Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Self-Awareness: Five Additional Questions

While on the journey toward self-awareness, there are five additional questions you must ask yourself in order to help you achieve maximum personal development. They are:

Who am I? This is an age-old question man when man in search of himself. The answer may not come immediately. I didn’t even begin to fully contemplate it until I was in my mid-to-late 30s. Of course, for the outliers, the question plagues them at a much earlier age.

Why am I here? People want to know their reason for ‘being.’ You were put on this earth for a reason but you might not know what it is as of yet. My advice is to continue to contemplate question number one. I had a client come into my office and complain about his near 60-hour work weeks. He looked perfect on paper. He had a near six-figure salary, married with two children, and beautiful home. But did didn’t know his purpose and one of the first questions he asked after telling his story was: Is this all there is?

What makes me unique? The answer to this question will place you on a journey of a lifetime. Everyone is born with at least one talent, but it is up to each individual to find out for himself what that one talent is. However, you must be truthful with yourself. If you are not honest, you will continue to cycle through this merry-go-round we call life. What is the one thing you do well? What is the one thing people have always said that you were good at? Answering the question of what you are good at may take some time—meditation on your part. Why not begin now? What are you waiting for? Discovering, maintaining, and honing your talent is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Focus your time and energy on the things you do best.

Where am I going? There is a big world out there, and I'm sure you want your slice of it. It doesn’t matter if it is traveling to Hong Kong and Paris or Main Street U.S.A., most people need direction—that internal dialogue that tells us that we are on the right track. That need for certainty, with a little spontaneity mixed in, is the compass needed for achievement and increased self-esteem.

Who am I going to take with me? To paraphrase Jim Collins, bestselling author of the book, Good to Great, you have to make sure that the right people are on your bus. And not everyone belongs on your bus. David Maxwell, former CEO of Fannie Mae, once told his management team, “…that there would only be seats on the bus for A-level people who were willing to put out A-plus effort.” I believe this should be the prevailing attitude when it comes to inviting people into our lives. You should surround yourself with people who will bring A-plus effort to your life. Also, keep in mind, there are people in our lives who are only there for an appointed period of time. They are not meant to ride the bus for the duration of the trip, so it is up to you to make sure they are seated properly.

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