On the back of a number of recent coaching breakthroughs, I found myself analysing those pivotal insights that unlock the epiphanies that tap-in to potential and achieve the breakthrough moments so many of us seek on our journey through life.
Since 1998, I have accrued data and insight, firsthand, that continues to convince me that 90% of the people I meet are in the wrong job or not engaged by their work at all. With my own tenuous journey to unlocking my true vocation bearing out these discoveries. Having burnt-through 35 jobs in the first 32 years of my work-life certainly wasn't satisfying. But by process of elimination, I discovered my 'calling' in the end!
Aside to the massive issue of employers not valuing the fit between employees and their occupations, the primary reason for huge misalignment between workers and their work is so few people have taken ownership of their ‘self-story’.
Derived as the key output of ‘self-inventory’, 'self-story' is the unique compendium of terms with which they can understand themselves, value who they truly are, act compassionately towards and self-encourage. In the most important act of self-care a person can achieve during their whole life. For them to be capable of looking into the mirror and not just accepting themselves. But genuinely liking (and, hopefully, ultimately, loving) the person looking back. To be enabled. By themselves. For themselves. Encouraged. Accountable. Responsible. Empowered.
As a pathway to facilitating positive contribution, assiduously, industrially, ‘care-lessly’, too many of society's structures discourage this healthy inner dialogue. Education. Employment. Family-life. Religion. Conventions. Attitudes. Orthodoxy. Normality.
Each step in the one-size-fits-all process of producing citizens, discouraging the pivotal acts of self-discovery, encouragement and identity-finding. Possibly, for fear of creating ‘big-heads’, misfits, mavericks, narcissists and egomaniacs.
When what employers are alleged to seek are compliant, malleable, dutiful, work ready conformists. Ignoring the fact that almost all of the economy's value flows from that minority group of courageous agitators capable of original-thinking, creativity, rule-breaking, innovation that challenges the status quo and rewrites the rule-book.
But my half-Century of findings are that so many of society’s conventions and attitudes actively legislate against people constructing a healthy, self-sustaining and progressive sense of individuation. Alongside the necessary self-esteem to effectively self-actualise and maximise our potential along this majestical, mythical, magical mystery tour this all-too-fleeting-freak-of-chance life has us embarked upon.
So, on the basis of recent research into pattern-recognition, performance analysis and breakthrough moments, here are some of the reflections that chime truest. Questions that inspire answers, are steps towards enlightenment, empowerment and encouragement. Thought-sparks that might assist you and yours in pausing to reflect, to take stock - constructively - about who you are now and who you seek to become in your future:
- If you suspect there is another, better way, there probably is.
- Your gut-instinct is arguably your best friend in the whole universe. If only you took the time to tune-in and listen to it.
- Therefore, if it/ life/ existence feels broken in whatever way, it probably is broken. So, you need to fix it.
- Step One: is the stopping, the retreating, the listening and being 'still'.
- Step Two: Have you given yourself permission to be the you you strive to be? If not, do so now. Make a pact with yourself to maximise your potential.
- In taking self-inventory, how many departments are there in your life to audit, e.g. career, work/life balance, emotional / spiritual wellbeing, fitness, happiness, meaningfulness, financial freedom/ security, living to a purpose, sustaining the pace of life, authenticity, freedom of choice, values-alignment, connection, community, 'worthwhileness'?
- Being conscious of the dangers of comparing ourselves to others, by whose gauge do we measure ourselves? What does your gut-instinct say?
- What truly is important to you, may not be important to others. What is important to others, may not be important to you. But this is your life. You drive it. It is your conviction to build. Your responsibility. You are accountable. Authenticity is yours to discover. No one else. Ever. Only You.
- What does success look like to you? How is it manifest in your deepest Self? Do not be discouraged to consider your dreams blueprints for turning your desires into reality.
- Have you ever allowed your imagination to run wild on just how maximising your potential might look and feel like to you if you invested the self-work to seize-upon and optimise all of your talents, capabilities, attributes and opportunities?
- Do you capture these innermost thoughts in a journal? If not, do so now. Pause - Reflect - Take Stock - Plan - Prepare - Deliver - Grow - Repeat.
- Did you decide how your life would be or someone else? (Back to the pitfalls of comparing ourselves to others and measuring ourselves by other people's standards)?
- Who invites the necessary (constructive) criticism into their life to rectify the ingredients that are not running smoothly?
- Who can you trust to ask?
- Are they impartial?
- Are they qualified to know?
- If a 'Feedback Loop' exists, how can we ensure it is constructive?
- Against whose performance do we measure ourselves?
- Where are the errors?
- How do you find them?
- How do you correct them?
- If you don't know what good looks like from the outside, how will you change it on the inside?
- Are there patterns in your performance – good or bad?
- Can you change them?
- Would you benefit from objective, expert guidance - thinking-partnership - coaching?
- In the midst of all of this fog, who is the authentic you?
- What is changeable?
- Why change?
- Do you care enough to want to change?
- When change might mean you are not 'the old you' anymore...
- Can you just be happy as you are?
- Have you sparked your passion?
- Are you dedicated and devoted to your goals?
- If not, what does this tell you?
- Do you believe in yourself?
- If not, why not?
- Where does self-acceptance fit into personal-development?
- How do you value your mistakes as lessons and not beat yourself up about the faults you make?
- Is perfection a standard that helps anyone, least of all your Self?
- Can you tell your story in a way that supports your goals?
If there is one thing, one component, one action almost all of my clients have in common, it is that they are making a decision.
- Step 1 is informing it.
- Step 2 is weighing-up / prioritising your options?
- Step 3 is deciding.
- Step 4 is acting - with conviction.
- Step 5 is learning, error detecting, error correcting...
- Step 6 is persevering…with The Feedback Loop
… and so on and so forth. Generating energy. Contributing Good. Radiating Love of Self, Work and Others.
The ‘Feedback Loop’ plays its part constantly as an indicator of ‘error-detection’ and ‘error-correction’. During the whole process of refining aim and intention, what happens on the basis of falling short or successfully fulfilling objectives is an increasing body of ‘knowledge of performance’ on the basis of refining one’s ‘knowledge of results’; known, collectively, as ‘tacit insight’.
Which is borne-out of the living of life and the making of mistakes.
Which are reduced by practice.
Which make us who we are.
Work flows. 'The Feedback Cycle' continues. Potential is maximised.
The magical ingredient is knowing and taking ownership of your purpose in life and being able to differentiate this overarching ‘beacon on the horizon’ from your mission. With your purpose being your ‘Why’ and your mission being your ‘What’ you do to fulfil it.
This whole process is a constantly evolving action plan that shifts your life from the reactivity of the ~90% of the population struggling to comprehend the meaning of their lives. To the proactivity of the ~10% who know their story is a river flowing towards a destiny they own, believe in, live for and aspire towards.
Take stock. Do the Self-inventory. Learn to know you. Own YOUR words. Believe in YOUR story. Design your purpose. Live Life. Self-actualise. Know meaning. Contribute Good. Leave a legacy.
If this message is lost. Find out why.
Know your Why.
Work Aesthetics© = radiating beauty from love of your labour.
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