In business and in life it’s very important to know who you truly are before you attempt anything dramatic. There are so many messages out there telling us who we ought to be that we sometimes get caught up in a web of self-deceit because that’s what we think we should be doing.
When I used to work for Gallup many years ago they had a great saying, “you can’t put in what God left out.” Many of us spend far too much effort trying to be what we are not instead of focusing on what makes us truly special. We all have natural weaknesses and strengths. Some people are great at details while others seem to effortlessly grasp the big picture. Some people are great thinking on their feet where others thrive using a more methodical approach. There are a few of us with the physical ability to be a professional athlete while others are better at reporting and analyzing the events taking place on the field. The list goes on and on. Of course all of this happens on a continuum, but I believe each and every one of us has gifts and talents that separate us from the pack (if only we are paying attention).
It’s sad how often fear rules individual lives. You can’t blame people for being afraid. Just about every commercial and news program preys on these fears on a daily basis. When you scare people by tapping into their fears it is easy to manipulate them. I just heard a radio commercial where the financial advisor was basically warning of a financial Armageddon in the next 12 months. What irresponsible nonsense! I simply changed the channel in disgust.
There are few things more unappealing then someone trying to be something they are not. If your actions aren’t genuine, people pick up on it right away. This doesn’t mean that you have license to behave any way you choose, but every individual should do their best to tap into the better parts of their nature. It’s not always easy, but if you want to lead others, it is a professional imperative.
Every leader I know wants to be successful. In fact, they can usually articulate the generalities and specifics of what this means pretty easily. However, the majority of these same people spend most of their time simply “surviving”. Why is this? If it’s not a question of awareness, what is getting in our way? The answer is simple: our actions don’t match our thoughts, ideas or goals.
We all have natural talents, abilities, interests and character traits that make us unique individuals. Flow is achieved when we tap into those aspects of ourselves that make us special. Self awareness and honest reflection can make a big difference in our state of being.