I believe self-knowledge is our greatest gift yet we don’t trust our own thoughts and ideas. We second guess ourselves more often than we should and instead opt to listen to the experts.
“We have been so indoctrinated into looking outside ourselves for the answers and to consider ourselves unreliable” author of Trusting Ourselves – M.J Ryan tells us, “that we have very limited notions of what it means to approach life trusting ourselves.”
More than 100 years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his book Self Reliance, “A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.”
If asked, I’m sure that you think you already know yourself yet we are like icebergs. The parts we know about ourselves is like the 10% of the iceberg that we see above the water. The other 90% is below sea level and we need to take an inward journey before we can rediscover all of who we are.
Bestselling author of Thick Face, Black Heart, Ching Ning Chu says “At first blush, the idea that you could not know yourself sounds ridiculous. But the odds are you don’t. We aren’t talking about the superficial stuff like the way you wear your hair or your taste in music.”
Rediscovering the “REAL YOU” involves:
- Adopting a possibility mindset
- Developing an accurate assessment of WHO YOU ARE and your real self worth
- Embracing WHO YOU ARE in ALL your complexity
- Using what you know about yourself to get the results you want in your life.
- Deciding on how you are going to contribute to the world using your talents and gifts
Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld sums it up nicely:
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.
Far too often we think that we’ve arrived. We know everything there is to know about ourselves. We think – what’s left?
I want you to consider that perhaps you may be getting by, focusing on the known knowns. It’s time to stop believing those stories you’ve been recycling. It’s time that you find out the WHOLE truth about who you are and which direction you should be heading come 2016.
In his book “Think Big, Act Bigger”, Jeffrey Hayzlett says :
It doesn’t matter how good you are” (and I’ll add “or how good you THINK you are”), “you CAN course correct into oblivion. You have to step back and realize you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You don’t need a catastrophic event like bankruptcy, a bad economy or the realization that you’re not [this person you’ve become].
Ask yourself “Why am I doing what I’m doing, the way I’m doing it?”
Quit walking around like you know better and become MORE AWARE. Jeff says that being aware lets you see what is possible as you push your big thinking to ask, “What’s next?”
Here are some other tips from Jeff that I have modified to adapt to YOU as a business and brand:
- Avoid tunnel vision: Losing perspective leaves you disconnected from the present; losing awareness leaves you oblivious in the present
- Don’t get TOO confident or complacent: Know your unknowns
- Never underestimate the value of honest and open communication and radical transparency: Listen to that voice within. Think about the feedback that you get from genuine friends who share with you what they think you’re good at. Look back at your life and think about those oft repeated phrases that people use to describe you. Is there a pattern? Is it worth looking at? Does it feel right to you?
- Ask: What am I doing? Why am I here? Why did I choose this career? Have I outgrown the space I’m presently in? Does doing what I am doing no longer working for me?
Dr. Jim Manganiello, author of Unshakable Certainty, warns:
If we resist change and rigidly hold on to our old self-image, we run the risk of living the second half of our lives confined to an identity that has trouble taking advantage of life’s deeper opportunities. We can then develop a kind of chronic dread about having to face growing old and inevitably having to die. This dread steals life’s bright colors and makes it something that we merely endure rather than live with any vibrancy or passion.
Remember this: Our deepest possibilities often emerge most clearly during times of psychological and spiritual confusion that starts with becoming more aware. You are at a crossroads. It’s time to take your next step forward.