The importance of knowing yourself

Today, I have two quotes to ponder. They go hand in hand and they both deal with the importance of self-clarity. Knowing and cooperating with your natural design is the most effective way to be successful and satisfied in your life.


“It is always easier to do right when you know, ahead of time, what you stand for.”

— Unknown


I am reminded of the airline safety presentation. During one part of the presentation, they talk about how oxygen masks will fall down in the event of a decompression. If you have ever been on a plane, you know that they tell you to ensure that you get your mask on before you help anyone else with theirs. They know that you can be of no use to anyone if you become compromised first. This is very logical and I think that given the opportunity to think it through, everyone would agree with the concept. So why include it in the safety briefing? The reason is simple. In the event of that emergency, most people will not be able to think that rationally. So when you know, ahead of time, what is important, you will be ready to make the right call in the tough moments when the pressure is on.


“No one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself.”

— James Russell Lovell


Insincerity is noticeable. When someone is putting you on or shamming their way through life, it is evident. When you are insincere with yourself, you are be unavailable to add value to others. That’s all well and good but what does that insincerity look like? It looks like negative self-talk, a lack of humility, vanity, pride, and many other things. That seems discouraging but it’s not. We all have these moments and it is just in those moments, when that insincere self-interaction is occurring, that we are unavailable.

You were designed for a purpose. Knowing that purpose is an invaluable tool to maintaining a sincere and accurate self-image, which optimizes your availability for adding value. This reminds me of another quote. I know I said there were two but this one just sprang into my mind and it is very relevant. It is generally attributed to Albert Einstein.


“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”


The fish that believes he is stupid because he can’t climb a tree has an inaccurate self-image and is not available to use his natural design to add value to others.

I think that every person should take a class in introspection and self-reflection so they can learn to recognize those moments when they are inadvertently being fish out of water pouting at the base of a tree. Unfortunately, this is not a class that you can take in school but one you must seek out and invest in for your own good and the good of those you can serve by using the genius that you were designed with. My coaching practice is that class where in I can labor along side you as you discover how to identify, articulate, cooperate with, and grow the genius that is your natural design.

If you feel like you’re flopping around at the base of a tree, reach out to me below and we can get you back in the water where you can swim strong.

How far is your impact?

How far is your impact? The truth is, you may never know.

But of one thing you can be certain…YOU ARE MAKING AN IMPACT. The more important question becomes not, “how far does it reach?” but rather, “What kind of impact is it?”

What kind of impact do you make in the world around you? Is it good? Is it bad? Does it build others up or tear them down? Does it draw more people to you or push them away?

Every day, the choices you make with your actions and reactions, leave an impression on the people with whom you share that moment. You don’t always know who is sharing the moment with you either. I was once positively impacted by witnessing a man go out of his way to chase down a rogue shopping cart to prevent it from hitting someone’s car. When I say chase, I mean it. I saw him notice the cart begin its path. I saw him start to not bother with it (I wouldn’t have blamed him because it was pretty far away) and head to his car. Then I noticed his moment of decision where he turned back around and sprinted a good hundred yards to save the car in the nick of time. He didn’t have to do it. It wasn’t his cart. It wasn’t his car. But it WAS his choice…and it encouraged me. He had no idea that he had a positive impact on me. He had no idea I was even watching.

It is worth while to do the little things, even when you think no one is watching. The cart-chasing man not only impacted me, but now he is impacting you. The ripples of our choices can be extremely far reaching sometimes and we don’t even know it. Sometimes we find out quickly that we made an impression on someone. I recently read a story about two men. Man #1 was standing on the subway when Man #2 bumped into Man #1 while moving through the car. Man #1 said, “Excuse me” even though it wasn’t his fault. Man #2 rudely cursed at Man #1 and told him what he could go do to himself. Shortly after this incident, Man #1 arrived at work where he was a hiring manager. His first interview of the day was with Man #2.

Here is another story which I found here

“I went into a construction trailer one day to look for a job. Right when I walked in, the superintendent threw a piece of trash and missed the can. I picked it up, placed it in the can, and asked for work. Come to find out that he gave my name to another owner who hired me just because of that piece of trash.

I worked for him for ten years. Now, I have my own company.”

— Ken Beckstead, Cigarette Pollution Services

The good little things are worth doing. Not to get noticed or to get something in return, but to serve others as a good example. I am reminded of Gandhi’s quote,


“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”


I have written this quote off many times as being too cliche. More recently, I have found myself leaning on it quite a bit. He definitely had a good idea.

Go out there today and do the little things.

Who or What?

This week’s quote is from a guy that everyone should know. He ran the country during the Civil War, brought about the end of slavery, and coined the phrase, “four score and seven years ago.” You guessed it, it’s good ol’ Honest Abe. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying,


“Whatever you are, be a good one.”


I like where he’s going with this quote. It falls along the same lines as, “if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Or the biblical version that says, “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Something that differs here, in Mr. Lincoln’s statement, is that he uses a very key word, “be.” There is a key difference between “being” and “doing”. It seems simple and obvious right? Doing is what you do and being is who you are. Simple…in theory.

If I asked you the question, “Who are you?” How would you answer? Most of us will answer by stating what we do for a living. I’m a teacher, a welder, a pilot, a pastor, a mom, a dad, an athlete, or (my personal favorite) I’m retired. These are not who you are. They are what you do. Any one of those can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. You can be fired from a job. Athletes get injured. Parents can (heaven forbid) lose their children. These are all great things to DO but they are not WHO YOU ARE.

Building off of yesterday’s post we are all made with a purpose that makes us uniquely capable of adding specific value to humanity. Identity is the label container that is used to express someone’s being. It’s a container which holds that purpose, that value, and the portion of humanity that is supposed to receive that value.

The purpose that I was made for is to instill a generational mindset into the current and future leaders of the world. I am a Generational Leader. Learn more about that here.

So, WHO are you? Do you know your purpose? Do you know whom you are to serve with that purpose? Do you know what specific value you can offer them?

I would like to note that it is never too late to discover this about yourself. And once you identify and declare this about yourself, it provides such wonderful clarity in navigating life’s many decisions. I like to use one simple question as the starting point for every decision. Will this make me more of who I am or less? If you would like help in discovering this about yourself, I would love to serve you in that capacity. Just let me know below.

Whoever you are, be great!

Who are YOU?


I’d like help declaring who I am.

 

Success or Value?

Albert Einstein said,

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

I love this quote because it forces me to put being successful and being of value on opposite ends of the spectrum. Then I evaluate why it is right to do so.

The way I see it, striving to be a success is focused on self. Do others view me as a success? This is the kind of thinking that will drive someone to become a people pleasing sycophant. It is a trap that captures people in a behavioral cycle that anchors all of their self-worth on the opinion of others. That is a very unpleasant roller coaster.

On the other end, striving to be of value is something that focuses one’s energy on serving others. When people can focus on adding value to others, it causes them to look for needs that need to be met. This thinking acknowledges the inherent value of everyone as worthy to be served. Self-worth is a byproduct serving others.

The interesting thing is that when someone strives to be of value, success will follow. Success is one of those things that the more you go after it, the harder it is to achieve. Real success is a byproduct of adding value to others.

As I think through this idea, I stop seeing the two things as opposites, but rather one is a prerequisite to the other.

What do you think?

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday

Wisdom Wednesday is where I will share a piece of wisdom, usually in the form of a quote, and then talk about why I find it valuable.

This week’s quote is from Amelia Earhart and goes like this:


“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”

AmeliaEarhart


This might not be as deep and profound as you might expect for the launch of Wisdom Wednesday. I think that something is only as deep as you go into it. Some quotes might be so overtly deep that you can fall into it but others require digging. This one is the latter. So, get your shovel, your flashlight, and a sturdy pair of shoes and join me while I try to excavate the wisdom that I have experienced from this quote.

Currently, this quote rings loudly in my psyche because I recently started living it. You are reading one of the manifestations of this quote in my life right now. I have lived through analysis paralysis for many years. I can’t quite say exactly why this plagued me for so long but my initial conclusion is that I was just too focused on myself, too afraid of being rejected. So here I am today running Generational Leadership, seeking to add value to others. I am discovering that the very things that I thought disqualified me from having an opinion that matters are the things that brought me to the knowledge and understanding that make my value proposition possible.

I’m doing it and guess what? It’s far more effective than thinking about doing it. It’s far more effective than sitting there paralyzed, wishing I could do it. It’s also far more fulfilling.

For me, one of the most important things about this quote is the distinct absence of any qualifier words. For example, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it perfectly.” or well, or right, or better, or first, or bigger, etc. I think that people unconsciously add qualifier words to things and in so doing, set themselves up for disappointment. I know I have. How many of us have tried something new, didn’t execute flawlessly and then quit. A diet is the easiest example. The lack of the qualifier gives me the freedom to keep trying even when I don’t do it perfectly, well, right, better, etc. The important thing is that I’m doing it and that I keep doing it. The adjectives will come with time and practice. No world record holder in history came out of the womb with the ability to set and hold their record. Not one of them hit without practicing the skill for thousands of hours. Not a single one.

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” And keep doing it. Seriously. KEEP. DOING. IT.

I’ll leave you with the similarly wise words of a little blue fish that forgot her way right into the hearts of millions of people. “Just keep swimming.”