Updated: May 13
Ask yourself this simple question...
Who am I?
Take your time. Oh... and...
This question is not about work, so it's not what you do for a living. Oh... and...
This question is not about your relationships, so it's not about being married or being a parent or siblings or best friends or a pet owner or whatever it is about relationships. Oh... and...
This question is not about your interests or hobbies. Oh... and...
This question is about you. Your CORE self. Everything else is context or outside of you, it doesn't define you.
Now I'm curious....how have you answered? Have you drawn a picture? Imagined a picture or a colour? Described a feeling or emotion or mood? Made a list? Or just got completely stuck with this simple question.
Try this one...
What am I?
This question is a kind of clue to the first question.
Don't over think it. It's basic stuff. (PS: You are a Human Being)
Now that we've established that, ask again. Who am I?
Now that I'm a coach and mentor I am amazed by how few people (me included) really get to grips with this very fundamental question. I suspect that most of us don't take it seriously until a bit later in life, assuming of course that any of us really do take it seriously.
I've come to think that having a sense of who you are is important.
If you don't believe that, then I'm suggesting you may have a problem, and that problem is that you will, no doubt, define who you are through the lens of the world outside.
This is the path to - more or less, should or shouldn't, better or worse. Warning! - without a good sense of who YOU are, you may be oblivious to how the outside world is defining you and you may not realise it. As an adult, now might be the time to take stock.
The second question is: What does this mean?
Meaning is about life. What then is the life you live? Your LIFE. Now you can bring in the context.
Your relationship with the world around you and the people in it is your life - the life you live, moment by moment - and yes, I do agree that it shapes you (maybe especially in your early years) and it does shape who you are now. But there's an important point here, it doesn't have to define you.
You have choice, you have a choice in each and every moment of your life. That means you can be purposeful. You can choose what to let in and what to keep out. You can choose what to believe and what not to. You can choose who to be and who not to be.
In a coaching relationship, which is highly developmental, I like to think of the participants as explorers, and that through exploration and discovery comes to insight. What you then choose to do with that insight is how you can purposefully choose who and how you want to be in the future.
The future is Your POTENTIAL. Who you are is likely to be made up of many things. Is there just one you? Do you consist of lots of little yous? Who knows? But wouldn't it be good to explore these questions?
Now to leadership and my challenge to you.
What is leadership?
If you are in a leadership position in life - be it with or without authority - you have a responsibility. You have a responsibility to have explored the questions in this blog, so that you have a sense of yourself, what it is to be human and what that means in the world. This is because others will look to you, and people are complex beings - with vulnerabilities, emotions, beliefs, needs to be loved and have fun and so on.
So how do you lead people in the modern world?
As adults, I think that each and every one of us is responsible and accountable for our own life and this includes our working lives.
We make choices. Through leadership coaching and exploring our own selves we can be more self aware, become better observers of our selves and the context we live and work in, and this gives us the ability to act more purposefully.
I think there's benefit in developing the wherewithal, the skills and mindsets to do this and to enable this in others, and this takes Bravery.
Modern organisations are important places which most of us inhabit during large parts of our life. I believe that the future of leadership is about being human and creating environments in our working places to enable this to the full. That is the social responsibility of big business and you as leaders within them - have you got what it takes?
Now ask yourself.
Now that I know who I am, and kind of understand what that means.... Who do I want to become? This is the question to unlock your potential and the potential in others.
If you liked this article please like and share, and if you want to find out more please get in touch. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Some interesting watching
If you haven't yet heard of Brene Brown and her narrative of Bravery, why not have a look at her amazing talks about Vulnerability and Shame and how important this is to life and leadership.