Sometimes leaders get that feeling in their gut that something isn’t right. Have you ever experienced that feeling? Well, in early 2005, I knew that something wasn’t right. I had a growing sense that I needed to figure out who I was, bone deep. Fortunately, I discovered some questions that really helped me sort things out. And they can help you too.
During this time, our leadership team reviewed the book, Built to Last, by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. As my journey continued, I got serious about introspectively thinking about “Who I was”.
I became almost consumed with the question, Who am I?, because the process was so challenging. I found myself thinking about the question for months when I went to bed, when I got up in the morning, while I was bicycling or on long walks, in the shower, driving to work, and on and on.
Every leader can learn more about “Who they are” by taking two steps.
Step 1 – Start by Reflecting
Reflecting and thinking back to when I was a very little boy and looking over my life, I began to ask myself questions like:
- What do I stand for?
- What am I all about?
I don’t know about you, but these questions were some of the most difficult questions I have ever considered.
Step 2 – Then Go Deeper
Going through this process I learned that most people or organizations only have three to six Core Values and that Core Values are NOT:
- What you or the organization aspire to be like,
- Words that you like because they sound good
As I would go through my day, my antenna was up, and I was continually observing and asking myself the following questions:
- Why did I say what I just said?
- Why was it important for me to say it that way?
- Why did I do what I just did?
- Why was that important for me do it that way?
Next, I started to reflect about my past by asking questions like:
- Who, even from an early age, influenced what I said and did?
- When did they influence me?
- Where did they influence me?
- How was I affected by these influencers?
But I still did not know “Who I was”.
Finally I got a break-through! By asking those questions, I was beginning to understand a few things about myself… characteristics that I could trace back to my childhood. I was learning that there is something inside me that is expressed in my passions for …
- Life of Learning – I have a thirst for learning.
- Truth – I stay focused on the right decision regardless of the consequences.
- Team Above Self – I have a need to encourage and lift-up other people so I can serve them more.
- Give My Best – Performing to the best of my ability is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-time thing.
- Relationships – It is all about people and not things.
- Make a Difference – I desire to positively impact the lives of others.
I was making progress and getting closer to discovering “Who am I?”, but I still could not fully and completely answer that question.
Would you like to learn how I finally discovered “Who I was”? Say Yes! I’ll share about it in my next blog post.
How about you? What would happen if you asked yourself the same questions that I asked? Will you share one of your answers? – I’d love to know.