To move forward, we need to acknowledge where we slow down, when we trip over & over again and then liberate ourselves from them.
· 5th Principle – Know Thy Attitude…and
Make it serve you.
How do you show up? How do you approach challenges? How are you perceived? Your reflexes, your reactions do not need to run the show. You can learn your tendencies and manage yourself effectively in different situations.
As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel”. Same goes for yourself too. Your attitude will shape how you reach and maintain success.
The next step in the journey will be about Goals and Purpose. This is a chicken and egg situation. Do our dreams make us or do we make our dreams? I don’t know how to go down this path and avoid philosophy so allow me to just ask “if you don’t have a North Star, does it really matter who you are?” Profound, right? More later….
*Truman Burbank is Jim Carrey’s lead character in the movie Truman Show who is the unsuspecting star of a reality TV program which is broadcast live around the clock and across the globe. His entire life is crafted and his reality is what is fed to him by the producers of the show.