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.

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?